Data Studio: The Free, Integrated Tool Healthcare Marketers NeedBlayne Fielder
In March 2017, Google made Data Studio, its dashboard tool, entirely free to use for the general public. The previous free version was limited to just four widgets, and users who wanted the full Data Studio experience had to purchase Analytics 360 at the whopping price tag of more than $12,000 a month.
Data Studio does not come ready to use out of the box. Setting it up requires expertise and strategy. However, that time investment can benefit your organization by providing greater clarity into where your online and offline marketing dollars are going, as well as an opportunity to visually demonstrate return on investment (ROI).
Benefits of Data Studio
Tools to tell your story
This is the most important benefit for our clients. Rows of numbers on an Excel sheet are not easily digestible for leadership. Often, stakeholders don’t want all the nitty-gritty information. They want to see trends and ROI. Basically, what’s your story?
Data Studio offers a wide range of data-driven visual storytelling options, such as:
- Bar graphs
- Pie charts
- Plot graphs or maps
The dashboard loads quickly and is always current, making it easy to pull numbers and present data on the fly. The widgets also can be made printable or savable if you want to use your data in a static presentation. The attractive visuals make it easy to show trends, conversions, and ROI, as well as areas of opportunity where your dollars and efforts could be better spent.
Flexible, customized data views
Data Studio is completely customizable and flexible. You can choose a default date range to access your data, and you can select different date ranges as well, similar to Google Analytics. The platform also allows users to drill down to page-specific data by URL, such as:
- Dwell and scroll time
- Engagement with selected calls-to-action
- Origin of page traffic
We’ve set up reports for several of our clients who want to see month-over-month data trends in various graphics or tables. Compared to other dashboard tools, Data Studio offers exceptional flexibility and control over what data are displayed.
See all your spend and activity in one place
This dashboard is not just for digital data. If you have data for offline spend or conversions, we can pull it into Data Studio for a more comprehensive look at your integrated marketing efforts. For example, one of our Data Studio clients currently pulls data for all of these into their monthly stakeholder reporting:
- Native advertising
- Social media referrals
- Campaign-specific calls
- Site-wide click-to-call activity
- Mailer-driven data
- Specific clinic foot traffic data (store visits)
- Radio and television ad spend
Pulling all of your marketing efforts and spend into one dashboard allows you to show not only how your initiatives affect specific service lines or locations, but also how they affect your organization’s bottom line. This can be quite telling for organizations that cling to certain advertising tactics that, overall, aren’t converting. For example, if you’ve allotted marketing dollars to a specific ZIP code, you can see in which locations patients who live within those ZIP codes are making appointments.
Related reading: What the Demise of Net Neutrality Means for Healthcare Marketing
Get started with Data Studio
The back-end connections of Data Studio are what make the visual magic happen. But the set-up is not as easy as clicking a few options and generating a report. It takes expertise in Data Studio and Google Analytics to ensure the proper widgets and plugins are implemented.
Properly setting up Data Studio also requires intricate knowledge of what the data actually mean. If you torture data long enough, you can make it tell any story you want. However, that’s not good business. You want to determine what’s working, what isn’t, and what you can do to fix it. It’s important to connect with an experienced digital marketing partner so you know you’re getting the full story in a way that is relevant to your organization and stakeholders.
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