paid search ads

Some people don’t know that when they make a search query the results returned by the search engine feature two sets of returns: paid search ads at the top and organic search listings below them. This despite the fact that the little word “Ad” is sitting right there under the title and description.

OK, so those people who don’t realize there are organic and paid returns may click on a paid search ad without knowing it’s an ad. But what about people who know these are paid ads, yet still click on these results? What’s the logic behind clicking on the paid ad rather than the top organic listings?

That was the goal of an agency research firm, Clutch, when they did a survey last year on the reasons people click on paid search results. Here’s the entire study, but we’ll just go through some highlights in this blog.

This should provide some of our clients with the logic behind how we create paid search ads and how valuable they can be when trying to get patients to your practice.

Helpful results

For the study, Clutch surveyed 506 people who had clicked on a paid search ad in the past month and asked about their reasons. First off, the respondents saw themselves as savvy consumers: 77% of them felt confident they could differentiate paid search ads from organic search results. So, in effect, clicking on a paid search ad in a search results page is akin to picking up a brochure from a local business and reading it. You know it’s an ad, but you want the information.

Three-quarters of the respondents said paid search returns “make it easier to find information online.” That’s why it’s critical for your practice to provide specific procedure options that match what the searcher is looking for.

For instance, if your dermatology practice specializes in Mohs’ surgery for skin cancer, your paid search ad should state that in the header. That way the searcher who has a basil cell carcinoma on her nose and is worried about scarring can find a nearby Mohs’ surgeon who can remove the cancer with minimal scarring.

What’s behind the clicks?

In Clutch’s survey, these were the top four reasons that respondents gave for clicking on paid search ads:

  • 33% said the ad “Answered a search query”
  • 26% said the ad “Mentioned a familiar brand”
  • 20% said the ad “Was listed above other search results”
  • 19% said the ad “Had a compelling title, description, or image

When you look at that top result, with one-third of the respondents, you can see that, despite knowing it was an ad, the people still thought the paid search result answered their query the best and merited the click to the website.

For medical practices of all sorts that’s important. No matter if the searcher is looking for mommy makeovers, dental implants, laser hair removal, or any other procedure offered, if the ad directly answers their query there’s a good chance the searcher will land on your site (of course, you still need to be a high bidder and meet other criteria to make it into the paid list above the organic results).

In the third result, 20% of the respondents simply clicked on the paid result because it was listed above the organic results. Location, location, location. Obviously, that was Google’s plan all along when they moved paid search above organic search a few years back.

The fourth result, with 19% of respondents, also shows the importance of not simply putting the doctor name or practice title in the title and description spots of the ad. For instance,

Dr. Jones | Plastic Surgeon |

won’t perform anywhere near as well as something like this:

Mommy Makeover Specialist | Get Your Body Back | Free Consultations

That ad has a good chance of matching exactly what a woman who has had a couple of kids and wants to lose her resulting stomach pooch is looking for. Even though she knows it’s an ad, there’s a 33% chance (at least according to those in this survey) that she’ll click right through to the site.

This description tells the searcher that this practice specializes in mommy makeovers, can relate to the searcher’s problem, and offers a free consultation so the potential patient can see just what is involved. What’s not to love?

This survey shows potential patients will not be put off by a paid search ad for your practice, as long as the ad speaks to them, i.e. directly answers their search query. This makes it imperative to consider what procedure or area of your practice you want to target with your ad, and that you be descriptive and direct in your title and description.

Of course, at MyAdvice we create these ads and walk our clients through the bidding process every day. If you have any questions about your paid search ads, simply get in touch with your MyAdvice representative, or if you’re not yet a client, fill out our contact form or give us a call and let’s talk.

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