The ROI of ORM in Healthcare: Measuring the Financial Impact of Your Online Reputation

Reputation Staff Writer

What’s a Good Reputation Worth?

Your online reputation is important for a number of reasons. Over the past several years, software vendors and analysts alike have documented the relationship between online sentiment expressed on review sites and social media, and overall brand health.

But it’s been considerably harder to map the concrete benefits of online reputation management (ORM) — namely, return on investment (ROI), particularly in healthcare. Although most of us can make the logical connection between a strong online brand and increased business, tangible ROI has been more challenging to document. set out to quantify the ROI of online reputation management activities and best practices.

The results are conclusive: Effective online reputation management helps health systems and providers generate more business, and reduce operating costs. Some examples of results include:

  • Hospitals with a high Reputation Score earn an incremental $1.3 million per bed, per year
  • An urgent care and walk-in clinic provider increased new patient revenue by $165,000 per month

In this White Paper you’ll learn:

  • How ORM helps healthcare providers increase revenue and reduce operating costs.
  • The critical KPIs to track and measure for effective ROI calculation.
  • Foundational formulas for calculating top-line and bottom-line ROI for your industry.
  • Selling the value — how to gain buy-in for ORM within your organization.

Two Paths to ROI research and data has firmly established that there is a direct correlation between ORM and ROI. But this ROI can be realized in two specific ways: as top-line revenue growth; and as bottom-line cost savings.

Top-line revenue growth is achieved by increasing patient volumes, Advertising can help you drive more patients (via billboards, television and radio ads, digital, etc.), but the direct impact of advertising is difficult to anticipate. Within a specific region, segment or buying window, can you predict what will the actual results of your advertising spend be? The revenue results of reputation management spend on the other hand, can be predicted; can be measured, and will last significantly longer.

Bottom-line cost savings is achieved by optimizing your internal operations and processes to remove complexity and cost, something healthcare providers have been working on for years. This doesn’t mean cutting corners or reducing your level of care or service, but rather providing safer, more efficient care without waste. Online reputation management technology like helps health systems identify and fix issues that can impact profitability. It can also automate labor-intensive activities, simplifying administration of reputation management activities.

Top-line Revenue Growth

Drive ROI through Review Management

The practice of review management involves requesting, monitoring and responding to reviews. Doing this consistently leads to more and better reviews — 70% of people will leave a review when asked. And research shows that a higher review volume leads to higher star ratings.

Figure 1 shows is a multi-industry analysis of clients. Over 10 weeks, locations that put in place a system for automatically requesting reviews saw review volume grow between 2X and 10X faster, and average brand sentiment increased by 10-20% during that period.

Figure 2 is a urgent care client who began requesting reviews from all its patients after an encounter. After six months, the number of reviews grew five times and the average star rating improved from 4.0 to 4.4.
Importantly, the more reviews a location has, the more likely it is to show up in the top three results in a Google search (see Figure 3). And locations that rank among the top three in Google search generate twice as many profile views and actions.

The Takeaway

Review management is a leading indicator of ROI:

  • A higher volume of reviews will lead to more positive reviews.
  • More positive reviews will boost your position in search results.
  • A higher position in search results will drive more clicks to your website.
Drive ROI through Business Listings Management

Business listings on sites such as Google My Business (GMB) increase online visibility and conversions — that is, the actions taken by consumers after finding you doctors or locations online.

But quality conversions from business listings are dependent on complete, accurate data across many different listing and directory sites. Google analyzes this multi-site data and incorporates it into your rankings on both search and maps. If your information is inconsistent, you will rank lower in search, which has a direct impact on consumers’ ability to find you and convert.

You must deliver accurate website URL, street address and phone number information for your physicians and locations, and enough supporting information like treatment specialties and office hours to convince a consumer to choose your doctors or clinics.

Figure 4 shows the relationship between accurate Google My Business (GMB) listings and actions taken by consumers viewing those listings. This client saw significant increases in website visits (+33%), requests for driving directions (+10%), and daily phone calls (+17%) after implementing Business Listings Management.

The Takeaway

Business Listing accuracy directly impacts local search visibility and conversions:

  • Accurate, consistent business listings data across all key sites elevate your rankings and increase visibility in search results.
  • Complete data in search results dramatically increases clicks, calls and requests for driving directions.
Drive ROI by Engaging on Social Media

Social media is an effective tool for increasing brand engagement and acquiring new patients. Ambassador reports 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.

Like advertising, it’s hard to calculate ROI for social media. Our data science team cracked the code, by examining the effect of social media engagement on our clients’ locations and identifying the correlation between Facebook activity (reviews and ratings) and Reputation Score. Here’s what we found:

Locations actively engaged on Facebook have:

  • Significantly higher review volume and traffic on Facebook than nonengaged locations
  • Up to 44% more reviews across all sites
  • Up to 10% higher ratings across all sites
  • Reputation Scores more than 100 points higher than locations not engaging on Facebook

Our research also revealed that the quality and style of social posts had an impact on reach and engagement. clients who leveraged our content library to develop, store and distribute brand-approved content across locations on a regular basis reached 40% more Facebook users and increased conversions from their Facebook pages by 70%.

