Pay-per-click campaigns are highly effective at generating awareness and converting leads, but this can come at a price. Most small advertisers just hope the value of a lead will justify the cost.
Too often, small advertisers will waste their budget by not taking advantage of all the bidding tactics AdWords has to offer, including modifying your campaigns by location and time of day. For all of you practitioners who have been running PPC campaigns for years this might seem like old hat; but if you’re just diving into the world of PPC, the importance of factoring in location and time of day into your PPC management strategy cannot be overlooked.
Advertisers cannot control all of the factors that dictate PPC spend, including competitive bids and keyword volume. However, advertisers can control how and when their ads surface on the search engine results page. Google knows that it doesn’t make sense for small businesses or medical practices to run ads that could potentially be viewed by searchers three states away. Furthermore, Google also understands that it’s wholly unhelpful for advertisers to bid on ad space at times of the day when their target audiences just aren’t searching for their services. To help local marketers beat the frustration of wasting money on the wrong audiences at the wrong time, Google offers bid modification strategies, including by location and time of day, to help advertisers manage impressions and costs.
As a medical provider, location is, perhaps, more essential to your digital strategy than other lines of business. Everyone needs a dentist, but not everyone wants to travel great lengths to visit one. Although you may attract patients from outside your region due to Word-of-Mouth or specialty referrals, the bulk of your patients are largely from a defined radius around your business. According to a 2015 LSA Insights Database Study, the click through rates for geo-targeted mobile display ads within the Healthcare vertical far exceeded industry benchmarks. When people take out their smartphones to search for dental practitioners, they’re seeking relevancy. One of the best ways to ensure that your PPC ads are served to potential local patients is through location targeting.
As you are setting up your AdWords campaign, you have the option of adding a location extension to your ads, which show your practice on a map and include the exact distance between the searcher and your front door.
Additionally, as you set your bids for your PPC ads, you have the option of running geo-targeted bids, which places priority on people searching from within a specific radius. Conversely, this functionality also enables advertiser to essentially block ads from appearing for searchers outside of the designated areas. As with any campaign strategy, the key to effectively targeting by geographical location lies in the data. Consistently monitoring your PPC reports may introduce surprising location data for you to consider; for example if your practice offers a specialty service, you may find that there are searchers outside of your set radius seeking information on that specific practice. Knowing that information will cause you to expand your target area.
Time of Day
It’s true that your patients can technically search for dental practices or access your website at any time of day. However, it’s unlikely that people are going to be searching for “crown replacement specialist near me” at 3:00 in the morning – unless, of course, they’re experiencing an emergency. It’s more likely that potential patients will be planning their next trip to the dentist during the day, and as such, it’s integral that your ads meet them when they’re searching. Through Google AdWords, you can daypart, or divide the day into parts and analyze search volume trends for each time of day. For example, you can analyze your click rates to determine the peaks and valleys of your keyword searches; if your clicks spike in the middle of the afternoon, you can assume that most of your targeted audience is searching on their lunch break. At the same time, if there’s very low search volume before noon, you can make the assumption that your audience is generally not seeking out information about dental services first thing in the morning. However, these spikes may change on the weekend.
So, you see, the time of day plays a significant role on when and why people will try to engage with your website through online searches. But these search behaviors may vary from day-to-day. It’s a more efficient use of your budget to adjust your bids to support high potential traffic times, rather than wasting spending and ignoring obvious search trends and behaviors. To make your life easier, there’s even a new script from BrainLabs that analyzes optimal bids for every hour of every day. Google also supplies an automated scheduling tool, however, theirs is divvied into increments of six bidding windows per day, which could leave out some significant changes in audience search behavior.
The health of your PPC strategy depends on a consistent commitment to monitoring your click rates, as well as audience search behaviors. And luckily for you there are a slew of tools at your disposal to help make the modification process as seamless and impactful as possible. Simple strategies like geo-targeting and day-parting can go a long way when it comes to maximizing small budgets.