Digital Marketing in the Healthcare Industry: Google Partners Connect Presentation

In October, Proceed Innovative hosted a Google Partners Connect presentation on how to market your healthcare business online and make the most of your advertising budget. Proceed Innovative, a proud Google Partner, is currently working with various businesses in the healthcare industry, implementing targeted strategies that are aimed to reach their audience at the right time. In this article, you will learn new healthcare marketing strategies that are highly recommended from Google, proven not only to maximize conversions but retain customers. The video below also demonstrates these principles, followed by a detailed Question and Answer session at the end.

If you would like additional assistance in healthcare advertising, our internet marketing managers have years of experience to help you achieve your goals. Proceed Innovative not only remains updated on the latest trends in the digital marketing industry, but we have access to a number of different marketing tools and information that allow us to accurately measure and analyze data. This way, we can measure success while continuing to develop the best strategies to help healthcare businesses expand their online presence and convert their potential customers.

Consumer Behavior is Changing

The Partners Connect presentation began by stressing that digital is driving significant changes in consumer behavior across all industries and on all devices. But the use of mobile devices is growing stagnantly, always within short reach, and allowing us to access mountains of information at any time.

As a result of this advantage, consumer behavior has changed in that they are:

  • Developing higher expectations. Consumers expect to find something new; they always want to know the latest and greatest trends.
  • Always informed and aware of their options. They are easily able to make a decision in a short amount of time.
  • Always in control. They will engage with the business when it is most convenient for them.

Industries are Always Changing

In order to survive, businesses from all industries need to modify their business model to adapt to the changes in consumer behavior. Currently, all industries must adapt to changes in digital, such as creating convenient and quick ways to purchase products and services online. For example, a grocery store may want to consider putting their products online to allow consumers to schedule an online delivery at 3:00 AM.

A prime example used in the presentation was that the presenter’s mother had always told him never to enter the car with a stranger. But due to disruptions in the travel industry from digital, consumers are taking advantage of transportation services like Uber and Lyft, actually calling for strangers to pick them up. This has also disrupted taxi and car rental services because they are now faced with a new competition that has never existed before.

Technologies Disrupting the Healthcare Industry

The healthcare industry is no exception to these disruptions. For example, Google is about to raise the bar with the introduction of their new contact lenses. This new product will allow diabetic consumers to measure their glucose levels so they won’t have to keep pricking their fingers.

While these consumers will be more than willing to purchase this new technology, the healthcare companies that are currently selling the “finger-prickers” and glucose-measuring devices will need to innovate to stay competitive.

Technologies Disrupting the Healthcare Industry

The Role of Digital in the Healthcare Industry

After conducting various studies and surveys, Google has concluded that consumers consult 12.4 resources prior to a hospital visit. When consumers are battling a specific disease or condition, they want to know everything about it: whether it is contagious, how it started, the side-effects, experiences of others who have had the same condition, etc.

When doing this research, they will consult YouTube videos, read patient reviews of specific doctors, read blog articles on healthcare websites, read reviews, side-effects, and uses of particular medicines. They want to know everything! When consuming this information, they will choose the business that has established their online presence, has positive reviews, and provides a great customer experience, both online and offline.

Reaching the Right Customers at the Right Time

After reviewing and analyzing consumer data, Google has seen that mobile has changed their behavior, decreasing their attention spans, taking non-linear paths to convert (make purchases), and finally converting when it is convenient for them.

This has also decreased brand loyalty while increasing loyalty to their needs and how to satisfy them when they arise. Overall, consumers are caring more about satisfying our needs “in the moment” than staying loyal to a particular brand. But keep in mind that not all moments are created equal; depending on the need, some moments will be more important than others.

Search and Video are Vital to the Patient Journey

While there is no doubt that consumers will always rely on search to satisfy their needs, healthcare videos represent one of the largest, fastest growing content segments on YouTube today. Video will play a key role in the digital strategy today.

