Do Your Online Ads Even Work?
The amount of data that can be pulled and analyzed nowadays is absolutely staggering. Perhaps as a symptom of this condition, it can be difficult for podiatry practices to accurately tell how well their online ads are performing.
Here’s the thing about that:
No matter if you’re a private practice just getting started or a multi-doctor, multi-office practice, it’s essential that you have the most accurate picture possible when it comes to your digital marketing.
Included in that sentiment are the online ad campaigns you use to raise awareness of your practice and reach new patient leads.
As you’ll see shortly, being able to properly track and analyze relevant data is a key part of maximizing your ROI from online ads.
Start with establishing your baselines.
Whenever you are tracking metrics to determine performance—whether we’re talking about podiatry marketing or any other area—the best starting point is determining where you currently stand.
Going back to our earlier point about the mind-blowing amount of data out there, how do you know which metrics to use?
Great question. Fortunately, you’re currently reading a blog post written by an agency that has been in the digital marketing game for some time now. When we’re looking at how well any part of your podiatry marketing is performing, we want to tie everything back to some key numbers, specifically:
- Total patient visits
- New patient visits
- PVR (per visit revenue)
Now, these don’t directly connect to your podiatry practice’s online ads. Rather you need to take the next step and think about how they do.
In fact, this is a great time to remind you that business and marketing goals are two different things. Your business goals relate to revenue and profitability; your marketing goals relate to how you are going to reach new potential business.
For example, if one of your online ads appears when someone is searching “why does my heel hurt,” that person might click and be transported to a landing page. At this point, we consider the person to now be a potential lead. If the landing page is captivating, this potential lead will further explore your practice’s website. The person then becomes a patient lead when they contact your office.
That result—someone calling your office or filling out an online contact form—is what’s referred to as a “conversion.”
It’s a common misconception that a conversion is someone who becomes an actual patient from digital marketing. The reason that’s not the case is because the marketing brought someone to your (metaphorical) doorstep, but your staff must help them cross the threshold.
Remember, if you have effective content on your website but a less-than-friendly staff member makes them go elsewhere, it’s not the marketing’s fault they don’t schedule appointments!
Since patient visits, PVR, etc. aren’t metrics you use for online ads, what should you be looking at?
In this case, you want to capture numbers that relate to website traffic and ad performance. We’ll get into the specifics of that in a second, but there’s a common question that needs to be addressed first.
So, what if you didn’t capture data prior to launching your ad campaign?
Well, think about it this way:
Just because a patient didn’t start an exercise program in their 20’s doesn’t mean they shouldn’t start one in their 50’s, right?
Sure, it would probably have been better to get active at a younger age, but studies continually show there’s still benefit from exercising later in life.
Similarly, the ideal situation is that you capture your baseline metrics before the campaign, but there’s a Plan B for if you didn’t—just record your current situation.
While you might miss out on trends that have already happened, at least you can see what unfolds going forward. Besides, if any unobserved trends are significant and true, you should be able to pick up on them (even at a later point in time).
What should you measure to determine online ad effectiveness?
Having covered—if just briefly—the overarching areas worth noting, we now need to dive deeper so you can see which online ad metrics and information should be tracked.
Clickthrough Rate (CTR) – Out of all the possible data you can pull and analyze, this is an incredibly important one to mind. The good news is that it’s also a fairly easy one to calculate. To get your CTR for an online ad campaign, you just divide the total number of people who saw your ad (“impressions”) by the number who acted by clicking on it.
If it’s not obvious, this metric is the best way to know how effective your online ads are for influencing action. When you have a high CTR, your ad is working quite well and you’re reaching people who are potentially interested in your podiatric services. Conversely, a low CTR means there’s room for improvement.
Before we proceed, please read the second sentence of the previous paragraph. When you do, make sure you take note of the word “potentially.” See, whereas the likelihood of those clicks coming from interested people are high, it’s not guaranteed.
Quality Score – It can sometimes seem as though Google has an algorithm for everything, and how they determine where to display ads is no exception!
The result of this particular ranking is known as your ad’s quality score. If you have an ad deemed worthy of a high-quality score, your ad will receive greater exposure (increased impressions) by being ranked more highly. Additionally, you will pay less for every click—which boosts the ad’s ROI.
We’ll bet you’d prefer to have higher quality scores and ROI, so you should do things like test different ads (to see what works best), avoid negative keywords (which lead to clicks you don’t want), and use keywords relevant to the copy on your ad’s landing page.
Platform Performance – When you design your online ad campaign, it’s best not to put all your eggs in one basket. The best practice is to run ads on certain social media platforms and search engines.
With that being the case, track where your site visitors (who arrive via ads) are coming from. In doing so, you will have a clearer picture of which platforms work well for you—along with ones you might not want to focus on.
When you assess this data, you can find out where your target market (your ideal patients) can be found. Once you have that information, you can bolster your efforts for the appropriate platform or channel.
Demographics – As noted, having a high CTR can be good news … provided the clicking is being done by the right people. For this reason, it’s worth using analytics tools to determine exactly who is clicking.
Depending on the analytics tool you use—we’re partial to Google products (but to each their own)—you should be able to see how many site visitors from your ads are first timers and how many have been there before.
The fact of the matter here, is that you don’t actually want 100% of the traffic to be from new people. In some cases, your ads will reach people who’ve previously been to your site—and even some current patients.
That’s okay! Remarketing can contribute to your overall patient visits, billing, and collection metrics.
At the same time, make sure you do track new session counts and see if they’re increasing or not. Reaching new leads is important for the health of your practice. If you see a decline, you need to evaluate your ad campaign and determine what needs to be done to improve performance.
Get optimal ROI from your online ads!
Before we wrap up this post, you should know that it’s unrealistic to expect that you online ads will result in scores of new patients right away.
It would be great if it worked like that, but it just doesn’t.
Since it doesn’t, calculating the ROI from your online ads can be a little tricky. But this is where having the right baseline metrics established comes into play. If you track CTR, quality scores, platform performances, and demographic information, you can determine if your ads are effective.
While that can be a difficult endeavor if you don’t have the right background, training, and experience, you have another option:
Have someone else do it for you!
If you decide that you want the industry’s best handling your online ad campaigns and helping you see the ROI you deserve, give us a call. We’d love to work with you and provide the marketing services that can take your practice to the next level.
Fill your waiting room with the kinds of patients you want to treat.