Health Systems’ New Best Friend: Google AdWords Review Extensions

Out of all industries, reviews and overall reputation are most important to the healthcare industry. Sure, if I’m buying a new flat screen T.V., I’ll check reviews online. But buying a crappy T.V. vs. choosing a hospital that is not the best fit can have drastically different outcomes.  As you are aware, we trust hospitals with our lives and the lives of our loved ones every single day. Therefore, prospective patients and caregivers research which hospital is best for them before making a decision as to where they will seek treatment. Bottom line; we take reviews and reputation much more seriously when dealing with hospitals and treatment centers than we do with any other decision.

As healthcare marketers, it’s our job to understand how important both reviews and awards are and do everything we can to earn the trust of caregivers and prospective patients. For health systems and hospitals using search engine marketing (SEM) to promote their facilities, there is now a new way to build this credibility!

Introducing…Google AdWords Review Extensions!

Google AdWords Review Extensions are pretty phenomenal; it’s basically being able to put an extra value proposition or differentiator within your ad copy, but it does not count against the character restrictions of a standard ad. This means, you get to take up extra space in the search engine results page (SERPS) and your ad stands out compared to your competition. In addition, according to Google’s internal studies of their advertisers; they see an increase of 10% in click-through rates!

Ad Review Extensions 1

Ad Review Extensions 2

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Getting Ad Extensions Approved…the First Time

Now, Google has very strict policies when using review extensions. Many advertisers have complained about the difficulty of getting them approved. Here are some tips:

  • Reviews cannot be from user generated sites (i.e. blogs or forums).
  • Reviews must be from a credible third party source
  • Reviews must link directly to the source and should reflect the same tone and content
  • Reviews should not be more than 1 year old

Since Fathom works with several different healthcare providers, we’ve also discovered the following tips and tricks that help increase the chances that the review extensions will be approved:

  • Use These Sources: U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Choice Awards, Carechex, and more.
  • Avoid Repetition: Sometimes, Google will disapprove your review extension if you mention the health system or hospital in the review extension (since the ad already has the name in the URL). Also, avoid using the source in the review extension (keep this as the source)
  • Include the Year of the Award: as mentioned above, Google does not want the review with be more than a year old. Including the year will make this approval process go faster and ensure it gets approved.

The above information has streamlined our ability to help our healthcare partners get more clicks and conversions by building that initial credibility before the user even clicks through to their web site!

Do Review Extensions Really Work?

We recently have implemented review extensions for two nationally ranked health systems. . So far, the results have been above Google’s benchmark of a 10% improvement.

  • We have seen an increase of 23%+ when the review extension shows in overall click-through rate (CTR) for a non-branded campaign!
  • The CTR when review extensions did not show was 1.74%. The CTR when the review extensions do show was 5.40%! That’s over a 210% increase in CTR.

Although it’s still very early, seeing these successes from review extensions in such a short period of time shows that review extensions really do work and this also shows that users really do value 3rd party reviews and reputation when they are researching healthcare organizations. There are several health systems that run search engine marketing and are top ranked hospitals but aren’t using this simple tactic to increase click-through rate, brand awareness, and new patients for their healthcare organization.


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