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

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Challenges with Marketing Healthcare Online (in Google AdWords)

By | October 29, 2014

If you are a healthcare marketer like me, you have probably noticed that there are several restrictions and limitations in this field, especially as it relates to online advertising. I wanted to take some time to write about the various challenges when advertising for healthcare organizations. The problem with many of these challenges is that there is no clear right and wrong, and many answers depend on the situation.

Challenge 1: Targeting Health-Related Content – The Google AdWords policy team also has a restriction on ‘healthcare-related content.’ This declares users are not allowed to promote various healthcare products and services. This list is very vague, e.g.:

  • Over-the-counter and prescription medication
  • Medical services and procedures
  • Pregnancy and fertility-related products and services
  • Medical devices and tests

Google ortho surgery

As one can infer from the list above, a lot of these categories are subject to interpretation and unfortunately, Google’s interpretation. “Medical services and procedures,” for example, generally is not restricted, as many of our health systems bid on keywords like “bariatric surgery” and “orthopedic surgery.” Google goes on to state:

“The restrictions that apply to this content may vary depending on the product or service that you’re promoting and the countries that you’re targeting.”

Challenge 2: Keyword and Ad Copy Approval (Request an Exception): With the lack of clarity (and case-by-case basis) for restrictions on “healthcare-related content,” many times when you try to upload new keywords or ads they are flagged, and you must request an exception within the AdWords interface or Adwords Editor. Although this is only a bit annoying, it can limit how quickly you can launch new campaigns, keywords, and ads.

recommended actions

Challenge 3: Retargeting/Remarketing – Retargeting is considered to be “interest-based advertising” by Google AdWords, and it restricts this based on “health or medical information.”  Therefore, retargeting for hospitals, treatment clinics, and other healthcare organizations is basically not allowed in Google AdWords. To read more specific details about retargeting, what is and is not allowed, and a work-around, check out:”What You Need to Know About Hospital Retargeting.”

My number-one recommendation is to ask Google or other advertising platforms if you’re allowed to promote certain conditions or treatments BEFORE you plan an online advertising strategy.

Another consideration that is not necessarily a restriction, but needs to be thought about is the ethics behind which users you are targeting and how. In the past, we’ve had healthcare clients ask us our opinions on this subject matter. Targeting users on Facebook based on their age, location, and interests can provide really granular targeting, but it can also offend your users and therefore negatively impact your brand. Let’s say for instance, you were promoting a bariatric information seminar on Facebook; you will most likely target users within your health system’s geographic location, age groups most likely to be interested in bariatric surgery, and possibly interests that imply users are obese and are more likely in need of bariatric surgery—eating, McDonalds, fast food, weight loss. Although this would be an extremely targeted campaign, a healthcare organization would need to weigh the pros and cons of this type of targeting with a full understanding of the implications.

audience details

To summarize, it’s extremely important to not only understand the restrictions with healthcare marketing and advertising, but also consider the ethics that go along with it.

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3 Reasons Why SEO & PPC Are More Powerful Together

By | October 10, 2014

We all know that SEO can be a longer term investment and PPC can be up and operating in a matter of days. Both digital strategies require research, analytics and weekly, if not daily, management. Both are equally important. However, should companies be focused on one and not the other? Or, cut one program when the other begins to show results? The answer is no! SEO and PPC work better together and there are distinct advantages for continuing both simultaneously.

1. SERP domination and visibility

If you have specific keywords that have moved to position number one or two organically, this doesn’t mean it is time to turn off PPC. PPC still gives you the top two or three listings of page and having more visibility and page domination will ensure more traffic, leads and business. By utilizing SEO and PPC, you are pushing your competitors out of the most coveted spots in the search results page. Moreover, potential customers see companies with multiple listings as being more established and trustworthy.

2. Learn what keywords perform well with PPC, apply them to SEO

Take advantage of the quick-turnaround results in PPC by testing additional keywords to understand which produce more clicks and conversions. Integrate those that are performing well into your title tag strategy. You can also experiment with your meta descriptions depending what ad content is performing well.

3. PPC remarketing campaigns help drive conversions for ALL campaigns

Remarketing campaigns are paid ads that target customers that have visited your website, but did not convert. These campaigns can be set up to target second-time visitors to your website regardless of their original source – PPC campaign, social media, organic listing or even TV ads. These ads show up when someone is again checking out your company and will strengthen your brand identity and awareness which in turn encourages more traffic to your website.

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Facebook Relaunches Atlas: What Does It Mean?

By | October 8, 2014

Last week, Facebook announced the relaunch of its Atlas advertising platform. Facebook described it as a tool that delivers “people-based marketing.” So, what’s the big deal?

We already know that both Facebook and Google use our data to target ads – when you search for a washing machine on Google, you will notice that advertisements on appliances will follow you for a few days/weeks on sites within the Google ad network. It is important to understand the tipping point we are potentially experiencing.

What’s new?

The first part of the announcement states the fact that the platform will not be based on cookies. This will give Atlas an advantage in cross-device compatibility and the edge on mobile. (More details on how they did it further below.)

Second, we know that all online ad platforms collect data on us and our behavior. The new situation is that Facebook knows who we are and has an absurdly vast amount of data on us.

Google and other platforms know that an anonymous individual is looking for a specific product and will direct relevant ads to that user. They can also sell the information to marketers, but our personal identities are still protected.

Facebook, on the other hand, identifies you specifically and aggregates all the data in your profile. This enables the company to sell the data in the context of your personal information.

To simplify the difference, here are two examples:

  1. Someone was looking for a washing machine on Google. Google doesn’t have much to do with it except list target ads.
  2. You were looking for a washing machine. You also posted on your Facebook profile that your old one just died and that you just bought a new house. These facts—along with your personal information, shopping history and contact information—may perhaps be passed to any interested party that is willing to pay for it.

