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Archive for the ‘Online Advertising / SEM / Display’ Category

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Hospital Advertising Tips: Increase Patients with Ad Extensions

By | April 23, 2014

According to an article posting in July 2012 by Kaiser Health News, only 150 of 6,000 hospitals were actively using paid advertising (Google & Facebook) to promote their hospital and medical services. It is more than likely that this number has risen as hospitals are seeing the benefits of paid search marketing in driving incremental patients and general awareness.

As competition in this space continues to increase year over year and even month over month, it’s extremely important to that your hospital is standing out from an extremely cluttered search engine result pages (SERPs). The more clicks you can get (compared to your competition), the more potential patients you can acquire.

Below are a list of different ad extensions (which enhance standard ad copy) that can help your hospital stand out vs. your competition, which inevitably leads to more clicks and therefore more patients. If you are currently promoting your hospital and service lines using Google AdWords and Bing Ads—the below are very important to maximizing success for your health system.


  • Sitelinks and Extended (Description) Sitelinks: Google sitelinks have been around for several years and are honestly a ‘must-have’ for all advertisers. According to Google, advertisers see up to a 30% increase in click-through rate when implementing sitelinks. In addition to generating more clicks, sitelinks allow users on a general search such as “hospital” to get closer to where they want to be without having to navigate the web site (so we’ve seen improved conversion rates as well).

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  • Review Extensions: Review extensions are credible ratings from a 3rd party. No, you can’t site a random blog or Healthgrades review of one of your physicians. However; you can leverages U.S. News & World Report and other trustworthy rankings. Google has seen up to 10% increase in click-through rate when advertisers have implemented review extensions.

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  • Call Extensions: Call extensions are applicable to both computers/tablets and mobile devices. When users are searching on their phone, they see a phone icon with “call”. I see the most value in driving calls directly to your call center and it costs the same amount per click as if the user were to go to your landing page or web site. Google has reported call extensions to increase click-through rate by 6%-8%.

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  • Image Extensions: Image extensions are extremely new and have strict guidelines on the types of images that can show. In addition, Google will need to approve image quality, image type, image size, and image dimensions. Finally, Google is looking to experiment with image ad extensions on high-volume advertisers first as there is some back-end set-up that needs to be done. There’s no documented data on how click-through is affected by Google yet but I’d imagine it would definitely increase CTR. If you’re interested in trying this out, reach out to your Google Representative and cross your fingers.

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  • Location Extensions: Similar to sitelinks and call extensions, location extensions have been around for some time. As proximity is often an important decision when determining which hospital to visit, it’s important the user can easily see where your hospital versus where they are located. Location extensions gives the user just this feature but clicking the address. Google stated that this extension increases click-through rate by up to 10%.

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  • Sitelinks, Calls Extensions, Location Extensions: Just like Google AdWords, Bing Ads offers these ad extensions that have been shown to improve click-through rate in Bing and Yahoo as well.

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  • Rich Ads in Search: Otherwise known as RAIS ads almost a combination of Google’s image extensions and sitelinks and they can show up on both Bing and Yahoo. You can show one small image (generally a logo) in addition to sitelinks to help make your ad stand out. We’ve seen really good results when using these ads with our clients. Unfortunately, RAIS ads are only applicable on ‘branded’ keywords only.

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Ad extensions are simple enhancements that can make a huge difference in click-through rate and conversion rate—which means more patients for your hospital.

You be the judge; which ad do you expect to get more clicks?

Ad A

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Ad B:

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Google’s April 22 AdWords Announcement

By | April 22, 2014

Today, amidst great anticipation, Google hosted a live stream announcing upcoming products, enhanced reporting and new insightful tools for AdWords users. In case you missed today’s Google AdWords Announcement, here’s a quick rundown of what was introduced:

Innovative Ads

App keyword suggestions – based on unique data from Google Play to help drive more downloads

In-App install ads – for Google Display Network, if you have a calorie counting app they’ll show your app to users who already have fitness related apps installed

TrueView companion for apps – ads that encourage the download of apps when your video ad shows

App deep linking – can go directly to specific pages within an app, such as the next episode for your favorite show you’ve been watching on Hulu+

Insightful Reporting

Estimated total conversion offline – Allows you to report on estimated in-store conversions driven by online.

Intelligent Tools

Bulk Actions – bulk editing and changes available directly in the AdWords interface. Allows for ad location and ad rotation available as an option to add to multiple campaigns at once. Also, allows for automated bidding to set specific account goals; can let Google set up your budget and bids for you.

Max Conversions – automatic bidding solution that allows you to maximize the number of users to your site

Max Value – automatic bidding solution that allows you to optimize for sales

Enhanced Reporting

Google brings an Excel Pivot-table like multi-dimensional tool to decrease time spent collecting data. Based on live data, you can drag and drop fields to create custom reports. It also allows for data visualization straight in the engine. Here are two examples of what the interface and charts will look like:

Drafts and Experiments

Turns your campaign into a ‘draft’ mode, essentially making it like a shopping cart for your changes. Once it is reviewed, you can apply all your changes directly to the live campaigns. You can also run this as an experiment, dividing part of your traffic to this test and then giving you real-world results.

In conclusion, it wasn’t the life-changing event that last year’s Enhanced Campaigns announcement brought (thankfully!). It appears Google is trying to shove out third-party platforms that allow for greater automated bidding options and scheduling as well as advanced data visualizations. I’m a tad skeptical of the real value in estimated offline conversions and how some of the other new tools will perform, but overall it’s not a bad day for an AdWords advertiser!

