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How to create successful Facebook ads for doctors

Follow these guidelines to ensure a return on investment on your healthcare ads on Facebook.

Smiling PCP creates successful Facebook ads for doctors

Facebook is the most popular social network among U.S. adults: 69 percent of them say they use the social media site, according to Pew Research Center. According to Statista, the social media network boasts 183 million users in the U.S. alone. This makes Facebook an essential component of any healthcare advertising strategy.

But it’s not enough to simply set up a Facebook page and share posts. It’s long been recognized that organic reach on Facebook has been declining. Additionally, in January 2018, Facebook announced it would shift its algorithm so that the News Feed fostered more connections between people and would focus less on media consumption.

To reach your ideal patients on Facebook, you have to invest in medical ads. Read on for tips on creating successful Facebook ads for doctors.

Master the basics: Facebook 101 for healthcare providers

5 tips to follow when medical advertising on Facebook

1. Define your goals

Before investing your healthcare advertising dollars on Facebook, you need to decide what your goals for your doctor ads are. Facebook offers multiple formats for your doctor advertisement, and your goals can help you choose the correct one.

For a medical practice, common goals may be to:

  • Drive traffic to your healthcare website. To drive traffic to your healthcare website, you can set up a click campaign that encourages your target audience to visit any page on your site. You might generally describe your practice and link to your homepage, or you might direct people to other sections of your website.
  • Increase appointment bookings. If your website is equipped with online scheduling, you can create an ad that links to your scheduling page. You can retarget people who have visited your website or encourage people to take care of routine visits. For example, a dermatologist may want to place healthcare ads that remind people to get an annual skin exam and direct people to a webpage where they can schedule an appointment.
  • Become a trusted thought leader. Many people will choose to follow a medical professional to learn more about a procedure they are considering or to learn how to live a healthier life. To become a trusted source, you should be sharing helpful information on your social media channels. Boosting your organic posts on Facebook can ensure the helpful tips you’re sharing organically get in front of more patients.
  • Grow your Facebook page audience. If you’re looking to have a larger audience on Facebook, you can create a “Like” campaign, which encourages people to like your Facebook page.

It’s important to note that you may have to create a business manager account to run certain types of ads on Facebook.

Check out: Intro to social media sponsored content for healthcare practices

2. Build the appropriate audience

Unlike paid search advertising where users are delivered healthcare ads based on information they’re seeking, Facebook ads interrupt a user’s news feed. When creating an audience for your healthcare ads, your aim is to group together people who are likely interested in what you do.

If you haven’t already, it’s especially helpful to define your ideal patient. If you’re a primary care physician, you may treat a wide range of patients ages 18 to 55, but an 18-year-old likely wouldn’t respond to the same ad that a 55-year-old would. Building Facebook audiences that align with your ideal patients can help you tailor your ad copy so they’re most effective. On Facebook, you can also build audiences based on geographic location and even likes and interests.

You can also add a pixel to your website in order to retarget your web visitors with your Facebook ads. The Facebook pixel is a small piece of code that you, your website engineer, or a Facebook Marketing Partner can paste into your website code. Presumably, someone who was browsing your website was interested in learning more about you and was looking for a doctor. By retargeting them with your ads on Facebook, you can stay top of mind.

If you have a list of patient emails, you can also create a lookalike audience on Facebook. A good audience size is between 20,000 and 100,000 people: This ensures your ads aren’t being served to the same people over and over and that you’re not casting too wide a net. When creating a lookalike audience, Facebook segments a group of users who have similar attributes to your current patients, which you can further filter by location and other categories. Do not target your current patients directly, as Facebook requires explicit consent, and your patient list is likely too small.

When boosting your organic content to a larger audience, you can also target users who like your page. According to a report by We Are Social, an organic post reaches only 6.4 percent of page likes on average. This can help get your content in front of people who have already expressed an interest in hearing more from you.

Read: How to get started with Facebook healthcare advertising

Facebook ads for doctors example

3. Create engaging and compliant ads

Facebook users are constantly served with ads. The key to creating successful doctor ads means creating ads that are engaging, relatable, and relevant. Your medical ads should seem like a normal post in terms of copy and visual assets but stand out in terms of the content. According to Sprout Social, people are most interested in advertisements that entertain, educate, or offer discounts.

As an expert in your specialty, you have the distinct opportunity to educate users on their health. In fact, 33 percent of people are more likely to engage with social ads that teach them something, according to Sprout Social. If you offer retail products or out-of-pocket services, you may also try to engage users with a promotion: In the same survey, 37 percent of users said they were more likely to engage with social ads that offered a discount.

Before creating an ad, it’s important to familiarize yourself with Facebook’s advertising policies, specifically the prohibited and the restricted content sections. Perhaps of special interest to doctors, Facebook forbids advertising anything related to sex or sexual health. If you’re a plastic surgeon, photos of cosmetic procedures involving the breast, for example, may be flagged for nudity. Ads with excessive amounts of text or featuring a photo of a single body part might not get approved by Facebook. Ads for weight loss products and services and cosmetic procedures must be targeted to people at least 18 years or older.

Facebook ads for doctors example

Facebook owns Instagram, allowing doctors to repurpose their healthcare ads on the social platform. Here, we see an Instagram ad for an urgent care.

4. Keep mobile in mind

According to Statista, 96 percent of active Facebook users access the network via a tablet or smartphone. Facebook is accessible via both desktop and mobile devices, so your ads will automatically be formatted for the mobile screen. However, there are considerations you can make to better serve mobile users. People using their phones are likely on the move, so if you’re using video for ads, you should keep them to about 15 seconds. 

For the same reason, you should keep your ad copy relatively short and to-the-point. People scrolling on their phones may not be inclined to read a lot of text. 

Check out: Facebook Recommendations and their effect on practice marketing

5. Track performance and optimize

As with any medical advertising, it’s important to measure your ad performance. The metrics you’ll be reviewing depend on the original goal of the specific campaign. For example, if you were looking to drive traffic to your website, you will want to monitor link clicks and click-through rate. The click-through rate measures the percentage of clicks in comparison to how many people saw the ad. If these are low, you may want to try different advertising copy, images, or both.

If your original goal was to increase your Facebook page likes, then you should monitor how quickly your audience is growing.

Creating successful Facebook ads for doctors requires more than just placing the ad. After some time, you will begin to understand which doctor ads perform well and which do not. This is the best way to ensure you’re getting the best return on investment.

Do you need a deeper dive into the basics of healthcare social media? Download the whitepaper “Healthcare social media 101: Getting started with social media marketing for practices” for fundamental social media marketing for healthcare practices.

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