How Facebook did it: The not-so-innocent like

Facebook is achieving a “cookie-less” solution by using its current scripts that exist on almost all websites in the world. Every time a website developer adds a ‘like’ button, a ‘share this’ icon or any other Facebook widget, a script allows Facebook to identify the visitors to the site. The only condition is that they are logged on to Facebook … and this behavior can now be collected and stored by Facebook under your profile.

This access to your activity gives it an advantage over Google in supporting identity across multiple devices. Furthermore, it provides supremacy in mobile and potentially an appealing dataset for marketers: A package of personal/behavioral information.

Bottom line

Even though Facebook, Google and other major sites have been collecting information on us for years, the thought that every advertiser can buy our information is not what we signed up for. At this moment, Facebook is collecting and storing accumulative data and trends, but promises it will not be sharing our personal information with advertisers.

I wonder how this will develop: Will we see the migration of advertisers from Google’s DoubleClick to Atlas? What will Google do in response?


For more details, check out the WSJ’s “What Marketers Need to Know About Facebook’s Atlas.”

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Finding the Diamond in the Rough – Driving Qualified Traffic for Niche Markets

By | October 8, 2014

There are nearly 40,000 searches per second and 3.5 billion searches per day in Google. Just let that digest for a second. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people could be searching for you or your product each day! While this is a great statistic, it can also be a curse if you don’t have the right strategies in place to find the most qualified traffic for your brand or product.

Let’s say you have a very niche product in a very niche market. How can you reach and find these people or as I’ll refer to them as, ‘Diamonds in the Rough’, amongst the broad and frequent searches that are out there each day in Google? Here are several strategies that will help you drive more qualified traffic through paid search campaigns.


Make Your Keyword Set Focused and Specific

The first step in creating a successful campaign is targeting relevant keywords. To ensure that you are reaching the highest valued and qualified traffic possible, make sure your keyword set is precise and focused.   Put yourself in your consumers’ mind. If you were them, what would you search to find your product or service? For example, if your product is Pet Insurance, you would want to create a keyword set tailored specifically for pet insurance (i.e. ‘pet insurance’, ‘dog insurance’, ‘insurance for cat’, etc.). It may also be important to only focus on match types that are narrow such as phrase or exact.

On the contrary, you wouldn’t want to bid on ‘insurance’ or other broad keywords that would create irrelevant and unqualified traffic. One of the easiest and most efficient ways to prevent irrelevant traffic from reaching your site is to determine negative keywords to add into your account. Sticking with the Pet Insurance example, you would want to come up with a bunch of keywords that you would NOT want to appear for. Some of these could be other types of insurances that people would search for – ‘auto’, ‘home’, ‘life’, etc.


Create Relevant Ad Copy

Although it may seem obvious, many advertisers can sometimes overlook their ad copy and landing pages and display misleading messaging to the user. A successful ad copy consists of not only your brand and trademark but also the product or service that you offer along with straight forward call-to-actions. By displaying the specific product or service that you offer, you can help rid out the irrelevant traffic.   Here is an example of an ad that would not drive qualified traffic based on a search for ‘dress shoes’. Clearly, the ad’s headline shows ‘dress shoes’ but the body of the ad calls out ‘water shoes’.

ad copy fathom blog example

Conflicting messaging that is confusing to the user will look ‘spammy’ and only create a negative image for your brand. It could also create irrelevant spend as the user clicks on it expecting to find dress shoes when your company only sells water shoes.


Drive Traffic to a Detailed Landing Page

Once the user clicks on your ad, you’ve already gathered their interest in your brand or offering. From here, detailed content about your product or service can be the next step in driving quality leads.  Outline exactly what your product or service is along with any restrictions that may prevent someone from converting. This way, there are no surprises to your potential consumer.


Use Retargeting to Your Advantage

Retargeting is a great way to reach qualified traffic that have already been to your site. There are several possibilities of why they may have left your site without converting, but the good news is that they showed interest initially and chances are, they may convert later with some more time and help from retargeting. When using retargeting as part of your strategy, make sure you use messaging that is relevant to the user. For example, if the decision buying process involves emotions, use messaging around ‘We’re Here to Help’. On the other hand, if the decision buying process is short and straight forward, serve the user with an incentive to come back (i.e. coupons or other promotions).


Use your niche market or product to your advantage. By keeping the user experience in mind along with the few steps above, you can drive successful and efficient digital traffic and dig deep to find those consumers that are ‘diamonds in the rough’.



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[New Guide] Avoiding Lumps of Coal: Marketing Strategy for Profitable Retail Holidays

By | September 30, 2014

Holiday Shopping Guide 2014Much like 2013, planning in 2014 is more critical than usual because the holiday shopping season is shorter. With Thanksgiving falling at the end of November, this season has relatively few shopping days, making each single one more valuable. By knowing and preparing ahead of time, retailer marketers can set realistic expectations with their bosses and budget accordingly.

Start by downloading our free 20-pg. guide for tips on how to survive the season, including an in-depth look at 5 winning approaches in Santa’s holiday marketing bag. You will learn about:

  • Using SEO to sell more.
  • Incorporating mobile, automating PPC ads, boosting Google Shopping.
  • Adding important dates/tasks to your email and conversion testing calendars.
  • Enhancing email subscriptions, loyalty and sales with holiday-specific approaches.
  • Increasing overall conversions with testing and clean data.

Holiday marketing need not be madness. Marketers who plan all the way to the end are sure to enjoy the power of strategic foresight and emerge victorious by the new year.

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