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 advertising 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).
- 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.
- 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%.
- 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.
- 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%.
- 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.
- 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.
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 and more results for your hospital advertising.
You be the judge; which ad do you expect to get more clicks?
Check out the marketer’s guide to hospital acquisition to take the headache out of rebranding: