Each year, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) processes a whopping 28 billion search queries about healthcare topics from across the United States. Nearly a quarter of those consumer needs are resolved by medical ads, resulting in 1 billion clicks on search ads.
Healthcare is such a broad category, though. Advertisers in healthcare are competing against hospitals, pharmacies, labs and other diagnostic services, pharmaceutical companies, weight loss brands and more for their share of online consumer attention.
Healthcare Advertising a Seriously Competitive Field
In fact, a new infographic from Google lists the top 20 U.S. search queries in healthcare, and the list is all over the map. Check out just the top 10:
- Weight Watchers
- Quest Diagnostics
- Express Scripts
In our recent analysis of average click through rate (CTR), cost per click (CPC), conversion rate (CVR) and cost per action (CPA) on AdWords across all industries, we found that healthcare is one of the toughest verticals for PPC advertisers.
Healthcare ads have a lower than average CTR, at 1.79 percent compared to the average 1.91 percent across industries on the search network.
They pay more for those clicks, too. As shown above, in the black bar, healthcare advertisers pay an average cost per click of $3.17 on the search network. The average across industries is just $2.32.
PPC Tips for Healthcare
Consumers Overwhelmingly Look to Google on Healthcare
According to Google’s research, 89 percent of consumers turn to its search engine when they’re looking to solve their healthcare queries. Even though the space is saturated with all manner of health-related businesses, there’s a huge opportunity for those with a smarter healthcare advertising strategy to connect.
So what’s a business to do so their healthcare marketing and advertising cuts through the crazy competition?
For starters, you can capitalize on the local nature of many healthcare queries by using AdWords tools and features to your advantage. Google reports that 63 percent of searchers make their decisions based on the proximity of a proposed service to their home or office.
How easy it is for searchers to find your locations? Use Location Targeting in AdWords to bid more for queries happening closer to your location.
This allows you to increase your bids for some locations or dial them down for others. Depending on your place in the healthcare industry, this can be super important. If you’re a walk-in clinic, for example, you probably don’t want to pay the same for an out-of-state search click as you will for someone who’s only a few blocks away. In this way, geography tells you a lot about intent.
This also increases the likelihood that your ads are going to get the clicks, because you’re appearing in front of a more targeted, motivated audience. And as we know, increasing your CTR is key in boosting your Quality Score, which can drive up your ROI and lower costs per click across your campaign!
The Importance of Mobile Optimization for Healthcare Marketers
Make your website and landing pages mobile-friendly. Google tells us that 60 percent of consumers interested in healthcare ads are going to visit the healthcare website. We also know that 53 percent of searches are coming from a smartphone, and another 7 percent from tablets.
If your web experience isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re going to lose prospects through your lackluster user experience. It’s even worse if you have no website at all, but with that said, quality definitely matters.
Populate your site with rich, top quality, engaging content. A set-it-and-forget-it website won’t cut it. If your website is a 2007 throwback, today’s consumer can tell; 71 percent won’t take action if your website lacks the kinds of information they need to make important healthcare decisions.