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Oct 2014

Google My Business: How We’re Bringing Healthcare Back into Google’s Game

I moved closer to work at the beginning of last month, and needed to make an appointment with a new eye doctor. As AVID’s unofficial Google guru, of course the first thing I did was hit the search engines.

Even as someone who understands that there are more qualifications to look for in an ophthalmologist than “eye doctor in Norcross”, I (like many patients) was in a rush. I made an appointment with the first highly rated practice on the list, but on the day of my appointment, I showed up to an empty building.

I googled the practice again, called the number listed, but didn’t get an answer. A little angry for having wasted my time, I drove back to the office when the practice manager called my cell. The information on Google’s listing was incorrect, she explained. Would I like to reschedule? I decided that no, I would not like to reschedule. I ended up driving back across town to visit my old doctor instead.

This exact situation is happening to many hospitals, healthcare systems and physician practices across the country—sometimes totally unnoticed by the practice managers or marketing departments. As someone who works closely with Google, I totally understood that my potential ophthalmologist’s office had nothing to do with the incorrect listing. However, subconsciously the inconvenience was what determined my physician choice. This error caused the practice to lose a patient. How many others, I wondered, do they lose in a day? A month? A year?

Go Ahead, Check Yourself Out

Coincidentally enough, we have numerous clients using our digital strategy services at AVID Design for this exact issue. For a range of academic medical centers, hospitals and physician practices, we have embarked on an adventure to correct all of their Google listings. And that has been no easy feat — Google My Business is a two-headed beast!

  • Google My Business is not optional – How will your patients find you if not through Google? Your patients are most undoubtedly searching for you, and results are popping up. Managing those results is unquestionably important.
  • Google My Business is Not for the Faint of Heart – Representatives at Google have been very open that the Business platform was designed for just that—traditional retail businesses. The issues we experience with GMB are unique to healthcare, which is an unfamiliar area to the Google team. We are tackling that beast at AVID Design!

Keep in mind: Google My Business is still a new approach – with kinks and missing functionality that will all improve with time, but it is complicated by Google’s tendency is to shy away from healthcare endeavors. Defining a strategic approach to healthcare locations is beyond perplexing — and one that is tough to tackle alone.

The best way to figure out where you stand on Google’s radar is to search for your organization – down as many paths as possible. Search for your hospital name, your brand name, your physician names, practice names and so on. If you find pages for your organization, you should claim them as your own—especially if the information is incorrect.

What We’ve Learned

During our Google My Business initiation by fire over time, the most important lesson learned is that while this technology may still be emerging and imperfect, it has a very real, instant impact on healthcare organizations due to poor user experiences. Taking action sooner than later is always a good idea, but keep in mind that as with any other new online tool or functionality, flexibility is critical. The process may change direction quickly and is definitely a moving target! Be open to evolving your strategy, updating your goals and managing expectations.

Need help determining if you’ve got a Google beast on your hands? Give us a call and we can check out your page standings and see what information is being shared with your current or prospective patients. 


AVID Design offers full-scale written and visual communication services for hospitals and healthcare systems, including SharePointWeb designSEO and PPC content development and assessmentonline video and rich mediaanalytics and measurementcontent management systems and more.

Whitney Stuart | Web Content Manager | AVID Design

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Feb 2011

Facebook Ad Performance…Abysmal? Maybe Not for Hospitals

Earlier this week, Adweek reported on a Webtrends report that suggested “the performance of the average Facebook ad is abysmal.”

Although it made for a hot headline, it was perhaps not the most accurate—or fair—statement. And in the context of using Facebook ads to promote hospitals online, it might be completely misleading.

The metric used to gauge “abysmal” Facebook ad performance was CTR, an acronym for “click through rate,” which is a popular metric for analyzing PPC (pay per click) advertising. Most simply, CTR is a the percentage of clicks an ad gets in comparison to how many times it appears (these appearances are known as “impressions”). So, if an ad appears 100 times in day and 10 people click on the ad, the ad has a CTR of 10.0 percent.

The report said the average CTR for all industries 2010 was 0.051 percent, which declined from 2009’s 0.063.The worst performing CTRs were for healthcare ads, which reported 0.011 percent.

Regardless of year or industry, those are some very poor numbers. Abysmal, even.

But are they enough to say Facebook ad performance was abysmal in big bold headline letters? Not quite. Here are two reasons—with a particular emphasis on considering Facebook ads for hospital marketing and advertising.

Low CPMs: Brand Exposure for Pennies

Facebook offers two pricing models for its ads. The first is the more traditional PPC model of CPC, or “cost per click.” It’s exactly as it sounds: Every time somebody clicks on an ad, the advertiser is charged anywhere from a few cents to several dollars.

The other model is CPM, which stands for “cost per thousand” impressions (the “M” presumably is a nod towards the Roman numeral for “1,000”). Rather than paying per-click (with a presumed end-result of a “conversion,” such as a sale being completed on a retailer’s Website), the advertiser is essentially paying for exposure, with lower expectation for clicks.

The report said that CPMs were “relatively low,” although the article failed to quantify that statement. Regardless, for hospitals, “low CPM” is a valuable hint that there’s an opportunity to get your hospital’s name in front of a lot of people, which is especially attractive for hospitals that don’t have (and perhaps don’t want or can’t afford) PPC campaigns with Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.

Quality, Not Quantity: Conversion Rates?

Let’s return to CTR for a moment…and let’s presume that Facebook ad CTR was high, such as with the earlier example of a 10.0 percent CTR.

