The pay-per-click advertising model directs traffic to websites when the viewer clicks an ad. In Google Ads, PPC ad is displayed to the visitor when a search word or term matches the advertiser’s keyword list in Google Search and displayed on websites that the user visits in Google Display ads.
PPC advertising successfully navigates the highly competitive field of healthcare advertising.
A solid digital marketing strategy involves several components, but paid digital advertising is the most direct route to your target customer. Clicks are never guaranteed in short term with search engine optimization (SEO), using the proper keywords and hoping it gets you to the top of Google’s results pages in long term–or you can pay for clicks and see results in a day.
The Difference Between Paid Search and Display Advertising
Pay-per-click advertising allows you to target certain keywords and get your site within the top results on the search engine results page (the SERP). The only thing clearly distinguishing your paid search advertisement from organic listings is one small word “ad” off to the side (which some searchers may not even notice).
Display advertisements are a lot more passive. These are the advertisements that show up at the top of a website (banner ads) or off to the side–results that may or may not have to do with the website you’re looking at. You can see these while reading blogs, articles, or browsing your favorite websites. Typically, you’re seeing the ad because it is relevant to the content on the page or based on your past behavior.
Using Display Advertising in Healthcare
Display advertising builds your brand. Someone might be searching symptoms on WebMD, browsing the Toronto Star website, or even just watching a YouTube video, when they notice your image or video advertisement.
Remarketing through display advertising keeps your brand fresh in someone’s mind, even when browsing the Weather Channel.
Display advertising allows you to target people based on user behavior or the content they are currently browsing. While they may not currently be searching for your brand, display ads allow prospective patients familiarity with your name before they’re ready to make a decision. They may be researching procedures. When they are ready to find a doctor in your area, you’ve already planted that seed so they can recall your name.
Targeted Medical PPC through Paid Search
Paid search is a lot more intent-based, putting results at the top of the page. For example, this keyword search for “knee surgery in Atlanta” includes 3 local orthopedic surgeons at the top of the results, above Yelp, thanks to paid advertising.
You might believe that people have a tendency to skip over these ads. Yes, some people skip over the paid results, but others don’t even realize they are paid results. Some searchers may even prefer the paid ads when they are ready to buy because it shows you are actively looking for patients.
We know for a fact that people do click on paid advertisements based on data and recorded phone calls linked directly to these local ads. Paid search is a way to profitably, predictably, and passively generate patients quickly, bringing your results to the top of Google and targeting the right people at the right time.
Unique PPC Challenges for Healthcare Advertisers
Healthcare advertisers face similar challenges to many other industries, such as a high level of competition and expensive keywords, but there are several factors to take into consideration that make the healthcare industry unique when it comes to winning at paid search. Before one can thinkof successfully growing their business through paid search, it’s critical to understand the challenges faced in the healthcare industry on Google.
- Sensitive information and language restrictions: Medical information is extremely sensitive, and with strict privacy laws like HIPAA and all of the politics around healthcare reform, advertisers need to tread gently.
- Competition: One in 20 searches on Google are health related, according to a Google study. This just proves how competitive the field of healthcare is within paid search, and Google knows this and continues to make improvements to the SERPs. Whether in the B2B or B2C world of healthcare on Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords) searches are omnipresent and gaining top spots on the SERPs is a competitive battle between health marketers.
- Not Allowed to Remarket: This is probably the biggest challenge that healthcare advertisers are facing nowadays. Recently, Google adjusted their policies and no longer allows healthcare marketers to utilize remarketing tactics, which is one of the most effective ways to keep leads engaged during a longer sales-cycle (which healthcare services typically have, with the exception of emergency care).
- Self-diagnosing: Have you ever searched for a health issue and found scary results? No, you are probably not going to die in 10-20 days for your stomach-ache.
With all these challenges, it’s still critical for healthcare professionals to gain exposure and grow their business through paid search. One Google study found that 90% of hospital administrators rely on search engines to identify vendor and product options and to research features. Search, mobile, and video are the main digital resources hospital buyers use when looking to replace, update, or replenish medical equipment. So clearly search marketing is a priority for the health industry, but what does this mean for marketers? Well, it means that paid search is critical to capturing your target buyers.