Get lean and mean may sound like personal trainer advice, but it’s also sound advice for healthcare marketers who are under pressure to reduce patient acquisition costs while increasing patient volume.
However, increasing acquisitions while decreasing the cost per acquisition (CPA) is a difficult balancing act to achieve. While digital advertising can be a low-cost method of attracting new patients, it must be done correctly. If your media efforts aren’t properly designed or follow best practices, your costs can quickly escalate.
To help you avoid that situation, here’s a three-pronged strategy for lowering advertising costs, improving conversion performance, and increasing return on investment (ROI). It’s the same strategy we recommend for our own healthcare client portfolio.
1- Campaign Consolidation
There was a time when every advertising expert on the planet recommended hyper-segmentation marketing campaigns. Since then, things have changed, and hypersegmentation is no longer the best strategy. Hypersegmented account structures restrict algorithmic learning and prioritize technical account administration, leaving less room for advancements in messaging, quality, tracking, and post-click experience.
At this time, campaign segmentation should only be used to control budgets or other business goals; it isn’t particularly effective at improving performance.
Consolidating your marketing campaigns is the first step in gathering and organizing the data required to take advantage of algorithmic ad purchases such as smart bidding. While each company’s needs are different, we typically recommend only two campaigns per location: brand and nonbrand. Then we drill down to the ad group level in terms of service granularity. Google’s algorithm has been tweaked to ensure that exact campaigns always win at auction. As a result, match-type segmentation is no longer required.
Using machine learning, campaign-level consolidations can help drive more leads at a lower CPA. According to a Think With Google study, when marketers unified their ads, their reach efficiency increased by 11%.
2- Campaign Bidding Methodology
As previously stated, consolidating your ad accounts allows you to take advantage of Google’s smart bidding. Smart bidding is a portfolio bidding technique that groups together several campaigns, ad groups, and keywords to achieve performance goals. During an auction, smart bidding uses predictive machine learning to automatically establish bids.
Intelligent bidding algorithms require rich data and campaign consolidation funding to make more efficient ad buy selections. They also require a well-structured campaign approach, such as a consolidated portfolio that does not constrain the algorithm’s data. Google’s algorithms will then discover the most conversions or the highest possible conversion value within the budget constraints.
Ad platforms like Google Ads or Facebook for Business continue to improve their ad bidding options with these smart bidding technologies—technology that, in many ways, bids more correctly and efficiently than humans can.
Smart bidding can benefit larger healthcare businesses with established Google Ads, and a high monthly ad spend. Smart bidding is only successful with large budgets because it requires data from many ads spends. It also won’t work if the corporate budget is massive but limited at each location. Smart bidding is most effective when an organization is attempting to achieve a common goal, such as a specified CPA across all locations, or when an organization is attempting to increase total patient volumes.
What Kinds of Smart Bidding Should You Be On the Lookout For?
For healthcare search marketing programs that are eligible for smart bidding, search marketers will have four options:
- Total Cost Per Acquisition (TCPA): Is there a maximum amount you’ll spend on a conversion? You can configure granular TCPA based on the lead quality generated (by location, for example, or device).
- TROAS (Target Return on Advertising Spend): Among large medical organizations, revenue for various products and services can vary somewhat. In this situation, the ability to regulate TROAS comes in handy.
- Increase Conversions: It is common for healthcare marketers to maximize conversions to generate many web leads (appointments) for a high-profit business (plastic surgery comes to mind). You can increase conversions while staying under a budget by using smart bidding.
- Increased cost per click (CPC): Increasing the cost per click (CPC) is an excellent way to drive more qualified traffic to your website. This is critical if you know that a certain percentage of clicks from a specific demographic will result in a high-value conversion.
- The Benefits of Smart Bidding
This marketing strategy enables existing site learnings to be quickly transferred to new markets or de Novos for companies with aggressive acquisition plans. It reduces setup time. This strategy applies to search, display, and social media channels.
We’ve seen that smart bidding can result in the following benefits, particularly for larger healthcare accounts:
- Lower the cost of displaying and serving display and search ads.
- Attain efficiency and volume goals.
- Appointment revenue should be optimized in ads (instead of just clicks or appointment requests)
- Pull out specific areas for incremental budgeting as needed.
- If you have practices that consistently underperform in certain channels, revise your strategy.
- When properly configured, you can reduce or eliminate the loss of relevance or data granularity.
Smart bidding isn’t something you do once and then quit. It can, however, be used to automate some of the time-consuming and resource-intensive aspects of bid management. These resources can then be used to make seasonal adjustments or to revise advertising creativity.
3- Responsive Search Ads (RSAs)
Smart bidding is not the only way to improve the efficiency of ad campaigns by utilizing advanced technologies. You can also create responsive search advertising (RSAs). In essence, you and your ad team can enter up to 15 headlines and four descriptions, and Google algorithms will dynamically blend them into various combinations.
The great aspect of this strategy is that it uses a Google or Facebook algorithm to help you choose the best headline and description to match a searcher’s query. Given the pervasiveness of these algorithms, that’s quite remarkable. Some marketers have discovered that combining RSAs with automated bid tactics can significantly improve results.
Read about the 9 frequently Asked Questions In Digital Healthcare Marketing
The good news is that Google Ads already has RSAs enabled by default (or Call Ads). On Facebook, these RSAs are known as Multiple Text Options, although they are essentially the same thing. In either case, RSAs will provide a few critical benefits:
- Simplify the process of ad copy testing.
- Save time while ensuring the highest conversion rates possible (thanks to machine learning)
- Automatically adapt based on the device type
- Increase ad competition at the auction.
- The differentiated message should be tested, especially in ad headlines.
Why Does Our Three-Pronged Marketing strategy Approach Work?
It’s difficult to argue against reducing manual labor, especially in ad bidding. This method will also aid in lowering ad serving costs and increasing campaign ROI.
For starters, you’ll be able to test massive amounts of messaging themes and ad text in real-time which is. a much more cost-effective plus statistically significant way of testing than offline methods). You can use what you’ve learned to improve other elements of your marketing strategy as well.
Read about the Top 5 Bright Emotional Healthcare marketing campaigns
When it comes to campaign consolidation, remember that you should only do so when absolutely necessary. Specific locations, such as those that require extraction and additional resources, can still be addressed. To make up for a lost time, you must speed up practices.
Finally, campaign consolidation, smart bidding, and RSAs free up everyone’s time to do what they do best. Marketers can more easily create new messaging concepts, improve user experience (UX), and set up algorithms for success. Machine learning can handle bidding, segmentation, and audience expansions. It can also experiment with various massage combinations. To put it another way, the three-pronged approach outlined above produces better results at a lower cost.
For healthcare marketers, this is a win-win situation.