The presenter continues with how their mission is designed to help consumers in the healthcare industry find “key, top-quality health info in a fluid and intuitive fashion.” In other words, Google wants to ensure that they find the exact content the user is searching for. But there is a challenge, due to the following statistic:

  • 15% of all searches on Google are unique and have never been seen before

But Google has stated that they are ready to take on the challenge by continuing to update algorithms in order to provide the exact content that is searched, despite these unique search terms.

Be Careful When Searching Medical Symptoms on Google

But Google has also found that a number of users have been using their symptoms as search phrases in hopes of diagnosing their health-related issue online. The presenter had then admitted that he himself had also done this, stressing about the potential sicknesses he was suffering. After doing his research, he thought he had pneumonia and went to his doctor for treatment. After speaking with the medical professional and running tests, it turned out that he was only suffering from allergies.

But the moral of the story was that users should not use the internet to self-diagnose their condition. In fact, Google stated that only 34% of the time do we find the correct diagnosis the first time of searching. When consumers try to match our symptoms with the results shown on Google, it is often that their real condition is much more benign than those listed online.

The Importance of Health to Consumers

According to a recent poll that was conducted in 2015, Americans have said that health is one of their top five concerns in their lives. Other concerns have included the government, the economy, unemployment, and even immigration. But Google wanted to stress that health is always important, people are always thinking about it, and they are spending an increasing amount of time researching and considering their options. Here are some key facts to keep in mind from recent surveys and studies in 2016:

  • Health consumers want things now.
  • Health consumers want to feel empowered.
  • Health consumers want an easy and seamless

Health Consumers Want Information Immediately

Another recent study found by Google was that about 1 in 20 searches on Google are related to healthcare. But this statistic does not include the rest of the world’s population that does not have access to the internet. Although they may not use the search engine giant, they are still found by other healthcare marketing channels, such as face-to-face, TV, newspaper, magazines, direct sales, etc.

Google had also stated that 1 in 2 use search to find health information because it is quick and 77% of health inquiries begin on a search engine. Others will leverage a health directory (WebMD), a general website (Wikipedia), and social media.

Opportunities for Marketers from Health Inquiries in Search

According to the chart shown below, healthcare patients will typically start searching with non-branded search terms (queries that don’t use company names). They are researching their symptoms, matching them with conditions, and trying to figure out what they are suffering from.

But when they have gathered their information and are ready to make a purchase, they will have chosen the company that had provided that information to them and use brand-related terms to find them again.

Health Inquiries in Search

But during the time that customers are doing their research, it is your opportunity to be present online and engage with them in order to deliver a great user experience. When they feel that you have satisfied their need to know at the right moment, they will choose you to make their purchase.

Health Searches on Mobile

After discussing the consumer journey and how they will choose the company that satisfies their need at the right moment, it is important to know what they are using to find your company. According to the chart shown below, the use of mobile devices has grown rapidly throughout the years and has finally overcome the use of desktop. It is now the main device used for health searches and is expected to continue growing.

What this means for you as a marketer is the amount of opportunities to be present in what Google call “micro-moments.” It is at these times that your potential customers are looking to engage and eventually make a purchase from your company.

Health Searches

A New Mobile World

In today’s world, Google has claimed that your intent is much more important than your identity. For example, what you do and how you present yourself, will provide more value to your customers than the name of your company.

But intent is also aligned with immediacy within the consumer behavior, and that immediacy trumps loyalty. Overall, it is crucial to continue providing value while satisfying your customer’s needs in the exact moment they occur.

Here are some statistics presented by Google that reflect their conclusions mentioned previously

  • 88% of patients use search to find a treatment center…
    • 60% of patients used a mobile device
    • 41% went to a website
    • 86% say that mobile was crucial to make a purchase decision
    • 30% used a ratings and reviews website

The Power of “Near Me”

Now that the importance of having an established presence on mobile devices has been discussed, Google then showed the statistics regarding the search term “near me” as it relates to food and health. The term’s frequency in search results has doubled in just one year.

A New Mobile World

These statistics are also true for companies of other industries, including entertainment, restaurants, retail, etc. They want to know their options now, feeling empowered, so they can easily make a decision in the moment their need arises.

But especially for hospitals, when consumers are searching for you, many will need immediate care due to an emergency situation. They are relying on you to be there for them as soon as they make their search.

Consumers Want to Feel Empowered

No matter what they are searching for, consumers want to feel empowered with their own information, even if they are planning to consult with a professional. But when they do see one, 60% of patients like to compare and validate information from doctors with their own online research.

But this new trend has never happened in the past. Patients always followed doctor’s orders because that was the only source of information that had existed at the time. But nowadays, patients are looking for information from the internet to supplement or even replace the information provided to them by their doctors. Healthcare professionals are now faced with a new challenge in which they must prove that their information is correct.

Internet is a Patient/Caregiver’s #1 Confidant

According to the bar graph shown below, recent trends have been showing that an increasing number of patients are relying on the internet as their main resource for finding the information they need. In fact, patients trust online resources more than their own friends and family, and even their doctors.

Internet is a Patient / Caregiver #1 Confidant

Health Consumers Want an Easy Experience

When healthcare consumers are researching their information, they want the easiest and most friction-less experience. 77% of consumers switch if a mobile site or app doesn’t make it easy to find they are looking for. But this doesn’t only apply in the digital world, rather, the face-to-face interactions as well, such as the treatments, office visits, surgeries.

But what Google stresses is to make sure that your mobile site or app provides an easy experience for your users, such as quick load times, easily navigable, and only a few steps are needed to make a conversion.

Provide Relevant Content in the Moments that Matter

When Google discussed providing an easy and frictionless experience, they had provided a leading example of one of the top hospitals in the United States. In addition to appearing right away, they allowed the consumer to find what they were searching for soon after clicking the ad. They had also used location extensions to allow the customer to find out exactly how to get there and how long it would take. Finally, their click-to-call extension provides the ability to get in contact with someone right away. Overall, the hospital had provided an easy and seamless experience for the patient, allowing them to act in the moment.

Provide Relevant Content in the Moments that Matter

Strategies and Recommendations to Maximize Efficiency in Your Advertising Campaign

The Google presentation had continued with presenter Ben Tyson on how you can leverage proven strategies to get the most out of your advertising budget. He began his presentation by claiming that online video is a fast-growing gateway for health information. Online viewership has also increased by 100% over the last few years, rising from 4 hours and 10 minutes in 2012 to 5 hours and 45 minutes in 2016. But according to the graph shown below, the view time of online videos had superseded the amount of time watching regular TV.

Online viewership increased by 100% over the last few years

Finally, it was predicted that 70-80% of online engagement will be through video. So this will be the catalyst as we continue into the new year as well as 2019.

All of the following are statistics conducted by Google about the healthcare industry as it relates to YouTube:

  • 3,000,000,000 health searches are conducted on YouTube each month.
  • 56% of patients search for health-related concerns on YouTube
  • 2 billion health-related videos are on YouTube
  • 5+ videos are watched when researching hospitals or treatment centers

Google had also conducted a study of why they watched these videos in particular and the majority of them had replied that the video was comprehensive and relatable.

What Type of Videos Potential Healthcare Consumers are Watching

Now that the importance of leveraging healthcare videos on your website is crucial, Google then dived into to the specifics as to what kind of healthcare videos they are watching. The bar graph shown below reflects their findings.

types of healthcare videos usually watched on YouTube

In addition to the types of healthcare videos usually watched on YouTube, many patients also want to hear about the experience from a patient who was in a relatable situation. But it is through these videos that healthcare consumers feel empowered to make the best decision when choosing a doctor that will best suit their needs.

