Healthcare advertising is challenging. When you advertise your healthcare business, whether it’s a hospital, gym, chiropractor’s office, or dentist, you’re trying to get people to not only choose you over your competitors, but to trust you with their health and, in some cases, their lives.
Add in major market saturation, expensive keywords, and a lack of insight around how people search for healthcare providers, and successful healthcare advertising can seem downright impossible.
Another major challenge? Understanding how your healthcare advertising is actually performing. What’s the average cost per click for hospital ads on Google? How much should you pay per lead for Facebook ads for your gym? What’s a good click-through rate for display advertising for dentists?
We have hundreds of successful clients in the healthcare industry, so we crunched the numbers to determine what success in healthcare advertising looks like. We’re sharing this data across healthcare subcategories that include:
- Hospitals & Clinics (Specialized Services)
- Assisted Living, Elder & Home Care Services
- Health Clubs & Gyms
- Personal Fitness Trainers
- Diet & Weight Loss Centers/Products
- Hearing Aids & Care
- Opticians, Glasses & Contacts
- Addiction Recovery
- Chiropractic Care
- Massage Therapy
- General Dentistry
Here, you’ll find:
- Average click-through rate (CTR)
- Average cost per lead (CPL)
- Average cost per click (CPC)
- Average conversion rate
- Average monthly spend
And we’re sharing these average metrics across:
- Search advertising
- Display advertising
- Social media advertising, including Facebook and Instagram ads
Check out this data below to inform your healthcare advertising strategy in 2021 and beyond.
Healthcare advertising benchmarks: search advertising
|Subcategory||Average Cost Per Lead||Average Click-Through Rate||Average Cost Per Click||Average Cost Per Call||Average Monthly Spend|
|Hospitals & Clinics||$33.45||5.68%||$3.63||$34.47||$1,500|
|Assisted Living, Elder & Home Care Services||$50.91||6.36%||$4.22||$56.26||$1,250|
|Health Clubs & Gyms||$40.85||4.96%||$3.78||$47.94||$1,050|
|Personal Fitness & Trainers||$54.90||5.50%||$3.16||$62.18||$1,000|
|Diet & Weight Loss Centers/ Products||$75.19||5.16%||$6.42||$115.58||$2,000|
|Hearing Aids & Care||$71.52||5.19%||$6.05||$75.19||$1,500|
|Opticians, Glasses & Contacts||$22.65||6.06%||$4.01||$22.42||$1,200|
Search advertising is huge for healthcare businesses because search engines are where most people begin their journey to find a healthcare provider. In fact, there are about 93 million healthcare-related searches on Google every day in the US!
Search advertising also provides a cost-effective way to get new patients or clients. The average cost per lead across all subcategories we looked at would yield excellent returns on investment. For example, the average cost per lead for massage therapy is less than $16, which is great when you consider that the average cost for a massage is about $60 an hour.
These healthcare subcategories also saw high average click-through rates between 4.96% for health clubs and fitness and 8.49% for massage therapy.
Average cost per click for these healthcare subcategories was also promising, especially for hospitals and clinics at only $3.63 per call.
Healthcare advertising ideas for better search advertising performance
If you’re looking for some tips to improve your healthcare search advertising campaigns, here are three tips to try.
Run search ads for each service line
Most healthcare brands and businesses offer multiple service lines, whether you’re a hospital system with different specialties, a doctor’s office that treats both adults and children, or a dentist that specializes in routine checkups as well as teeth whitening. This gives you an opportunity to broaden your search ads to encompass each of your service lines—giving you the best chance for success with your healthcare advertising.
This hospital system is running different ads for their different service lines, as you can see in this example from a search for birthing centers vs. cardiologists.
This will also give you insight into which of your service lines is driving the most leads, which can help you optimize your budget and overall healthcare marketing strategy around your top-performing services or keyword groups.
Use emotion in your ad copy
Our healthcare marketing study showed that emotional factors, such as feeling like a priority and compassion, were more important overall than functional factors, like quality physicians, when it comes to making healthcare decisions.
This speaks to the importance of including emotion in your ad copy so you can optimize your ads around what will attract prospective patients, which can lead to increased CTR and more leads overall.
Rather than focus on your #1 rating in the area or your top physicians, your ad copy should include information about your personalized treatment plans, holistic options, and a focus on overall well-being.
Enable location extensions in Google Ads
Even if you’re marketing a large national healthcare brand, your focus is local. Local PPC advertising is essential if you want to get more patients in your area. One way to optimize your PPC ads for better local results is to enable location extensions in Google Ads. These ads not only show as regular ads in search results but can also appear in the Google Maps app and Listings results on Google.
If you want your local PPC ad to show in the Maps results, you also have to create and claim your Google My Business listing.
Location extensions are meant to drive calls and in-person visits to your healthcare business, so they’re a great fit for emergency rooms and hospitals as well as healthcare businesses like gyms looking to attract patients or customers nearby.
Healthcare industry benchmarks: display advertising
|Subcategory||Average Cost Per Lead||Average Click-Through Rate||Average Cost Per Click||Average Monthly Spend|
|Hospitals & Clinics||$127.74||0.13%||$3.03||$800|
|Assisted Living, Elder & Home Care Services||$23.34||0.11%||$5.37||$500|
|Health Clubs & Gyms||$125.21||0.15%||$4.01||$750|
|Personal Fitness Trainers||$116.75||0.10%||$6.11||$500|
|Diet & Weight Loss Centers/ Products||$77.48||0.11%||$5.58||$1,000|
Display advertising is another important marketing strategy for healthcare businesses. Display ads help build brand awareness, which can establish trust between your business and a potential patient.
