In the past, healthcare providers purchased advertising on websites or in email newsletters in an attempt to attract patients to their practices. However, banner blindness — the phenomenon in which people consciously or unconsciously ignore online ads — has rendered this marketing tactic less effective.
“People grow accustomed to marketing techniques. The longer a particular technique exists in the wild, the less likely it will be effective,” says Kyle Johnson, PatientPop director of marketing technology. That’s not to say all online advertisements are bad, though. According to Johnson, healthcare providers can have great success promoting their practices in 2018 with targeted advertisements.
In this blog, we define targeted advertisements and discuss two types of targeted advertisements you can use to increase awareness of your healthcare practice among prospective patients.
Targeted advertisements are those that use data or keywords to reach a specific audience. Instead of sharing information with a large general audience, target advertisements help you reach the exact people you want to attract to your healthcare practice.
Two types of targeted advertisements to consider for your healthcare practice are:
Facebook boasts nearly 240 million monthly active users in the U.S. and Canada. Facebook users openly share their demographics, location, and interests with the social media site, which means healthcare practices can laser-target their advertisements.
An OB-GYN who wants to increase her number of expectant mothers, for example, can target women ages 22 to 35 who live within 10 miles of her practice and have “liked” the pages Parents Magazine, Babble, and other similar parenting-oriented pages.
On Facebook, you can also advertise to users who have viewed your competitor’s websites. Thanks to cookies — little digital breadcrumbs that keep track of our online whereabouts — Facebook knows exactly what websites its users have visited. When purchasing Facebook ads, you can specify that your ads be shown to users who have been researched your competitors.
Facebook also allows healthcare practices to upload email addresses for advertising purposes. You can use email addresses to target current patients, as well as their Facebook friends.
Another form of targeted advertising to consider for your healthcare practice in 2018 is paid search. Paid search advertisements are paid listings that appear at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).
Paid search works like an online auction. To have your ad appear in search, you bid on keywords that prospective patients might use to find a healthcare practice like yours. A dermatologist in Chicago, for example, could bid on [best dermatologist chicago]. Whether your ad appears — and where it appears — depends on how much money you bid, as well as its quality score.
Paid search ads are typically pay-per-click (PPC) — which means you only pay each time a person clicks your link — or cost-per-thousand impression (CPM) — which means you pay the amount you bid for every 1,000 impressions. An impression is a single display of an ad on a webpage.
Although paid search does not target prospective patients using highly specific data like demographics, it can still be incredibly effective in driving patients to your healthcare practice because it targets people who are actively seeking healthcare providers. As an added bonus, paid search is a great way to instantly boost where your healthcare practice appears in search engine rankings for competitive keywords.
This year, healthcare providers should rethink how they spend their advertising dollars. With targeted advertisements, you can build awareness of your practice among the exact patients you seek to attract.
To learn more about targeted advertisements and other healthcare marketing trends on the rise in 2018, download our whitepaper 2018 Healthcare Marketing Trends for Providers.
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