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Attribution for the Assist

By | April 16, 2014

If you have read any of my past blog posts, you might notice that I can’t help but use a sports reference every once in a while.  My previous posts Google for the Assist and Turning Your Paid Search Campaigns into a Slam Dunk both look at the world of online marketing through the eyes of a sports fanatic. So, last week when I watched NBA Player Steve Nash take the spot for the third most assists in NBA history, I couldn’t help but relate it to this post about attribution I had planned.

Steve Nash is currently 40 years old, and in the NBA you won’t find many players that age still holding their own on the court. Although Nash’s points per season have been on the decline since the 2006-07 basketball season, his contracts keep getting renewed, and he’s still seen as a competitive threat on the court. The number one reason for this is his ability to assist.

The importance of the word “assist” is often overlooked in the world of digital marketing. Many people think that if a tactic is not how the user converted then it’s alright to give 100% of the value to the source with the last interaction, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Starting the attribution conversation is the first step in accurately measuring your ROI [Tweet this] and getting better insights into which channels actually work for you. Getting some initial insights into the value of attribution is as easy as looking at your Google Analytics data and comparing how the pre-set attribution models stack up for your site.

Find the Best Attribution Model

In the following chart we compare the Last Interaction, First Interaction, and Position Based attribution models. While many companies still use Last Interaction and Last Click conversion models, it’s extremely important to set up models that best fit your needs.  As you can see, Paid Search has nearly 10,000 less conversions in the Last Interaction model compared to the First Interaction model, while Direct is the opposite.


So what insights can we gain by looking at this data?  Paid Search is capturing a significant amount of “upper funnel” traffic that comes back later and converts through another channel. And even though Paid Search was a major part of capturing that traffic, the last click models give Paid Search no credit for thousands of users.

Set Goals Carefully

The type of model you use could significantly change the way you set your goals and/or look at performance. If a client’s cost-per-lead goal was $30, then in the example below, we are not hitting that goal using a last interaction or 40-20-40 Position-based model. Based on the results you see using whichever model you are using, it is important that you truly analyze and understand the data so you can make the most informed budget allocation and planning decisions.


In addition to the three models compared today there are several more preset models in Google Analytics and customizations that fit your needs and goals the best.  However, before you rush and choose an attribution model, take time to talk your team, department, and other departments to create a model that best fits everyone’s goals – for now and the future.

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Understanding AdWords Sitelink Extensions

By | April 11, 2014

Sitelink extensions are the easiest and most common type of extension to include in your ads.  Not only do these extensions help take up more real estate on the page to improve your CTR by 10-20%, they also have an impact on your ad rank.  Previously, ad rank was calculated by using your max CPC bid and Quality Score. It now factors in ad extensions and formats.

For this reason alone, you want to make sure you have at least six active sitelinks set up for desktop, but also four active sitelinks for mobile. AdWords allows you to have up to twenty total per ad group or campaign.  Even though Adwords allows you up to 25 characters for the link, I recommend trying to keep desktop sitelinks to 18-20 characters and mobile to 12-15 characters for the best CTR.

When creating mobile sitelinks take in to account the intentions of a mobile user and how it would differ from a desktop user.

Google will automatically show your highest-performing sitelinks on each format, so you do not have to worry about any type of placement on your end.  Depending on the relevance of your sitelinks, you could even see lower CPCs and better performance. For the most value and optimized ads, be sure to add other extensions, such as seller ratings or call extensions.

Do not forget to monitor your extensions by looking at performance before and after implementation. You can segment your reports by click type to see a more detailed performance for different types of your extensions.

Since there are many factors and variables it is tough to pinpoint the specific extension change that had the most impact, but looking at an account overall within CTR and conversions, will allow you to understand that extensions are important for helping you and your clients.


Get more out of marketing automation by following retail content and sending strategies for email campaigns. Download our 13-pg. PDF:

Automated Retail Email Guide

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What is the True Value of Social Engagement?

By | April 10, 2014

Measuring social impact on a retail client is one of the hardest things to do.  There are a lot of different metrics that you are able to track but creating a direct correlation between those and actual revenue to the business is tough. Many companies today get caught up in the ways to increase engagement and not the value associated with that engagement.

The first thing you need to do with social channels is set up goals.

You have to create goals that have a clear impact on the business.  Having an increase in Twitter followers or Facebook likes do not provide any real worth for a business. Increases in those type engagements usually do correspond with a positive correlation of revenue, however we need to try to tie actual value to those engagements.  For example within Google Analytics we can segment our traffic to come from different social channels like Facebook.

Depending on what type of website you are working with you can provide different amounts of return that you can directly correlate to your business.  If it is an eCommerce site you can easily just look at your transactions from your social channels and see how much revenue they generated.  If you are working with a lead gen client, find out what percentage of leads are qualified then the average deal size for those leads.




If you don’t have the tracking set up or you don’t have any transactions or leads, you can go back one step further and use your average Conversion rate through your other channels and figure out the number of transactions/leads you should have based on the number of clicks you are getting to the website.   You can also find the value for your engagements by going a set further back by using your CTR to find the value of each impression you are getting. Tying revenue to your social engagement will create a clear picture and display the importance of social channels.


Get more out of marketing automation by following retail content and sending strategies for email campaigns. Download our 13-pg. PDF:

Automated Retail Email Guide


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