August 6, 2020 | Article | by Torrey Grant | Analytics
Health Insurance: Member Retention & Analytics
Analytics plays a crucial role in tracking, analyzing, and optimizing the performance of your media efforts during the healthcare pre-enrollment period and beyond. A multi-faceted analytical approach will yield the best results from your paid and earned media budgets. This approach consists of defining your KPIs, honing your tracking and monitoring user experience while building an intimate understanding of your audience. Moreover, creating a holistic automated report allows you to visualize data in a way that delivers actionable insights and sheds light on areas for improvement.
This article will outline how we at REQ navigate our analytics process and the ways in which we implement our strategies to procure the highest return on investment (ROI) while remaining in touch with our users and their paths to conversion.
Pre-Enrollment Period (April-October)
Define your conversions and KPIs
During the pre-enrollment period, it is important to define conversions outside of enrollments and identify corresponding KPIs. Without defined conversions and KPIs, there is no effective way to measure ROI.
Do you have a newsletter sign-up, a PDF download, a contact form, or another way users can interact with your website that helps them sign up for health care service? If so, you should define them as conversions. Create a flow chart that demonstrates how each conversion leads users through the funnel and towards a final conversion during enrollment period.
Measurement framework strategy is a critical first step in the analytics process as it will provide invaluable information on how to measure paid media success. You can begin to start asking questions such as “Which campaigns or platforms result in the most top or bottom of funnel conversions?” and “Which campaigns or platforms result in the most users dropping off in the middle of the funnel?” These questions and their answers will become critical as you move through the rest of the analytical process.
From here, the next step is to determine what the KPIs are for each conversion in your new funnel. These can be any number of metrics that you set as a goal to determine your conversion’s performance. A KPI can be something as simple as saying “I want ‘x’ amount of conversions this month” or, if you are investing in paid media, then a valuable KPI can be “I want to have a cost-per-conversion of ‘$x’ during this time.”
As you begin collecting data and understand where you are in terms of your goals and KPIs, you now have the opportunity to optimize your website and campaigns to help reach or exceed your goals. The next step will outline our best practices on how to implement tracking to ensure you have accurate and consistent data on your conversions and KPIs.
Once you have defined your conversions and KPIs, it is time to implement tracking on your website so you can start accruing performance data.
Website analytics tools such as Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics are fantastic resources for website owners to implement tracking. These services are flexible enough to allow technical users to implement complex tracking methods and approachable enough for casual users to derive performance insights from the website.
The next step, and a highly beneficial one, is to implement a MTA (multi-touch attribution) tool that allows you to track and see what platforms are driving users to your website. MTA tools will track conversions using a multi-touch algorithm that assigns conversion values to user’s touchpoints as they move throughout the funnel you created earlier in this article (opposed to last touch attribution, which gives conversion credit to the final touchpoint). This allows you to gain an understanding of how your earned and paid platforms work together to drive users to your website and eventually to conversion.
REQ partners with LeadsRX, a powerful platform that allows you to accurately track your audience as they navigate through digital touchpoints. There are other free MTA tools such as Google Attribution, which is available as an extension of Google Analytics. However, this is a tool still in beta testing with unproven results.
Entering the pre-enrollment period with a media strategy is an unskippable step, and restrategizing using data from your tracking efforts will allow you to refine your approach. These tools, used in conjunction with a stepped conversion funnel, allows you to monitor and tweak performance as you move closer to the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP).
The key takeaway from this step is gaining the ability to understand what platforms your audience engages with, at what levels they engage with them, and which ones lead to the highest conversion rates.
Optimize your website for a positive user experience
It is most beneficial to optimize your website both for your user’s experience and your KPIs/conversions prior to entering the AEP. Take this time during pre-enrollment to leverage tools like Google Analytics to see how users are behaving on your website.