From this summary, Google highly recommends to create videos with all of the following:

  • Live testimonials from recent patients
  • Show the use of innovative technology
  • Demonstrate that you are readily available for your customers when they need you most

How to Engage Healthcare Customers Through Video:

  • Audit your existing video assets. Most healthcare companies do have videos with testimonials from patients whom they have worked with before. Strategize how to make the videos stand out on YouTube to convert future healthcare consumers.
  • Develop targeting plan. Measure the level of intent from your potential customers and develop a plan based on what it is and the signals given by your consumers.
  • Understand top user searches. Work with your Google Partner to find out which keyword phrases are constantly being used today.
  • Scope YT inventory. Google admitted that it is not actually easy to navigate through the giant video search engine but encourages you to ask your Google Partner to walk you through the inventory and how you can create videos that will engage potential patients.
  • Project investment impact. Understand what the investment will look like and the type of return it will have for your facility.

Target the Right Users in the Right Context

The presenter continued with how to target potential customers at the right moment and context in order to maximize conversion. According to the image shown below, all featured factors will play a vital role into how you will create, schedule, and measure results on your advertising campaign so you can get the most out of your budget.

Target the Right Users in the Right Context

Video Marketing Tool from Google – YouTube Director App

Even if you do not currently have any videos for your business, you can download and use the app called “YouTube Director.” It is an app created by Google that teaches you how to quickly make high-quality videos for your business, providing ready-to-go templates for your industry, even if you don’t have any experience.

In addition, there are different templates for each type of business that will allow you to create videos for different marketing objectives, such as TrueView or :06 Bumper Ads. Google also offers video marketing services available in 7 major cities, including New York, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Los Angeles. You can choose to hire professional videographers that will work with you to help you achieve your video marketing objectives.

Google then concluded that the combination of video with search ads provide a 53% lift in landing page results, expressions of interest, and key performance indicators. This is ultimately why they had chosen to discuss video marketing and how its influence on search ads have driven success within numerous advertising campaigns.

Summary of Google Partners Presentation on Healthcare

At the end of the presentation, Google had provided some key takeaways for healthcare businesses to focus on when developing and implementing their strategies.

  • Be present in each moment when consumers are making decisions about their health
    • Grow your share of consumer intent through search to shape brand preference and purchase decisions
    • Understand the most-often asked questions about your category and brand, and build useful content that addresses them.
    • Make it easy for consumers to find you.
  • Build awareness and understanding of your brand through digital video
    • Increment the reach of your brand awareness through the scale of YouTube.
    • Think beyond just entertaining video.
    • Leverage the existing trusted reputation of YouTube health personalities.
  • Think mobile-first
    • A mobile friendly website is no longer an option – it’s a necessity
    • Develop creative assets specifically for mobile to drive higher performance and return on ad spend.
    • Use location and device clues to provide users with relevant and timely messages that drive them to your healthcare facility.

Overcoming Difficulties with Keeping Up with Trends

Google has acknowledged that times and technologies are changing quickly, and that it is difficult to “stay on top” of everything. So they had provided some questions you can ask yourself to measure where you fall in this ever-changing market and where to get started on staying on track:

  • How do you ensure you are there when people are looking for you?
  • How can you provide immediate information with digital?
  • How can you use search to drive your business?
  • What is your mobile experience?

Get the Help from Your Google Partner

If you have any other questions or feel that you are stuck behind all this competition in today’s digital world, you can always rely on your trusted Google Partner, Proceed Innovative. Each of our digital marketing professionals is constantly staying updated not only on the latest trends but making sure that each of our clients can be found online. We also have the time to analyze and modify these campaigns on a daily basis, leveraging our own resources to accurately implement proven strategies while measuring results.

If at any time we can help you with establishing an online presence for your healthcare facility, please don’t hesitate to fill out a contact form or call us at (800)933-2402. We look forward to working with you!

Interested in marketing to healthcare professionals? Contact our partner Medical Marketing Services (MMS)!


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