Published 13 April 2022


At this time, pharma companies are turning up the dial on self-serve content for healthcare professionals, investing in upgrades to websites and digital activities for 2021. The majority (according to Across Health’s 2020 Maturometer survey) are confident that their portals will gain traction. 

But what does ‘traction’ really mean? What data and insights will help us evaluate the true value and longer-term opportunities that digital activities present, both for our organisations and our HCP audiences? 

As a marketer at EPG Health, I have recently experienced the development and launch of our new HCP website Medthority ( Building a fresh set of success criteria into the strategic digital roadmap prompted an eye-opening step change across our business. 

In the planning stages, our 2019 research study The Evolving Role of Websites for Healthcare Professionals revealed that, while 92% of pharma gave high priority to website data and metrics, only 24% tracked specific website content KPIs, 88% couldn’t measure ROI/outcomes and less than half considered their own websites to be successful in meeting either their business objectives or the needs of HCPs. 

750x214 highestPerformance

While pharma may understand the importance of data for steering digital strategy and individual online activities, the ability to demonstrate value, efficacy of content, quality of engagement and outcomes has been a real challenge. And poor data can be the downfall of a digital programme. 

With marketers facing increasing pressure to prove ROI, a team that struggles to analyse their data may not be given authority to act on trends and insights or make further investment decisions to improve outcomes.

It was therefore important for EPG Health (as the provider of a medical website funded through pharma sponsorship), to help our customers overcome such challenges and extract more valuable data from their digital HCP activities.

From site structure and user experience to content consumption and journeys through Key Educational Messages, there is laser focus on adopting the right KPIs, event tracking and metrics for meaningful digital insights

The reality is that handling website data and metrics is not easy, but simple changes in approach have a significant positive impact on both engagement and insights.

Our experience is that pharma is often blinkered by quantity over quality, being overwhelmingly concerned with reach. But, without proper context, traditional metrics like page views, sessions and users are often meaningless or provide a false sense of effectiveness. 

KPIs and metrics should help us understand the consumption of individual key messages and the effectiveness of our content, site structure and user journey. Context is key.

600x250 highestPerformance

Therefore, to harness the power of our website and its data, we have developed a 10 step roadmap to meaningful engagement which includes setting KPIs and metrics aligned to specific objectives, target personas, key educational messages, content, website features and journeys. (For advice on creating journeys and tracking HCP engagement with your Key Educational Message, read our whitepaper: Accomplish meaningful HCP Engagement Online)

In practice this means, for example, rather than monitoring the number of ‘plays’ for a KOL video or page views for a patient case study, we will monitor the number/percentage of target HCPs that watched the video or scrolled the page deep enough to consume one of the pharma customer’s key educational messages or two etc. 

By tracking the right KPIs, and armed with the insight, we can better understand the depth of engagement, adapt content, control the journey, measure content ROI and confidently plan ongoing tactics and resource to ensure a higher percentage consume the key messages in the customer’s digital resource.

Establishing the right, bespoke KPIs for individual digital activities at the planning stage is a detailed task but allows us to provide meaningful insights and an accurate measure of success. Not doing so could be a costly mistake. 

See some of the metrics that help EPG Health understand, build and sustain HCP engagement with pharma funded Learning Zones: Measuring Meaningful Metrics with Medthority.

350x189 highestPerformance

About the author

Michelle Kelly

Marketing Director, EPG HEALTH

Michelle Kelly is division head of Marketing and Market Research at EPG Health. With a focus on supporting meaningful engagement with HCPs, she has more than 20 years’ experience in medical publishing, having previously worked at Nature Publishing Group and Current Science Group. Contact her at [email protected] or on LinkedIn.

News & Views