Why Google Adwords for Medical Practices works

We still get surprised looks when we tell our clients to scrap their Yellow Pages ad when we consult for medical groups regarding new referral development strategies. I will honestly admit that we also would be a little uneasy about scrapping a historically indispensable business tool. However, in these times of reimbursement constraints, every medical practice needs to optimize their use of funds. Google Adwords has proven to be much more efficient as a marketing initiative within the healthcare industry, compared to the Yellow Pages.

It’s no surprise that Yellow Pages are still in use, since its roots are strong with over 120 years of history,  and its use among medical practitioners has been considered essential for a very long time. Nevertheless, if you have not made the move already, 2010 should be the year you consider spending your marketing dollars more wisely – and Medical Google Adwords should be on your list for consideration.

And of course people should be tracking how patients find out about them and decide to make that first appointment.


Why should you use Google Adwords as a patient acquisition tool?

  • Efficiency: you will spend less to acquire each new patient
  • Effectiveness: once you have attracted potential patients to your webpage, those from Google Adwords have a higher conversion rate than those from other marketing initiatives
  • Accuracy: you can fine tune who you want to target using demographics, location, etc.
  • Financial control: you can increase or decrease your campaign budget in real-time. Do you have a new patient special you want to promote for only a few days?  Just do it!


Adwords has a proven track record in healthcare!

A highly publicized healthcare adwords study that compared different media campaigns aimed at increasing demand for smoking cessation interventions (N=130,214), clearly showed Google Adwords’ strength compared to other marketing initiatives.

The real shocker in this study was not that Adwords was ranked best on Conversion Rate and Cost per Registrant; the shocker was by how much Adwords beat all other online mediums.


Cost-effectiveness in early New Jersey campaigns (December 2004 to June 2005)

Advertiser Spend
(US $)
Number of Ad Clicks Number Registered for Cessation Treatment Conversion Rate Cost per Registrant
(US $)
Google Phase I $5,000 4,651 762 16% $7
Yahoo $10,000 3,769 265 7% $38
AOL $5,000 1,390 44 3% $114
Weather.com $10,000 1,238 92 7% $109
WebMD (Feb 1-28) $10,000 476 21 4% $476
NJ.com (Jan 1-May 31) $4,530 2,061 39 2% $116
Google Phase II (June 1-31) $470 546 62 11% $8
Total Media Spend $45,000 14,131 1285 9% $35



This study compared different online advertising campaigns, and while the average enrollment rate of 9.1% exceeds most traditional offline recruitment approaches, Google Adwords stood out with the only double digit result (16%) among online methods.


Find out more about how Google Adwords can link your healthcare services to patientsin your community?

Audun Utengen

Audun Utengen - @audvin

Sharing research from the Healthcare Social Graph®. Co-founder, CEO of @symplur. Advisor to @MayoClinicSMN. ❤️ #Parkinsons, #Schizophrenia, #PancreaticCancer