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5 online advertising options for healthcare practices

Online healthcare advertising can help you reach new patients at all stages of the patient journey.

Female doctor looks at mobile phone

Just 10 percent of American adults don’t use the internet, according to a 2019 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. This means 90 percent of people are on the internet, creating a major need to invest in online healthcare advertising or dental advertising for your practice.

If you’ve been focusing most of your efforts on traditional advertising methods, it’s time to modernize your approach. Here’s a look at a few different types of healthcare ads to consider.

Online advertising opportunities that make an impact

1. Search advertising

When patients search for products or services offered by your practice, search advertising displays your medical ads in their results. Google AdWords is the top provider of search ads, bringing in 40.7 percent of U.S. digital ad revenues in 2017, according to eMarketer.

This isn’t surprising considering Google processes an average of 40,000 search queries per second, according to InternetLiveStats. This equates to more than 3.5 billion searches on a daily basis.

If you advertise with Google, your ads appear on the Google Search Network. This means they’ll show up in Google search sites (Google Play, Google Shopping, Google Images, and Google Maps), with search results, and on the websites of Google search partners.

Check out: Marketing your private practice with paid advertising

2. Display advertising

A type of online advertising that includes banner ads and rich media, display advertising uses images, audio, and video to promote your healthcare practice. While paid search ads appear on search engine results pages, display ads show up on websites listed in the results pages.

When advertising with Google, these ads appear on the Google Display Network. Designed to help capture a person’s attention in the early stages of the patient journey, display ads are placed in front of people before they start searching for your products or services.

3. Social media sponsored content

Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of American adults use some form of social media, according to a 2019 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. Specifically, 69 percent use Facebook, 37 percent have an Instagram account, and 22 percent are on Twitter.

Clearly, your patients are on these sites, so using social media sponsored content makes sense. A form of native advertising, social media sponsored content consists of an article or video designed to engage and inform patients and prospective patients.

Although not actually an ad, sponsored content generally includes a call to action. Social platforms typically don’t have many rules surrounding this content, beyond ensuring the words “sponsored” or “promoted” are highly visible on the post.

Learn: 5 ideas to take your social media to the next level

4. Video advertising

Half (50 percent) of U.S. internet users watch video content every day, according to Statista. In total, these people spend 69 minutes per week watching online video.

Considering the prevalence of video, incorporating it into your medical advertisement strategy is a must. Just as it sounds, video advertising is an ad for your practice in the form of a video. Video ads come in a variety of formats, such as in-stream video (video used alongside other marketing content), out-stream video (a video that appears by itself), and interactive (the video plays after an action, such as signing up for your practice newsletter).

YouTube 101: An introduction to video marketing for doctors

5. Native advertising

Another form of online advertising, native ads perfectly blend with the media format on which they’re presented. As noted above, they’re frequently used in social media sponsored content.

A 2018 Stanford Graduate School of Business study revealed consumers are good at distinguishing native ads from standard digital content, but they still influence their behavior. 

With that in mind, it’s not surprising that U.S. advertisers are expected to spend nearly $44 billion on native ads in 2019, according to eMarketer.

3 reasons to include online advertising in your marketing mix

1. Social media use is on the rise

At present, there are 2.77 billion social media users in the world, according to Statista. This number is expected to surge to 3.02 billion by 2021.

Considering the volume of people using social media, it doesn’t make sense to leave this realm out of your advertising strategy. Social media sponsored content can help get your medical ads in front of your target audience.

Read: How to reach new patients using social media

2. Digital ads are becoming more prominent

In 2019, digital ad spending in the U.S. will surpass traditional ad spending for the first time, according to eMarketer. This realm will grow 19 percent to $129.34 billion this year, totaling 54.2 percent of all U.S. ad spending.

By 2023, two-thirds of total media spending is expected to be digital, according to eMarketer. Numbers don’t lie, so feel confident your competition is using online advertising. If you opt out, you’ll stunt your practice growth.

3. Traditional ads are on the decline

In 2018, 51.4 percent of all ad spending in the U.S. was put toward traditional advertising mediums (radio, television, print, and directories), according to eMarketer. This number declined to 45.8 percent in 2019.

Taking a closer look, directories such as the Yellow Pages saw the biggest decline in 2019, at 19 percent, according to eMarketer. Traditional print (newspapers and magazines) took about an 18 percent hit, and television ad spend dropped 2.2 percent.

If your current healthcare advertising strategy centers on traditional methods, your reach is limited. It’s time to shift your online advertising efforts to mediums that allow you to get the most for your money.

Online advertising is the way of the future. If your healthcare practice isn’t currently running digital healthcare ads, consider updating your marketing methods.

Up next: Medical and healthcare advertising in the digital age

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