Do paid ads work in healthcare marketing?

20 Oct 23

Ever found yourself wondering if those paid ads you see online actually make a difference? Have you ever considered if they would work in a niche industry like medical devices?

In today’s digital age, where every click counts and budgets are tight, it’s essential to know where your money is best spent.

In this article, we’re going to provide an honest review of the effectiveness of paid ads for medical device companies, so you can decide for yourself if they’re the right path to take your marketing forward.

What are paid ads?

Paid ads involve paying for space to advertise across various digital platforms, including search engines and social media. Unlike organic methods, where visibility is earned through strategies like search engine optimisation, paid ads guarantee immediate visibility for a fee.

The cost typically depends on the ad’s reach and format, with common models including pay-per-click (PPC), where you pay each time, your ad is clicked, and cost-per-impression (CPM), where you pay per thousand views.

However, paid ads aren’t for everyone. They’re most useful for driving traffic to your website, but without other optimisation and promotional campaigns running aside them, they can fall flat.

This section is going to run through the three main paid ad types that are available to you, explain how they work and how you can use them.

  • Search engine ads

    Search engine ads, often referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) ads, are advertisements that appear on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) when a user inputs specific keywords.

    The search engine’s algorithm then determines which ads to display based on the bid amount, ad relevance, and quality score. When a user clicks on the ad, the advertiser pays the agreed bid amount.

  • Social media ads

    Social media ads are promotional content displayed on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, specifically tailored to reach a platform’s user base.

    Unlike organic posts, these ads allow you to target specific demographics based on age, location, interests, and more, ensuring content reaches the most relevant audience. They operate on various payment models, including pay-per-click (PPC) and cost-per-impression (CPM).

  • Display ads

    Display ads are visual advertisements that appear on websites, mobile apps, and other digital platforms, often forming part of an online advertising network. They come in various formats, including banners, interstitials, and video ads, and can be static or animated.

    The placement of these ads is typically managed through platforms like Google Display Network or programmatic advertising platforms.

What are the benefits of paid ads?

Now that we’ve explored the different types of paid ads available to you, it’s time to look at their benefits.

  • Targeting your audience

    One of the standout advantages of paid ads is their precise targeting ability. Through platforms such as Google Ads, Facebook, and others, you can narrow down and target your audience with impressive accuracy, with demographics such as gender, age, location and job description.

    This ensures that your efforts are targeted, for a more efficient use of your time and budget than casting a wide net and hoping for the best.

  • Fast ROI

    As the old saying goes, time is money, and one of the stand-out advantages of paid ads is the quick returns. Unlike traditional marketing methods that can take months to show results, paid ads can deliver almost immediate traffic. This fast visibility is invaluable, especially for your more time-sensitive healthcare campaigns, product launches, or essential public health announcements.

  • Accurate and detailed reporting

    Knowledge is power, especially in marketing. With paid ads, you’re not left in the dark, guessing if your campaign is working. Platforms offer real-time analytics and detailed reporting, giving you a clear picture of how your ads are performing. You’ll be able to monitor a vast array of metrics, from cost-per-click and site traffic to deeper engagement indicators and conversion rates.

    This means you can make data-driven decisions, tweaking and refining your campaign for maximum impact. Whether it’s adjusting your ad copy, changing your target audience, or shifting your budget, you have the insights you need to optimise effectively.

  • Selecting your marketing goals

    Another benefit of running paid ads alongside your other marketing activities is that they allow you to select your marketing goal. This might not sound that significant, but it essentially means that the platform you’re using will tailor your campaigns specifically to achieve that goal.

    Whether it’s driving website traffic, increasing engagement on a post, or generating leads, paid advertising platforms allow you to choose the outcome you want and design your campaign accordingly.

Looking for help with your digital marketing?

Problems with paid ads

Now that we’ve discussed all the strengths of paid ads, let’s have a look at their weaknesses.

  • Not considering the bigger picture

    Paid ads, while powerful are only as effective as the foundation they’re built upon. At the heart of this foundation is strong messaging and an optimised website. Without them, even your most compelling ads can fall flat.

    Imagine being able to drive huge amounts of traffic to your site through meticulously crafted ads, only for your audience to be met with a slow-loading, confusing, or outdated website that is unclear and causes confusion.

    The result? A high bounce rate, as users quickly navigate away, and a dismally low conversion rate, as they find no compelling reason to engage.

    Making sure your website is optimised to convert your audience when they do arrive is one of the most important aspects of marketing, and paid ads won’t be able to deliver tangible results until that happens.

    If you want to learn more then check out our guide to the top 5 website mistakes.

  • Having a niche audience

    Despite the fact that you’re working within the large and varied industry of medical devices, you may find yourself with a very niche audience. While having a small target audience can allow you to foster a closer relationship with your followers, it makes running ads hard, maybe even impossible.

    Most ad platforms work better for companies with a broader audience. They often don’t allow you to target groups in the low hundreds, pushing you to expand your target demographics to include people who are not your ideal customers. This might mean spending money to reach individuals who have little to no interest in the offered services or products.

  • Damaging organic SEO

    Over-relying on paid ads can mean neglecting organic SEO efforts, which are crucial for long-term online visibility. By not continually investing in content and SEO, you risk your organic rankings. Once the ad budget dries up, you could find yourself back at square one, or even worse, lost in the vast sea of search results.

    Moreover, with growing digital savviness, your audience is more sceptical of ads. 75% of users expressed distrust and often bypassed them in favour of organic search results. In the spirit of transparency, search engines like Google tell their audience which search result is an ad.

    These are usually the first three spots at the top of the search engine and have the words “sponsored” written above them. This means that they have paid for this position and can push people away rather than draw them in.

So, do paid ads work in healthcare?

While paid ads can deliver immediate results, their true value aligns with specific marketing goals.

They are best viewed as a quick-win tactic rather than a replacement for long-term strategies. Prioritising foundational assets, such as your website, is essential for nurturing sustained success and building a robust marketing foundation.

For more information on paid ads check out our other articles:

Marketing with Podymos

Are you aiming to communicate more effectively with HCPs and patients? Do you aspire to deliver high-quality marketing campaigns as part of your broader multichannel marketing strategy? You’ve landed in the right place.

Podymos is a dedicated healthcare marketing agency, specialising in downstream Medical Device marketing. Our services might be a bit pricier than non-specialised agencies and freelance teams, and that’s because our exclusive focus on the Medical Device space equips us with specialised knowledge and expertise that others might not offer.

For top-notch, compliant campaigns that align with your business objectives, we’re here to assist. Simply provide your contact details below, and we’ll reach out promptly for a no-obligation discussion.

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