Healthcare is an ever-growing market that is increasingly reliant on digital channels. According to Pew Research, 47% of internet users search for information about doctors or other health professionals online, and 1 in 20 Google searches are related to healthcare. In this digital landscape, remaining compliant while winning new patients is a unique challenge healthcare marketers face.
In the wake of the pandemic, the challenges are even greater. Rolling pandemic restrictions across the U.S. put a halt on elective healthcare procedures over the last 18 months. But with restrictions lifting in many U.S. regions, patient sentiment is on the mend, and they are now looking to move forward with the procedures that were put on pause. As of March 2021, 56% of people surveyed would be comfortable having a medical procedure done, compared to 44% just two months earlier in January.
The demand for healthcare, particularly elective procedures, is clearly ramping back up. Marketers in this industry should be taking note of this upward trend, and finding ways to tap into this rebounding market. There are three campaign tactics that healthcare marketers can consider leveraging in the coming months.
1. Reach Receptive Users With Contextual Advertising
Given the number of users that begin their healthcare-related searches on Google, it is advantageous that marketers serve ads directly on a page while a user is reading relevant content. With contextual advertising, you can do just that. This targeting methodology enables marketers to target online shoppers based on the content they are consuming, ensuring that users are captured in the right moments.
For example, a user researching how to treat their chronic hip pain might go online to research remedies for the discomfort. With contextual advertising, a hospital specialized in hip replacement surgery can target the context of the topic being consumed, by targeting the keyphrase “hip pain remedies.” This way, the ads appear on pages that are relevant to a user who is in a receptive frame of mind when it comes to elective surgeries that will help them treat their chronic pain.
Contextual advertising enables marketers to create personal user experiences while achieving the right balance of relevancy and scale. And, contextual targeting isn’t constrained by privacy legislation. Instead, it leverages the context next to which the ad appears.
2. Target Geographically to Find Nearby Patients
Location targeting enables marketers to reach relevant users within a georadius. This targeting method sets a parameter around a physical location, within which ads will then be delivered. It’s possible to target users by location, proximity, or by region. This is an effective strategy for healthcare marketers because it enables them to reach patients who live near physical locations like a hospital, research lab, or clinic.
This method can also be used to target anyone who has visited a nearby walk-in clinic, by state, city, or zip code. And, it can be leveraged to target regions that aren’t impacted by pandemic restrictions. For example, with geographic targeting, a marketer can ensure that ads for an urgent care clinic appear when a user within a 5-mile radius of that clinic searches for urgent care services.
Geographic targeting can also be leveraged to capture prospects who are visiting a competitor’s location. For example, a new physical therapy clinic might target people who are visiting another clinic that is in the same neighborhood. Then, use ad creative to communicate to users the unique benefits of the new clinic. Lastly, be sure to incorporate a footfall attribution study in your geotargeting campaign so that you can determine if your advertising influenced a lift in visitation.
3. Leverage Disclaimer and Rich Media Ads
In healthcare, you often need to display legal information alongside your core message in order to remain HIPAA compliant. Marketers can lean on Important Safety Information (ISI) rich native and display ads to ensure legal information and disclaimers are communicated to users. Disclaim and ISI rich media ad units allow for a discreet disclaimer on hover, or an auto-scrolling ISI ensuring legal compliance without taking away from the creative’s aesthetic appeal.
These ad units are particularly useful for branded campaigns that require ISI at the impression level. When a user views an ad, the ISI will scroll automatically. If the text hovers over, then it will pause. Or, the user can scroll themselves to read the ISI at their own pace. Auto-scroll picks back up on its own if a user is no longer engaged with the unit.
This strategy is ideal for branded campaigns because it allows for a balance between creative space and required information. Healthcare marketers don’t have to sacrifice valuable space for their brand messaging in order to include the required information. It’s a non-disruptive ad unit that can lead users to relevant articles which will provide further education.
It’s Time to Invest in Healthcare Campaigns
Hospitals and health systems have been seeing a bounce back in patient volume throughout 2021, and this upward trend is expected to continue. Many people are now looking to book treatments and elective procedures that were put on hold at the height of the pandemic. Healthcare marketers can take advantage of this growing market by introducing new strategies, like contextual advertising, geotargeting, and ISI-rich ad units.
About Ned Dimitrov
Dr. Ned Dimitrov is VP of Data Science at StackAdapt, where the data science team creates novel algorithms for advertisement delivery using vast amounts of historical and real-time information. Prior to joining StackAdapt, Dr. Dimitrov was a professor in Operations Research at The University of Texas at Austin as well as the Naval Postgraduate School. As a professor, Dr. Dimitrov’s research focused on optimization and mathematical decision-making. He has trained hundreds of graduate students, taught computational and theoretical classes, and published research papers in leading journals. Dr. Dimitrov received his Ph.D. in Theoretical Computer Science from The University of Texas at Austin.