3 Common PPC Mistakes Medical Marketers Make – and How to Avoid Them


Ad campaigns with broad keywords, generic copy, and incongruous landing pages are doomed to fail. Keep things focused and on-message to ensure success.

For most medical marketers, the goal of a PPC campaign is to reach the greatest number of potential patients for the lowest cost-per-click (CPC). The goal may seem straightforward, but in a constantly-changing PPC landscape, it’s easy to take a wrong turn. The results of these mistakes can cost valuable time, money, and even potential patients.

Here are three of the most prevalent PPC mistakes that medical marketers make and how to keep them from robbing your campaigns:

1. Your search terms are too high-level.

The most common mistake that medical marketers make is starting out too broadly. For example, an orthopedic surgery practice may be tempted to target “orthopedic surgeon” and rely on geo-targeting to do the rest of the work. But that practice will be competing with more than 98 million other search results for that term, guaranteeing that they’ll be lost in the shuffle.

The smarter strategy is to pick highly targeted “long tail” keywords that are more likely to generate conversions. For this orthopedic surgeon, more fruitful keywords may center around specific locations (“orthopedic surgeon in New Haven”), procedures (“knee arthroscopy near me”), or specialties (“orthopedic surgery for young athletes”). The users searching for these terms are further down in the funnel, actively seeking treatment, and are more likely to turn into patients.

Likewise, make sure you’re excluding terms – called “negative keywords” – that you know won’t turn users into patients. Most medical practices won’t want to pay for keywords containing the word “free”, for instance, since that query doesn’t signal intent to schedule a consultation.

2. You’re not making the most of your ad copy.

The golden rule of ad copy is ‘be relevant, be keyword-rich, and be aware of context.” If your medical practice uses the same ad copy for every set of keywords, you’re missing an opportunity to respond to a potential patient’s needs. A user searching for “arthroscopic hip replacement” has different intent and expectations than a user asking “do I have carpal tunnel?”.

Medical marketers should use customizable ad copy to their advantage by responding to those different intents and expectations. Copy for the hip replacement query might focus on the quality and success of the services offered, while copy for the carpal tunnel query will invite the user to learn more. Make sure to include important keywords in the ad copy as well.

3. Your ads don’t send users through to relevant landing pages.

The above lesson about context also applies to the landing page connected to your ad. It’s tempting to send all your clicks through to your practice’s homepage, but that strategy is more likely to leave users confused than curious. Relevant landing pages that respond to the intent of a query will shrink your bounce rate and keep users engaged once they’ve arrived on your website.

For each group of keywords, ask yourself what a user who clicks will expect on the other side. Should the landing page be about a condition? A specific procedure? Should it encourage the user to schedule an appointment? When the content of the landing page is aligned with the ad, it solidifies the message in the reader’s mind and makes them more likely to turn into a patient.

You don’t have to navigate PPC alone – an experienced partner can help you avoid these common pitfalls, reach the right audiences, and get great results.

Medical Marketing Guide: Google Advertising