People need to see information about a business at least seven times before taking an action, and display ads help do this by following people as they surf the web, providing them with information about your healthcare business that may entice them to learn more.
Because display advertising is a top-of-funnel marketing strategy focused on brand awareness, it doesn’t typically see the highest click-through rates.
Home care services see outstanding results from display advertising with a low cost per lead at just under $24 and a low average cost per click at under $6.
Healthcare advertising ideas for better display advertising performance
Here are a few expert tips to improve your display advertising campaigns to see improved cost per click, clickthrough rate, and more for your healthcare ads.
Optimize your landing page
One way to improve your healthcare display advertising is by optimizing your landing page based on your ad copy or offer. The more aligned your landing page is to your ad, the better chance for a conversion you have.
Make sure all your display ads are linking to relevant landing pages. For example, if you’re running a display ad for your gym’s membership special, don’t link to your homepage or a landing page about your classes—this would likely result in a user leaving your landing page without taking further action.
This display ad for lymphoma treatment includes a call to action to become a patient and links to a landing page with information about lymphoma treatment and a way to schedule an appointment.
If you don’t have a web page that closely relates to your display ad, then adjust your ad or create a new page on your website so you can drive traffic there and increase your conversion rate.
Run display ads on trusted news sites
Did you know that 90% of people prefer premium news and publishing sites when consuming healthcare-related content online? If you can get your display ads running on trusted news sites, you can increase trust in your brand and entice more people to click on your ad.
Consider running display ads for branded content, which puts content sponsored by or about your business directly on these trusted news sites.
Highlight educational content
It’s important for healthcare brands to build a relationship with prospective patients and clients. One way to do this is by educating your community rather than selling to them.
This healthcare display ad links to an educational video about a skin condition called hidradenitis suppurativa.
If you already create educational content in the form of blogs, videos, or more, you can promote them in your display ads so your audience can see that you put patient care first. This can also increase the chances that a person will click on your display ad—they’ll want to read content that is helpful and informative over an offer or promotional ad.
Healthcare industry benchmarks: social ads
|Subcategory||Average Cost Per Lead||Average Click-Through Rate||Average Cost Per Click||Average Monthly Spend|
|Hospitals & Clinics||$116.75||1.39%||$0.99||$1,366|
|Assisted Living, Elder & Home Care Services||$70.81||1.90%||$1.00||$626|
|Health Clubs & Gyms||$58.56||1.53%||$1.93||$500|
|Personal Fitness Trainers||$77.48||1.56%||$2.16||$1,000|
|Diet & Weight Loss Centers/ Products||$70.11||1.68%||$1.97||$500|
|Hearing Aids & Care||$116.75||1.22%||$1.60||$899|
|Opticians, Glasses & Contacts||$116.75||0.97%||$1.07||$500|
Social ads are becoming an increasingly important strategy for healthcare marketers. Because social media sites have access to so much information about their users, healthcare businesses have advanced targeting options that can help them reach the right people with the right messages.
The healthcare subcategories we looked at have a higher average click-through rate than available industry benchmarks at 0.84%. Our data shows our clients in these industries see average click-through rates between 0.97% and 1.90%.
Additionally, our clients in most subcategories see lower costs per click than the industry average at $1.32. The benchmarks for hospitals and clinics show an average of just 99 cents per click and opticians see just over $1 average cost per click.
Healthcare advertising ideas for better social advertising performance
Use these ideas to get better results from your healthcare Facebook advertising, Instagram advertising, and other social media advertising campaigns.
Segment your target audience
Because you provide multiple services, you likely have a large overall target audience. Refine your social media advertising by segmenting your audience and running ads tailored to each segment.
The first healthcare Facebook ad is targeted toward an audience of people new to the area, while the other is targeted to a broader audience.
For example, a hospital system would have different targets for each service line—you aren’t going to target the same audience for your birthing center as you would for your cardiology department. And you certainly wouldn’t use the same ad creative or copy. By tailoring your social media ads for each group using relevant images, videos, verbiage, and landing pages, you can improve your average CTR, CPC, and CPL for your healthcare advertising.
Build an organic community on social media
One way to improve your healthcare social ads is by building a strong organic community on social media. A good social media marketing strategy includes both paid and unpaid tactics. Paid tactics help you reach a new audience, but unpaid tactics help you keep that audience engaged and coming back to your page.
This hospital system is building an audience on Instagram through organic posts that are educational and inspirational.
Create a mix of educational, interesting, fun, and promotional content as part of your organic social media strategy so you can see what resonates with your audience and increase engagement.
Adjust your ad strategy for each social media channel
Social media advertising encompasses multiple platforms including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, and more. If you have a one-size-fits-all social ads strategy, you’re not going to see the best results for your healthcare advertising. Instead, you need to adjust your ad strategy for each social media channel. This means optimizing your ad design, copy, and targeting to your audience on that platform as well as the specifications for each platform.
For example, if you’re advertising on both Facebook and LinkedIn, your approach would be different. On Facebook, you’d target your potential patients and include enough information to get them to click, while on LinkedIn you’d create an ad for a slightly older demographic that included informative content or job openings.
Improve your healthcare advertising results
The average cost per lead, cost per click, and click-through rate for hospitals, gyms, chiropractors, dentists, and more varies depending on budget, location, and other factors. But these healthcare advertising benchmarks can provide a guide for your business when it comes to measuring success and making improvements.
This report is based on a sample of 2,838 North American-based LOCALiQ client campaigns in the healthcare vertical across search advertising, display advertising, and/or social media advertising between May 1, 2020, and June 25, 2021. Each subcategory includes at minimum 10 unique active clients. “Averages” are technically median figures to account for outliers. All currency values are posted in USD.