Boosting patient numbers

Google HQ Loondon 3Stewart Roode says put your practice beside household brands for free with ad retargeting.

Google’s London HQ may not be quite as epic as its global HQ in San Francisco, which is home to 19,000 workers, but it is nevertheless a very exciting day out for a techie.

The offices in Victoria include a room stocked with musical instruments, and data on staff movements around the building is used to tweak the feng shui so people work harder and never want to leave.

I visited this bastion of the world’s tech elite for a day to hear about the latest in retargeting – the practice of making tailored adverts pop up on the screen in response to consumers’ online browsing habits.

Return on investment

At the moment Google is pushing retargeting hard and it wants everyone to know about the return on investment (ROI) this marketing channel can generate. The day in London was designed to discuss the detailed strategies you can use to get the best return possible.

Retargeting happens when you visit a website, leave that website, and then adverts follow you and appear elsewhere on the web from that site.

The ad targeting can be quite sophisticated so that the exact product/colour/size/service you were initially looking for on the original website appears again.

User lists

The big message from Google is that agencies should create ‘user lists’ on behalf of their clients.

For example, if we take this into the dental world; a list would be created of all users who have visited your dental practice website in say the last 180 days (anything longer than 180 days can result in diminishing ROI due to the time passed from the initial visit). It is then possible to display banner image ads and text ads to those users elsewhere on the web.

You might say, ‘What’s the point of targeting everyone who’s been to my website? Surely some will be loyal, active patients who will just get annoyed at being harassed?’ This is where list rules and segregation come into play. With an efficiently run pay per click campaign, your marketing agency should be tracking which monthly Google ads and search terms generate phone calls (via digital call tracking) and enquiry form submissions.

With the 180 day user list, a rule can be applied to single out all those users who have been on the website but have yet to make an enquiry. Or at another level, those who have been to the website twice but have yet to make an enquiry.

Lists can also be made of users at a treatment level, for example those users who have been looking at your implants page, and lists can then be combined. As an example, let’s display an implant banner ad only to users who have been looking at our implants page but have yet to make an enquiry.

In essence retargeting allows you to:

  • Display highly relevant, treatment-specific ads
  • Place time-sensitive offers within the ads
  • Employ brand recall for your practice (the ability of consumers to generate and retrieve your brand in their memory)
  • Encourage browsers to make enquiries.

One of the benefits of retargeting I like most is that, like pay per click, the ad only costs you money if users click on it.

If you’d like to start using retargeting to boost new patient numbers at your practice, contact Stewart on 07901 020 300 or email

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