Why Medical Marketers Need to Understand the Differences Between Google and Facebook Advertising

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Build successful digital marketing strategies on Google and Facebook by understanding their unique advantages and disadvantages. 

The internet has profoundly changed the way that people seek out medical information, manage their health, and make decisions about treatment. Medical organizations hoping to attract new patients must meet users on platforms where they spend the majority of their time. These days, that means running digital ad campaigns on Google and Facebook.

On the surface, Facebook and Google may seem similar, but consumers actually use them in different ways and for different purposes. Generating a solid ROI requires a solid understanding of each platform, both in terms of their unique roles in the patient path to treatment and how to leverage their targeting capabilities in order to reach the right patients at exactly the right moment.

Facebook Advertising

When it comes to Facebook ads, medical marketers should take advantage of the platform’s immense size and rich data set to reach broad, but targeted audiences. With 2.01 billion monthly active users spread across the globe, the platform comfortably boasts the largest captive audience of any online community or service.

That said, Facebook advertising can be a tricky thing to do well. Search engine advertising is centered around keyword targeting — i.e., users type in queries related to whatever it is they’re searching for, making it relatively easy for marketers to identify relevant prospects. Facebook requires a different approach entirely. Because users aren’t actively searching for information like they would on a search engine, targeting is based on user demographics and demonstrated interests. By first determining the characteristics of their ideal audience(s) then crafting their campaigns accordingly, medical organizations can push highly relevant content into the feeds of prospective patients. Remember that Facebook users are inundated with huge volumes of content on a daily basis, so personalization is key.

Google Advertising

According to Search Engine Watch, Google now processes more than 40,000 searches per second — that’s over 3.5 billion searches every single day! As SEW points out, when you consider that every single one of those searches is “a user looking for something to meet a specific need,” it becomes clear why keyword targeting and bidding are such important tools in the medical marketer’s toolbelt.

However, the advantages of Google’s keyword targeting are something of a double-edged sword — while the platform allows medical organizations to reach patients actively searching for solutions they offer, the level of competition for their attention is incredibly high. As such, medical marketers need to think outside the box in order to keep costs down and conversions high. Moreover, they need to understand how different types of search queries indicate intent. This understanding allows them to serve the right materials/message to the right patient at exactly the right moment in order to increase their conversion rate and ROI.

At the end of the day, both of these platforms represent a massive opportunity for medical brands to reach new prospective patients at minimal cost. However, success is never guaranteed. Building, implementing, and maintaining a solid ad campaign requires a great deal of research, care, and attention in both the short and long term. That said, when executed correctly, the potential returns are well-worth the extra effort.

Medical Marketing Guide: Google Advertising