More than at any time in the past, the Internet is the primary pathway to hospitals and healthcare providers for today’s informed consumer. There isn’t a hospital or healthcare marketing professional who hasn’t heard the stat that “over 70 percent of Internet users looked online for health information.”
Pew Research confirms that the percent of online users has been rising for several years, but “health information also includes searches related to serious conditions, general information searches, and searches for minor health problems.” But it’s more than generic info that’s vital. What’s important to note is that users drill down to the trusted source of information from a hospital or doctor.
Data point: The significant number to consider is that about half of the Internet searches are about doctors and healthcare providers. (This stat is also going up.) This is important because: People look online—prior to booking an appointment—for details about doctors and facilities that are:
What they find online includes competitors, social media and reviews and ratings—all of which influence their selection process. At a minimum, this also means that facilities and physicians need to constantly review and update their digital directory and profile.
Data point: Facebook is the undisputed champion among social media channels with over two billion (with a B) active users monthly. Surprisingly, user demographics are not the younger age groups. This is important because: The largest slice of Facebook users—better than half—is the 25 to 34 age group, which largely embraces the Millennial generation. This cohort has the largest buying power in the US. You should also know: Social networks and social proof influence about three out of four consumer purchase decisions. Worldwide, more than 4 billion people use a mobile device to connect with social sites.
Data point: The first page of a search engine results page (SERP) takes at least 75 percent of the audience response. But there’s more to the story. The first three results on a page win about half of the clicks on Google. This is important because: Being listed on the first page—roughly the first ten results—is vitally important. But approximately one-third of the traffic goes to the first position. The second spot is thought to take about 15 percent of share, and the third position picks up an estimated 9 percent. Therefore, keyword selection is a critical consideration.
Data point: The digital world is a mobile world. The majority of all digital media is seen on a mobile device or tablet. Over half of all Internet visits (51.3 percent) were mobile, passing the total desktop use. This is important because: Healthcare content and digital marketing need to be optimized to be viewed first on the small screen. Further, highly popular video content is often seen first on mobile and tablet screens.
Carefully consider these data points as you plan marketing activities for the coming months. Digital advertising, social media and other tools are constantly at work in the competitive landscape of healthcare and hospital marketing.