There are a variety of website KPIs you can use to help understand how your users are engaging and consuming:
Bounce rate (the rate at which users enter your site, do not interact with it, and proceed to leave) is a great indicator as to whether or not users are having a positive experience on your site. If the bounce rate is high, it could mean a number of things. For example, users might come to your site looking for something, only to realize that it does not contain what they are looking for. This is called a lack of relevancy. The user expected something relevant to what they were searching for but did not find it on your site.
Another case could be the presence of technical issues on the site (the page took too long to load, they received an error message, or it looks incomplete). Use tools such as Google Chrome’s Lighthouse to provide insights on how your page is performing on different devices and pinpoint where problem areas may be.
One issue that can severely hinder bounce rate and conversion performance is the lack of content or calls to action (CTA) that invite the user to engage with your website. Ensure that you are guiding the user gently and efficiently towards your conversion points rather than leaving it up to them to navigate your site.
Average session length and average time on page are metrics that can help you see how much time users are spending on your site.
If average time on a page is high, users most likely enjoy consuming the content on that specific page.Consider placing a CTA on pages that have low bounce rates and relatively high average time spent on page, as pages like these are a great way to help drive users to conversion.
If average time on page is low, consult the bounce rate to see if users are not engaging well with that page. If bounce rate is high, there could be technical errors on the site or users don’t want to engage with the content on that page. Review the steps above when analyzing the bounce rate of specific pages.
If your site has a login portal for users, setting up indicators as to how often users are logging in and what pages they are visiting after login can be beneficial to understanding a site’s performance.
Use your website analytics tools to see what users do after they login. This can be a great opportunity to maximize customer retention by understanding what they look for or what their intent is after login. Ask questions such as “Are users able to find what they are looking for after login?” Proposing and answering this question can help you address any issues prior to AEP.
Getting your website optimized heading into AEP allows you to put your best foot forward, as your site is your “digital salesperson” to help drive users to conversion.
Gain an understanding of your website’s audience
Leveraging website analytics tools such as Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics, allows you to map out what your audience looks like. Once you start answering questions about your audience, you start to see how targeting certain audiences with your paid media efforts can help maximize your ROI.
Start by asking questions about your audience:
- What geographic regions generate the most users, most conversions, or the highest conversion rate?
- Do the regions for the most users correlate to the regions with the most conversions?
- What age groups generate the most users, conversions, or highest conversion rates?
- Does gender play a role in conversion rate?
- Do I get most of my audience and conversions from mobile, tablet, or desktop traffic?
- I’ve answered the last four questions, but do they change for different platforms (paid search, social, display)?
- What are the top pages for users?
- What are users searching for within the website?
Knowing your audience sounds intuitive, but using the analytics tools at your disposal in conjunction with understanding the right questions to ask will provide the strategic foundation needed to run successful media campaigns.
Now that you’ve started to implement tracking, optimizing your website, and understanding your audience, it is time to put all of your data into a visualization platform.
Your data is valuable, but insights on that data are much more valuable. A comprehensive report allows you to see all your data at once, format it to be consumable by different departments within your company, and derive insights that will help you make informed decisions.
At REQ, we use a variety of visualization tools such as Google Data Studio, Tableau, and Microsoft’s Power BI depending on the type and scale of data we are working with. Choosing the one that is right for you can help boost efficiency and reliability in your reporting methods.
When using data management and BI tools, aggregating daily data from all data channels becomes a possibility and insights and recommendations become real-time. Leverage your reporting to not only react to what you are seeing historically, but forecast your strategy from the trends you see in your data.
Annual Enrollment Period
Many of the steps taken during AEP show similarity to those taken during the pre-enrollment period. The main difference here is that there is an emphasis on seizing the opportunity to gain new customers and maximizing the growth potential of your customer base.
Once again, define your KPIs and your conversions
Now that you have put in the efforts during pre-enrollment to grow and engage your audience, it’s time to set your goals and KPIs for AEP.
