Are You Advertising Your Urgent Care Clinics Online?

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One of the newest paid advertising trends Fathom Healthcare has noticed is the investment in advertising of urgent care centers online using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

Why Urgent Care Centers

Promoting urgent care centers has become a priority for health systems recently. But why? From a macro perspective, there’s been significant growth in urgent care centers in the past 3 to 5 years. According to a Forbes article titled “A Boom In Urgent Care Centers As Entitlement Cuts Loom”, more than 8,000 urgent and immediate care centers were open in 2013 in the U.S., and most of these are run by nonprofit health systems. In addition to health systems, private equity and investor-owned companies have also entered the mix coupled with retail health clinics, such as CVS Minute Clinic, which offers similar services. The need for immediate and affordable care is evident and many different types of healthcare organizations are making it a priority.

From a digital marketing perspective, urgent care centers are a great fit with paid search advertising. Most health systems traditionally promote their service lines through paid search, such as bariatric services, orthopedics, neurosciences, oncology and women’s health. Many of the conditions/treatments examined around these service lines have a long “research” cycle before even considering scheduling an appointment. However, users searching for “urgent care” clinics are much more impulsive and are closer to “immediate need”.

Secondly, urgent care centers are able to get new patients in the door within 30 minutes to an hour after clicking your ad. Therefore, health systems can immediately see the impact (and revenue) from their advertising efforts, where traditional healthcare advertising can take weeks or even months to get the patient in for an appointment.

Lastly, Google AdWords and Bing ads have made it extremely easy for advertisements to connect with new patients via their click-to-call feature on mobile devices. Since most urgent care-related injuries and treatments are impulsive, users are more likely to hop on their smartphone, search for help, and effortlessly connect with an urgent care center or find the location nearest them. In fact, according to Google in 2014 Q4, over 60% of urgent care related searches were from mobile devices!

Urgent Care Google AdWords Benchmarks

According to Google AdWords data, in 2014 Q4, search queries related to urgent care grew 26% year over year; desktop queries grew 5% and tablets grew 14%. The majority of growth came from mobile devices, with 53% growth! Average cost per click (CPC) across all devices was relatively consistent, averaging out to $2.40. Average click-through rate (CTR) was significantly higher for mobile (3.11%) and tablets (2.96%); where desktop CTR was 1.95%.

Urgent Care Search Queries by Device

Urgent Care Paid Search Best Practices

So, if you are going to test out promoting your urgent care centers, what are some things to consider to increase your chances of success?

  • Mobile / Responsive Website: with over 50% of users searching urgent care related keywords from mobile devices, it’s imperative to have a website that renders properly on mobile devices.
  • Click to Call Campaigns: make sure your campaigns are opted into targeting mobile devices and using call extensions so users can easily click the phone icon on their phone, and be routed to one of your urgent care centers.

Urgent Care Mobile Ad

  • Mobile Bid Modifiers: In addition to targeting mobile devices, you should consider bidding higher for mobile devices using bid modifiers. Why? Because there are fewer ads that show up on mobile devices, so you’ll want to bid higher for those top two spots above the organic listings.

Urgent Care Performance by Device

  • Ad Extensions: With this space being overly competitive, it’s important to implement relevant ad extensions including location extensions, call extensions (as mentioned above), sitelinks, call out extensions and review extensions. All of these extensions will help your ad stand out from your competition and help improve your ad rank.

Urgent Care Ad Extensions

  • Call Tracking: Consider using call tracking to track the number of calls from users who visit your website. This will give you a better understanding of your return on investment (ROI). One of the biggest challenges is understanding the direct impact from your advertising investment in terms of new patients generated, and call tracking can help with this.

Final Thoughts

If you decide to test the promotion of your urgent care center(s), I would recommend implementing the best practices above to improve your chances of success. Remember, having a sound mobile strategy is even more important with urgent care than most other healthcare advertising campaigns.

About Joe Castro

Joe Castro is the Director of Online Advertising at Fathom. He has over 7 years of experience in digital marketing with a concentration in PPC/paid search and display advertising. He primarily works with healthcare clients, but his experience spans across all verticals. Joe is a frequent blogger for Search Engine Journal. In his free time, he enjoys working out and spending time with family and friends.

One Comment

  • MD premier says:

    Hi Joe,

    Thank you for sharing this article about the details of urgent care clinics. This is really helpful in understanding the standings of urgent care clinic business.

    -Nile

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