Posted: October 25, 2017

Pay-per-click, or PPC, advertising is tricky, especially in healthcare when you’re covering a wide variety of brand and service-line related keywords, all with a varying degree of associated traffic, which makes targeting an even bigger job. This probably isn’t news to you — you may be struggling to navigate the complexities of making PPC drive ROI for your organization as we speak.

That doesn’t mean boosting PPC results is impossible. In fact, PPC can be a valuable healthcare marketing tool if you know how to get the most of the platforms you’re using and have a little bit of expertise to guide you. These best practice tips can take your PPC efforts to the next level.

Make Contact Info Readily Available
Boost results by: Giving potential patients a quick and easy way to get in touch fast—this could be the difference in you winning that patient over your competitors.

The healthcare industry is unique in that people searching for your services might need them right away. Rather than shopping around for a vacuum cleaner, they may need medical help quickly. So, providing your contact information within the ad vastly improves the chances your organization is the one that gets that call.

To get your contact info into the ad structure, you have to turn on your Call Extension, Location Extensions, and Sitelink Extensions. Turn these on for all campaigns, and track data such as incoming calls and new patient sign ups to see if there’s an uptick. Bonus: ads with extensions have been found to improve click-through-rate.

Revisit Campaign Structure
Boost results by: Allowing Google to auto serve ads within groups to find highest performing ones.

With all the options available for custom settings, AdWords can feel like a daunting platform to use. But gaining an understanding of how to make the most out of these tools and settings will help you get more out of your efforts. By knowing how to set things like campaign structure and ad groups up for your specific goals, you’ll also make more out of your budget.

“The problem is, many marketers suffer from poor PPC campaign management, which ends up costing them way more money than they need to spend and delivering underwhelming lead generation results,” says Matthew Wainwright, of Hubspot. Before you can fix your structure, however, you need to understand how it works.

One of the easiest mistakes to make is reorganizing campaigns and ads that have already happened — doing so can wipe all your data and potentially affect your current ads. Instead, start fresh by organizing new campaigns and their accompanying ads into ad groups, where you’ll likely have a variety of overlapping keywords. This allows you to set daily budget caps, dayparting, and geotargeted data at a campaign level — making your life easier in the process. Note that ads with generic keywords versus branded keywords should be kept in separate campaigns, as the cost will differ greatly for the two groups.

With your ad groups organized, you can set your “ad rotation” to “optimize for clicks” or “optimize for conversions.” Google explains, “[This] means that your ads will show on a rotating basis until we've learned how each ad performs. Once performance data is gathered, your higher performing ads will show more often.” Taking this kind of help where you can get it is especially nice with everything else you have to juggle.

Optimize For Mobile
Boost results by: Being available on mobile devices, which are now more popular than desktop.

Mobile has quickly become the go-to for web browsing and searching, surpassing desktop use back in 2016. As such, your PPC ads need to be mobile ready if you want to convert those users. To prep your ads for mobile, keep the following steps in mind:

1. Sift through ad data to determine how your ads are currently doing on mobile. You can do this by segmenting data by device. If ads are already doing well on mobile, consider boosting your current mobile bid: “Google allows you to bid as high as 300 percent more on mobile,” suggests Margot da Cunha, of WordStream.

2. Create mobile-preferred ads. While desktop ads will show on mobile, they may not format properly, deterring people from clicking. Be sure to use location and call extensions for mobile ads. Especially since healthcare consumers are searching on mobile for locations nearby, you want them to be able to click your number directly or tap on your address for directions.

3. Assess your landing pages to ensure they’re mobile friendly. If not, you risk losing conversions to people who would rather interact with a site that’s easy to navigate and understand.

Look at mobile campaigns separately from desktop when tracking progress and successes. Some keywords or ad sets may do better on mobile than desktop, which will allow you to further adjust and boost results.

Start Boosting Results
Sometimes boosting PPC results is as easy as making a few minor adjustments and adding pertinent information. But with the mountain of responsibilities you have as a healthcare marketer, don’t be afraid to seek advice and expertise in how to make the most out of your PPC budget where you can. Finding an experienced partner to help you know exactly when to adjust a campaign’s targeting, spend, or any other optimizations can take away the burden of complexity considerably. Keep your specific goals in mind, and be sure to track and monitor results so you can develop strategies for delivering consistent results.

Want more insight from a Certified Google Partner, with technology connected directly to the AdWords API? Request a free healthcare marketing assessment and get your individualized plan for maximizing results.