Digital marketing benchmarks for 2018 are available in industries ranging from finance and insurance to travel and hospitality. How does the healthcare field stack up — and is there room for improvement?
It goes without saying, but digital marketing campaigns will differ from one industry to the next. While professionals in business-to-business industrial manufacturing may, for example, craft campaigns targeting corporate decision makers, medical marketers design outreach that’s meant to deliver potential patients with the information they need at critical junctures throughout their healthcare journeys.
Regardless, it helps to understand how certain industries stack up against one another — and whether or not they have anything to learn from each other’s example. Recently, WordStream released its 2018 Google AdWords benchmarks on an industry-by-industry basis. While healthcare compares favorably to several other industries, it’s certainly not leading the pack.
With effective digital marketing strategies, however, it is possible for healthcare professionals to improve their standings by designing more sophisticated campaigns that leverage emerging technologies to reach patients strategically and cost effectively.
How Healthcare Stacks Up
In compiling data points across industries, WordStream identified four key metrics that provide the greatest insights into how marketers are using their ad spend, and to what effect:
- Click-through rate (CTR): the percentage of users who click on an ad that’s served to them.
- Cost-per-click (CPC): the rate that advertisers pay for these click-throughs.
- Conversion rate (CVR): the percentage of users who take a desired action (conversion), after clicking through to your site.
- Cost-per-action (CPA): the actual cost advertisers incur for each desired user action
By tracking each of these metrics across pay-per-click search campaigns on AdWords and the Google Display Network, WordStream was able to track how sixteen different industries performed in relation to one another.
For example, CTR for healthcare came in at 3.27% for search and 0.59% for the display network. While certain industries such as real estate outpaced the medical field on its own, healthcare did outperform the average across all industries: 3.17% for search and 0.46% for the display network for all sixteen fields.
Similarly, healthcare performed well in CPC, with $2.62 for search and $0.63 for the display network coming in under the average of $2.69 for search and matching the display network average. And while the medical field did post a search CVR of 3.36% — below the average of 3.75% — it did exceed the average display network CVR of 0.77% with 0.82%.
With that said, the healthcare industry does have considerable room for improvement when it comes to CPA. The search average across industries was $48.96, while the medical CPA came in at $78.09. Although the industry’s display network CVR was under the average, the search-based costs are striking.
How Medical Marketers Can Beat the Average
To a certain degree, some of these results are intrinsically linked to the nature of their industry. For example, the relatively high CTR for healthcare does reflect the fact that internet users are often looking for insightful medical information. For potential patients on the hunt for every resource possible with which to make important decisions, it makes sense that users click on ads in order to collect relevant data and literature.
Similarly, the healthcare industry accounts for an incredible amount of domestic spending in the United States. Because of that, CPAs are likely to exceed other industries that lack the same stakes and regulatory burdens as advanced medical treatments, technologies, and services.
Medical marketers hoping to improve their performance shouldn’t consider these structural factors as insurmountable obstacles. By designing campaigns that take advantage of recent developments in medical marketing, it’s possible to make significant headway toward meeting — and beating — the WordStream averages.
For example, medical marketers and healthcare professionals can introduce better keywords into their campaigns. By choosing the right long tail keywords — and even working with negative keywords — marketers can reduce the costs of their campaign and ensure that they’re targeting the right users.
New offerings from Google in their display network, too, offer viable options. With the ability to create custom intent audiences based on past campaign data, medical marketers can serve ads and content to specific users who are more likely to be interested in what they have to offer. In an industry known for out-of-control costs, increasingly sophisticated targeting methods can make an outsized impact.