Each one of those clicks cost money. Naturally, the more clicks, the more the ad costs (and that’s without introducing the concept of how ad rates fluctuate).

So, for a CPC ad, how do you determine its return on investment (ROI)? The short answer: conversions, or more specifically, cost-per-conversions, also known as CPV.

Lower CTRs generally result in lower CPVs since a high CTR is not a guarantee for success. For example, an ad with a headline that reads “Free iPads!” will presumably get LOTS of clicks. But when visitors reach the destination Website and don’t find free iPads, guess what? They leave—or put another way, they don’t convert. So yeah, you can have a 100 percent CTR and a 0.00 percent CPV, but still get stuck with the bill for all of those clicks!

Although there’s an impulse to suggest that “CPV talks and CTR walks,” CPV cannot be fully related to a PPC campaign because, as illustrated in the “free iPad” example, the quality of the destination Website is a significant factor.

Still, when considering the performance of an online ad service—especially if the focus is going to be put on CPC models rather than CPM models—it’s critical to appreciate how the means relate the ends, which AdWords fully fails to do in this article.

Derek Rudnak | Healthcare Marketing Communications Specialist | AVID Design

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Jun 2010

10 Hospital Website Conversions You Should Have

It’s a no-brainer that hospital Websites (or any Website for that matter) must have clear goals in order to obtain an effective return on investment (ROI).

Score! Having clear, accessible conversions (or goals) will greatly benefit your hospital’s Website.

In order to meet these goals, conversions need to be put in place, along with a clear Website marketing strategy.

This strategy usually includes identifying your hospital’s target market through optimization techniques, like utilizing keyword rich and highly optimized content.

Hospitals, in particular, have several different ways they can “convert” the visitor, or make the visitor “take action” and “drive information” before they leave the Website.

Here are ten hospital Website conversions (or goals) that you probably should think about incorporating into your Website:

• Online bill pay

Job application

• Email a patient

Online donation

Physician directory

Calendar of events

• Online preregistration

• Support group sign-up

• Request an appointment

e-Newsletter/publication sign-up

Want to know more about hospital conversions? Check out June’s edition of AVID Insight, our monthly e-newsletter, featuring: The Magic Metric: How to Improve Hospital Website Conversion Rates.

While you are checking that story out, sign up to receive AVID Insight and get the latest on healthcare marketing advice, trends and more!

Lisa M. Federico | Content Specialist | AVID Design

AVID Design offers several e-healthcare conversion modules such as Find a Physician, Classes and Events and Online DonationContact AVID Design today to learn more about our e-healthcare suite and conversion modules, and to develop a Website marketing strategy plan to include highly optimized healthcare content for your Website.

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Feb 2010

Five Most Overlooked Hospital Calls to Action

This is most likely to irk some healthcare marketers, but if it does, consider yourself lucky, because it means that you are on the right path.

Missing the easiest balls can waste tremendous opportunities for glory. Don’t let missed calls to action do this to your hospital’s marketing efforts.

Missing the easiest balls can waste tremendous opportunities for glory. Don’t let missed calls to action do this to your hospital’s marketing efforts.

But first take a look at the list below. If you are missing these opportunities to extend a call to action to your audience, it means that you are at least performing the essential actionables that create the opportunities. If you aren’t…well, let this serve as a list of some of the activities for which you should immediately start pursuing!


If you are regularly writing a blog for your hospital, good for you. If you are getting a solid base of engaged readers that share your blogs (e.g., RSS, Twitter, social bookmarking) and comment on them, even better.

However, if you blogs aren’t regularly extending an explicit call to action that encourage a visitor to click a link to your Website or subscribe to a newsletter or any other type of action, you are overlooking some of the most prized members of your online community: active ones that are trying to interact with you!

Subscription Confirmations

This one might seem ironic. After all, if somebody subscribes to a newsletter or another feature of your Website, doesn’t that mean they’ve already converted on a call to action? Yes. But why stop there?

When that subscriber completes the subscription process and is then directed to a confirmation page or sent a confirmation e-mail (or both), ending the conversion process is another tragically missed opportunity to continue engaging with clearly active Web user. Keep going by encouraging this person to not consider the confirmation the end of a process, but the beginning of another.

Subscription Cancellations

After all of the work it took to get a subscriber, it’s always a shame to lose them when they unsubscribe. However, just because they unsubscribe to one of your Website’s features doesn’t mean that you are fully divorcing yourself from that person.

Similar to a subscription confirmation, use the cancellation confirmation page or e-mail to extend a new opportunity to keep the user engaged with your content.

E-mail Signatures

Every person to whom you or anybody at your hospital sends an e-mail has the potential to join your ever-expanding roster of social media and blog followers.

Adding something even as simple as “Follow Us” or “Join Us Online” with links to your blog and key social media accounts

Offline Marketing

This is perhaps one of our favorite examples. Although print and other traditional “offline” media have taken a backseat to online marketing tactics, it doesn’t mean that there can’t be some overlap. On the contrary, the more overlap—or integration and interaction—the better.

For instance, if you run a print ad, don’t just stick your hospital’s URL at the bottom of the page. Instead, try to connect your ad’s message to your Website’s functionality. An example: Instead of touting your hospital’s awesome doctors, invite the reader to use your Website’s physician directory to find a physician and then make an online appointment.

Speaking of calls to action, why not take a moment to visit our Website to subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter?

Derek Rudnak | Communications Specialist | AVID Design


AVID Design is an award-winning interactive healthcare marketing consultant.

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