Quality + Quantity = Impact

Our research also revealed that the quality and style of social posts have an impact on reach and engagement. clients who used our content library to develop, store and distribute brand-approved content across locations on a regular basis reached 40% more Facebook users and increased conversions from their Facebook pages by 70%. And for multi-location businesses, maintaining a unique Facebook page for each location increased engagement and conversion at the local level.

The Takeaway

Social Media Management has a direct impact on visibility and conversion:

  • More focus on Facebook delivers more reviews, higher star ratings and increased visibility in search — which yields higher clickthrough rates.
  • Per-location Facebook pages yield more aggregate impressions, engagement and conversions than a single corporate page.

What is Reputation Score?

Similar to a FICO score used to gauge creditworthiness, a company’s Reputation Score is a numerical indicator of how well its online reputation compares with that of others.

The Reputation Score is derived from a patented algorithm that automatically collects and processes data relevant to the most critical factors that help determine online reputation, including average star rating on review websites, review volume, review spread across general and industry-specific sites, review recency, review length, search impressions and accuracy of online listings. The resulting Reputation Score is expressed as a number on a scale of zero to 1,000 points.

The Payoff: Urgent Care Clinic

A leading urgent care and walk-in clinic provider with over 100 locations across 10 states used to optimally engage with clients, increase review volume and ensure its online reputation aligned with its own measurements of customer satisfaction. Figure 7 shows the progressive improvement in average star ratings for participating locations as review volume increased.

Figure 8 shows the dramatic increases in website visits, requests for directions and phone calls to the clinics participating in the ORM program:
Between 2017 and 2018, the provider received 11,000 more calls each month from its GMB pages. About 10% of those calls were from new patients.

Here’s the ROI:

11,000 x .10 = 1,100 new patients 

Average value of new patient = $150

1,100 (new patients) x $150 (value of new patient) = $165,000/month

Bottom-line Cost Savings

Another way an ORM platform such as delivers tangible, positive ROI is by reducing the labor cost of managing each facet of your online reputation, and instead leveraging technology to do the work.

Reducing Costs by Automating Business Listings Management

Four out of five people use search engines to find local information, like business hours and addresses. And Google research shows that businesses with complete, accurate listings are twice as likely to be considered reputable by customers.

But the manual labor associated with maintaining business listings for healthcare organizations is immense, particularly given the need to manage this data for every doctor and clinical location. Say your organization has thousands of doctors and locations, typical for an integrated health system. The number of hours your staff would need to spend managing all of those data points and listings is enormous — and probably not the best use of time. This is one place where ORM technology can make a huge difference.

Here’s an example of how one client with more than 600 doctors and locations enlisted our help to audit and correct business listings for all locations to ensure accuracy and completeness.

There were 251 working days in 2018. If managing business listings for 900 locations takes 1,600 FTE days, you would have to pay full-time salaries for 6.37 employees. The average minimum wage in the U.S. is $7.25 per hour, so the minimum daily cost per employee is $58.00. That’s $14,558 per year, per employee. Multiply that by 6.37, and you’re at $92,734.

More than likely, you’ll be paying information workers at a higher rate; the average pay for information workers in the U.S. is $44,564 — at this rate, managing 900 business listings without technology will run you close to $300,000 annually. The cost of implementing an ORM platform to manage those listings automatically is much less — and the level of accuracy achieved and maintained is much higher.

How to Measure the ROI of ORM for Your Business

Determine Top-line Growth Potential

The most reliable and defensible metric for topline revenue growth uses a classic marketing and sales conversion funnel model, starting with increased visibility (impressions) on Google Search and maps. Develop high- and low-range targets and map out the estimated revenue.

GMB page views Current (monthly) Target (low) Target (high)
GMB page views 1,500,000 2,250,000 3,500,000
Clicks to Website 22,000 30,000 45,000
Clicks to Call 24,000 30,000 40,000
Get Directions 32,000 36,000 42,000
Incremental Customer Visits 760 2,030
Avg. Revenue per Visit 150 150
Total Incremental Revenue per Month 114,000 304,500

Determine Bottom-line Cost Savings

A good generalized cost-savings model calculates the elimination of human capital investment to perform repetitive tasks related to reputation management, such as managing business listings.

The chart below can be used to estimate cost savings of managing business listings. We used the data from our earlier example to populate this table. This is an example of what one customer is saving by using

Metric Monthly
Locations Managed 900
# Resources (dedicated staff) per location 6
Total # Data Points per Location 78,000
Total # Hours Spent Updating Listings 12,800
Hourly Wage $7.25
Total Annual Cost $92,800


Online reputation management is no longer a nice-to-have; you need to implement solid ORM practices to keep your brand top of mind among consumers, drive patients and grow revenue to your healthcare organization.

With the right technology and best practices in place, you’ll achieve significant return on your ORM investment — and that ROI will continue to increase over time.

The data and calculation tables in this book provide a foundation for building an ORM value case for your healthcare organization. Please reach out to us to get a personalized assessment, with metrics uniquely tailored to your organization.

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