The 4 Key Takeaways from Google Ignite Healthcare 2016

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Google hosted a one-day event for healthcare marketers to help discuss the current health-related trends. This year, the event took place in New York City at the Google Headquarters. The view from Google’s office is absolutely amazing!

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I can summarize what I learned in one statement (which I’ll support with statistics and examples from the Google Conference below); healthcare consumers’ behaviors and expectations from healthcare providers have changed and, therefore, your healthcare offerings and marketing efforts must also adapt to fulfill their needs.

Healthcare User Behavior #1

The health of ourselves and our loved ones are always on our mind.

  • Health is now a top 5 concern among Americans
  • 80% of Americans are looking to actively participate in a healthier lifestyle
  • Health consumers want things now, they want to feel empowered, and they want an easy experience similar to retail
  • 1 out of 20 searches on Google are health related and there are over 100 billion searches a month on Google…you do the math!

Key Action Item: Make sure you have coverage in your geographic areas to capture this crazy demand around health-related searches relevant to your organization.

Healthcare User Behavior #2

Health-related search is happening more on mobile than on desktop and has been since the end of 2015. Mobile search provides users the ability to start their journey of getting the information they need to take action.

  • More than 50% of health-related searches are on mobile devices and many of those searches on mobile devices include the phrase “near me”

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  • 60% of searchers use mobile search when choosing a hospital/treatment center and 86% say mobile was influential in making their decision

Key action item: Make sure you have a mobile responsive website and are bidding aggressively on paid search with mobile-friendly ad extensions such as location extensions and call extensions.

Health Consumer Behavior #3

Users searching health-related information want to feel empowered and validated. Most of the patient journey begins with searching signs, symptoms, and conditions on a search engine. Why? It’s very easy to do, there’s so much information online, and, as previously stated, health is a top 5 concern among Americans.

  • Google created the healthcare knowledge graph around conditions, treatments, and signs and symptoms to help support this need
  • 60% of patients like to compare and validate information from doctors with their own research

Key action item: Becoming visible among all health-related searches, including signs and symptoms if your budget allows, is essential. As a healthcare provider, there is a lot of value in being visible throughout the entire patient journey. However, different user search queries imply different intent and, therefore, require a unique customer experience, filling a different need than those seeking treatment-related searches. Be sure to tailor your strategy to these varying user search queries.

Health Consumer Behavior #4

More healthcare consumers are turning to videos on health-related information before making a decision on care and treatment. Consumers want videos to be comprehensive and relatable.

      • There are 8.2 Billion health-related videos on YouTube and that number is growing (38% YoY)
      • Viewers typically watch 5+ videos when researching a hospital/treatment center
      • 50% of patients would like to hear another patient’s story on video when they feel like no one else understands

Key action item: Invest in creating and advertising health-related videos that are extremely relatable to your prospective patients.

Conclusion

In conclusion, your healthcare offerings and marketing efforts need to align with the demands of your consumers. Healthcare consumers want instant gratification, to feel empowered, and an easy experience similar to retail and other industries. Is your digital strategy currently satisfying the needs of your prospective patients?

Are your website and landing pages mobile responsive and providing the information users are looking for, such as ER and urgent care wait times, locations of your facilities closest to them etc.? Do your offerings line up with the healthcare consumer shifts towards instant gratification, such as telehealth? If not, there’s no better time than now to start planning on how to accommodate the needs of your target audience!

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Interested in the future of healthcare marketing? Read our blog Creating a Cohesive Healthcare Strategy With SEO, Social, and Paid Search to learn how to bring all of your marketing channels together for integrated healthcare marketing success.

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.

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