Set KPIs that are “reasonably optimistic” to track how your media campaigns are performing. Once again, these can be set numbers for enrollments or Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) for paid media efforts. If you have data available from previous years, set KPIs that aim to increase or decrease by a certain percentage so you can emphasize growth and expansion.
Leverage conversion tracking for enrollments
Using your website tracking tools, ensure that you have an accurate and consistent method of tracking how your campaigns are driving enrollments. Setting a reliable source of truth for you enrollments is a key component to accurately tracking your campaign performances.
Assuming you have set up your MTA tool, you can now begin to leverage your insights to help guide your paid media efforts. Since you are now working with enrollments as opposed to leads, understanding which platforms drive the most enrollments is crucial in strategizing and allocating budgets for your campaigns.
Do you use CRM services such as Salesforce to track leads and enrollments? Integrating data from your CRM tools with your website and paid media data is a huge benefit to get a holistic view of how your conversions are happening and how they fit in with your KPIs. Tools such as Funnel, FiveTran, and Google Big Query are efficient options to blend and integrate data from different sources into a unified database for reporting.
Continue optimizing your website
Shortly prior to and during AEP, you should begin pivoting the messaging on your site to encourage users to enroll. Adjusting your CTAs away from your previous conversions (PDF downloads or newsletters) and towards enrollments will help drive users toward the ultimate goal of AEP.
Encouraging users to download documents or sign up for newsletters is still important; however, the main goal during AEP should be convincing users to enroll.
CRO (conversion rate optimization) is an impactful method that helps maximize the conversions your site generates. The theory behind CRO is that changes to the formatting, messaging, or even color schemes of your website can have positive and negative effects on conversion rates. This method often requires a CRO specialist to implement and derive insights and is a technique that REQ specializes in.
Now that you are placing CTAs on your website that are driving users to enroll, you can begin experimenting with how user behavior changes as you make adjustments to your site. The process of conversion rate optimization starts by choosing a CRO software, tool, or service that best suits your needs.
So what does CRO entail? Simply put, it’s performing A/B testing where some users land on version “A” and others land on version “B” of a page and comparing the conversion rates between the two formats to determine which page is more successful at converting users. These two versions may be drastically different or have minute changes such as alternate font types or sizes. It is important to note that a “winning” test is determined by statistical significance, something that is predetermined prior to testing.
If your website has a login portal, have user logins increased/decreased after AEP begins? Derive insights from login experiences to ensure that users are satisfied with what they have access to after login. If users are frequenting pages that give information about switching providers, consider providing CTAs on how to improve their experience with your company or reach out to a support agent.
Website optimizations should constantly be occurring as you add new content, technology changes, and user behavior adapts. It should not only be limited to AEP and pre-enrollment periods.
Creating a reporting structure that allows you to analyze your enrollment performance will provide a number of benefits to your AEP success. Daily data is key so that insights are up-to date and not based on delayed or stale data
Consider setting up visualizations that allow you to determine the following:
- Which audiences respond best to my paid media efforts?
- Of those audiences, which ones are most likely to enroll?
- Are we reaching our KPIs, and which platforms and audiences are top performers in terms of our KPIs?
- How are we performing over time?
Answering these questions is a helpful step allowing you to analyze your ROI and find areas of success and opportunities for improvement. More specifically, growth year over year is a key indicator of performance improvement and should be followed closely during AEP.
A good report will be able to:
- Answer relevant questions effectively
- Be approachable and digestible for different departments (not just the data-centric ones)
- Be flexible in terms of filtering and pivoting data for granular insights
- Display KPI performance and highlight areas of strength and weakness
Implementing a strong analytical strategy during pre-enrollment and annual enrollment periods may seem like a daunting task, however it is an essential part of running successful digital marketing campaigns.
This article outlines the general framework of our approach here at REQ, however there are many other processes and factors that play into these methods. While a majority of these steps require industry expertise, following them will result in a more informed, efficient, and streamlined approach to strategizing your campaigns.