A Healthy Approach: Paid Social for Healthcare Marketing
Healthcare marketing looks quite a bit different than it did mere years ago. Between the effects of the pandemic, and an always-evolving cross-channel customer journey that includes a wide variety of real-life and digital touchpoints, patients are demanding personalized options for researching, selecting, and scheduling their healthcare services. Additionally, we’re seeing the foothold of privacy-first measures like the sunset of the third-party cookie, meaning that these personalized experiences also need to be focused on consent— both on the open web and within walled gardens.
In order to stay ahead of the curve, healthcare brands and their marketers will need to hone in on advanced audience strategies that are focused on cross-channel success— and that includes a robust paid social media presence. Yes, even healthcare brands can get in on the fun and unique reach that platforms like Snapchat and Pinterest have to offer! But, how do you execute a sophisticated, audience-centric paid social strategy that keeps privacy top of mind, while also driving goals like conversions and ROAS?
We’ll be focusing on some common pain points that healthcare marketers face in today’s digital landscape— and top considerations for the kind of creative mix and ongoing measurement that will help you shape and execute a stellar paid social strategy for your healthcare brand.
Common Pain Points for the Modern Healthcare Marketer
Due to notably strict regulations within the healthcare industry as a whole, healthcare marketers have always been under pressure to abide by the language restrictions and other requirements of groups like HIPAA and the FDA. Healthcare brands, therefore, face distinct dissonance between what generally resonates with their target audience on digital platforms, versus what they are legally allowed to say and show.
Additionally, governmental and regulatory agencies aren’t the only groups changing the dynamics of healthcare advertising today. Meta recently sunsetted certain targeting abilities that previously allowed brands to target specific interest groups (like those seeking orthopedic care, for example). Now, on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, marketers will need to find new, accurate ways to test the most resonant creative mixes.
Finally, while paid social media is distinctly digital, the overall patient journey isn’t. Digital touchpoints are embedded along the way (i.e. website visits, consultation requests, search results) but ultimately, the end goal is to secure appointments with providers. And while we’ve certainly seen a strong push for telehealth measures and other lasting digital initiatives post-pandemic, the patient journey will still inevitably include offline elements, like phone calls and consultations. This non-linear web of online and offline experiences can make it difficult for marketers to clearly track what is or isn’t working, and if their efforts are truly driving conversions.
Top Considerations for Resonant Marketing on Paid Social
With these challenges and pain points in mind, successful paid social efforts specifically might seem like an uphill battle for your healthcare organization. How is it even possible to gather the data and insights I need considering these shifts, trends, and obstacles? How will I be able to maximize my ad budget properly on these platforms? The good news is: With the right strategic planning, healthcare marketers can capitalize on the intersection of data-driven creative and methodical measurement frameworks to evolve their paid social presence, and drive incremental success.
Here are our top three considerations to keep in mind as you leverage the full potential of paid social in your cross-channel strategies.
1. KPI benchmarks that align with your overarching cross-channel goals. Knowing what kinds of data benchmarks you’ll use to indicate success in your paid social efforts will be key to tying them into your greater understanding of cross-channel success. Is my objective to create greater brand awareness? Increase appointments? Decrease cost per lead? Strategic questions like these should influence how you determine what success looks like for your brand.
Additionally, you’ll want to consider what success looks like in terms of connecting online and offline data points. Each platform and touchpoint likely has its own unique set of data rules and reporting capabilities. How am I unifying both paid social and offline data into KPIs that reflect my entire cross-channel ecosystem?
At Rise, we’re proud to work with Invoca, whose Call Intelligence Platform provides marketers with an in-depth understanding of how phone calls impact the effectiveness of larger marketing campaigns. Combining the power of a partner like Invoca with paid social data specifically will show you how your paid social strategies are driving offline behaviors (like phone calls) and conversions (like appointments).
2. Data-driven creative mixes. If your preferred targeting methods are now a thing of the past, whether on Google or Meta (or another platform), have no fear: By using the power of multivariate testing, you can still glean the valuable insights you need to create an impactful creative mix that drives the results most important to your brand’s bottom line. Multivariate testing works by determining the best combination of messaging and creative that will delight your potential patients while inspiring the action you want to see.
Miami-based Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, a long-standing client (and friend!) of Rise, previously used Meta targeting capabilities to isolate and target specific pediatric specialty interest groups, like orthopedic surgery. But, after the sunsetting of those capabilities, they needed a future-proof way to glean valuable, specialty-specific interest insights that weren’t dependent on platform-specific functionalities. So, they implemented a multivariate testing approach to help them determine the best combinations of pediatric-focused social assets, ad copy, and call-to-action messaging, which has helped them to strategically optimize ad spend on Facebook and Instagram.
3. Ongoing, iterative measurement. At Rise, we’re big proponents of establishing sturdy measurement processes and frameworks in order to prove impact— in fact, it’s why we created our cross-channel media optimization platform, Connex®! The right measurement framework allows your boots-on-the-ground marketers to speak the same language as the CFO, which encourages cross-functional cohesion from top to bottom. And even further, knowing how to perform iterative and continuous analyses of your data will provide ongoing insights that can constantly inform timely refreshes for your paid social strategies.
In healthcare specifically, both cadence and granularity are key to successfully and accurately measuring the results of your paid social efforts. Understanding what kind of granularity you need for insights and reporting will help you determine the proper cadence for your measurement and reporting. Do I need insights for different specialties, or my healthcare system as a whole? Are there multiple geographic locations I should be considering? Knowing what matters most to the success of your brand will help you pinpoint the exact timing and level of detail you’ll need to stay ahead of the competition.
Paid Social for a Positive Impact
Leveraging paid social approaches in your cross-channel healthcare campaigns can be especially challenging given current regulations and recent trends. However, knowing all of your strategy and testing options, plus optimizing your creative mix based on granular insights, will help keep you ahead of the curve on social platforms. And while strategizing will never be straightforward, properly wielding your paid social strategy now will help you succeed well into the future.
Want to take your paid social strategies for your healthcare brand to the next level? Contact us today!