Hospital Marketing Opportunity Revealed: Get a YouTube Channel. Get Ahead.

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

mayo clinic video of boy playing a pianoSurprisingly few US hospitals have a YouTube Channel in their marketing lineup. Still fewer have the right content. Jumping on this opportunity is an open field competitive advantage. Here’s why and how.

We’re one of those medical marketing companies that loves numbers.

Good or bad, numbers can gauge progress, measure Return-on-Investment, and reveal opportunity. For example, these YouTube numbers point to opportunity. An awareness of “big picture” patterns clarifies communications channels between you and the user/viewer.

  • 1 billion: number of YouTube users
  • 1 trillion: total annual YouTube views
  • 6 billion: hours of video watched per month
  • 40: percent of YouTube traffic from mobile
  • 50: percent of teens that consider YouTube favorite site
  • 70: percent of millennials visiting YouTube monthly

Dissecting hospital users, purpose and content

If you peal away a few more numerical layers, a recent academic study of US hospitals on YouTube examined the types of video content being used for marketing, and what content users liked most (and least). [Journal of Communication in Healthcare, 6(2), 128–134, 2013] 

The report about Healthcare New Media Marketing (A test to the Altruistic Marketing Approach) is from the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing. When the study was conducted (2012), only 11 percent of US hospitals (634 out of 5,754) had created a channel on YouTube.

“Out of the four categories of videos, advertising videos and informational videos (70.86 percent), mainly promoted a hospital while the latter two, educational videos and entertainment videos (29.14 percent), mainly served users.

“From the users’ end… self-promoting videos attracted a total of 34.38 percent of views, but [educational/entertainment videos] attracted a total of 65.62 percent of views. The larger a hospital was, the more videos it uploaded to YouTube, the more video views it attracted, and the more subscribers it attracted.”

Video viewers say: “Tell, don’t sell.”

“Users are enthusiastic about patient education videos, surgery process videos, and especially public service announcement videos,” the report concludes, although “hospitals have posted mostly videos that try to sell themselves.”

Their bottom line is a universal health care marketing truism: “To attract traffic, hospitals could consider providing more videos that pertain to users’ interests.”

Take-away ideas that we see in this include:

  • YouTube (and other video sharing platforms) are widely popular;
  • Hospitals underutilize YouTube in their marketing (few have a dedicated channel); and
  • Viewer audiences are likely to be open and receptive to health and healthcare content.

Many hospitals can claim a competitive advantage by creating, maintaining and promoting a dedicated YouTube channel, which, at the moment, few others have currently.

For example…

The most popular hospital YouTube Channel belongs to Mayo Clinic. No doubt world-class brand name recognition helps a little, but publishing good, interesting video content may be easier (and a lot less expensive) than you think.

Consider this video example (an idea worth borrowing) from the Mayo Clinic YouTube Channel: 15-year-old Pianist Touches Hearts and Souls at Mayo Clinic.

mayo clinic video of Alex Walton-Creutz playing a piano

Alex Walton-Creutz Touching Hearts and Souls

And for more ideas, see this previous post: 3 Video Concepts: Creative, Low Cost, Compelling Hospital Marketing.


Written by: Lonnie Hirsch

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.



Your proposal will include:

Competitor Intel Icon
Competitor Intel
Recommendations Icon
Our Pricing Icon
Our Pricing

...and much more!

“Despite practicing in a hyper-competitive market, our new-patient counts are double what they were for the same time period last year. Hiring Healthcare Success was one of the best business decisions I have ever made.”

Headshot of Jonathan Calure
– Jonathan Calure, MD

List of recent conversions