From open rates to online reviews to DEI programming, these 11 healthcare marketing statistics will inform your strategy moving forward.
No healthcare marketing strategy is complete without an accounting of current marketing trends, but where do you start? Here are eleven key healthcare marketing statistics to consider as you develop your strategy.
1. The average click rate for health-related Google Ads is just 6.11%, yet hospital marketers spend 85% of their budget on these ads.1
Research has shown that Internet users aren’t necessarily clicking where you’re spending. The first three paid Google Ads on a search results page certainly draw attention, but more potential patients click on the options underneath them. Some healthcare consumers trust the alternatives they choose on their own more than the first recommendation shown to them, while others question whether the results at the top of Google search show the best option or simply the healthcare company that paid the most.
When a prospective patient types “hospitals near me” into a Google search bar, you want your brand to pop up as one of the top three organic search results. The top three organic search results yield average click rates of 28.5%, 15.7%, and 11%, respectively—all higher than the top paid Google Ad. But don’t completely dismiss the power of Google. Paid ads give your brand exposure and can yield faster results than the slow and steady lead generation offered by search engine optimization (SEO). Use Google Ads and local SEO together to own search and engage potential patients no matter where they are in their journey.
2. Around 90% of Americans look for health-related information on social media.
Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter—your next patient is likely using their favorite social media app to find healthcare information. Social media marketing gives you a direct line to your patients, particularly the younger generation of healthcare consumers, and shows that your medical practice is current and approachable. Humanize marketing efforts and reel users in on social by regularly posting physician interviews, team member highlights, medical Q&As, and behind-the-scenes snapshots into your health system. When you tap into video marketing, keep your video content between 30 and 60 seconds—any longer and you risk losing the viewer’s attention.
3. The Healthgrades BIPOC Healthcare Attitudes Survey found that only 60% of Black patients and 63% of non-Black patients of color agree that their available healthcare options are representative of their communities, compared to 80% of White patients.2
Everyone deserves high-quality care, but systemic barriers and social determinants of health mean people of color have very different experiences in the healthcare system. A new study for the Yale School of Medicine found that the prevalence of serious chronic conditions was persistently higher among Black Americans compared to non-Black people of color and White people. Also, young and middle-aged Black people present with chronic conditions equivalent to people from other racial and ethnic groups who are five to 10 years older.
Yet, Black people are 22% less likely to receive adequate pain management than White people, 70% of Black adults feel the health system discriminates against them, and 25% of Black respondents to our DEI survey reported that doctors hadn’t taken their pain seriously in the past.
Patients need to see a healthcare professional who personally understands their perspectives or, at the very least, is culturally competent enough to consider factors beyond race that can affect healthcare outcomes. To make your hospital’s marketing campaigns more inclusive, elevate the voices of historically underserved communities in your content marketing strategy, perform frequent gap analyses, and invest in regular DEI training for all staff members.
4. Around 43% of respondents to a Software Advice survey said that a positive online review history is enough to sway them to an out-of-network healthcare provider.
Patients trust online reviews—even more than word-of-mouth recommendations for family members or professional referrals—because they see them as honest reflections of a healthcare practice’s quality of service and medical expertise. Prospects want a glimpse into what healthcare in your hospital looks like, from bedside manner to frequency of treatment and general health outcomes.
For physicians, reviews are also an opportunity to boost retention, communicate with healthcare patients, and address any outstanding issues before patients explore other options. Responding to positive and negative reviews in a professional, open-minded, and earnest way shows patients that their care team takes their concerns seriously and will do everything they can to ensure they have a great patient experience. Encourage hospital staff to stay active on their physician profiles, and provide them with helpful resources on how to respond to patient reviews. Email open rates for reputation-related content are 75% higher than the industry average for email newsletters, so it’s clear physicians value reviews as much as potential patients.3
5. Healthcare marketing emails have an average open rate of 21.5%, but average click-through rates of just 3%.4
Patients notice newsletters and email campaigns in their inboxes, but studies show they’re not engaged past the first click. Marketers must hold patients’ attention and give them more news they can use. Focus your digital marketing outreach on audiences near your healthcare practice, offer educational article links and other health-related information that speak to common conditions, and include a link to your hospital’s online scheduler so patients can easily fill up open appointment slots.
6. 94% of patients will switch to a new practice if they offer online appointment scheduling.
Between overburdened administrative staff and short office hours, traditionally scheduling a doctor’s visit can quickly turn into a game of phone tag—and patients won’t stay on the line for long. The good news is that online appointment scheduling (OAS) is a win-win for both patients and hospital staff.
OAS is one of the most in-demand healthcare services right now because it allows patients to book beyond office hours and receive treatment sooner, and it promotes a better in-office experience. For hospital staff, online scheduling systems also optimize calendars to save time and money lost through cancellations and no-shows. Plus, your administrative staff will have extra time to devote to patient needs now that repetitive tasks are off their plates. Be sure to call attention to your hospital’s OAS services on your healthcare website and in your advertising.
7. In a 2020 study, around 75% of patients said they were willing to switch medical practices for lacking virtual service options.
The pandemic has cemented the popularity of digital healthcare resources like telehealth, online patient portals, and more. Digital front doors provide access to these essential services and strengthen patient acquisition marketing efforts by making it easier for patients to find and book with a physician from their smartphone. Ensure that your health system’s website provides information about your health system’s accepted insurance plans, online appointment scheduling with available physicians and specialists, and specialty areas.
8. According to a 2021 McKinsey report, 76% of consumers find a lack of personalized messaging frustrating.
Out-of-context, depersonalized digital ads are bound to miss the mark no matter the sector, but targeting is crucial for digital advertising in the healthcare industry.
Imagine a healthcare consumer sees trailing banner ads for a podiatrist’s practice while searching for condition information on angina. Even though the ads are reaching a potential patient while health is on their mind, it’s for a service they’re not interested in making a decision about. This mismatch won’t lead to a conversion and might even annoy a prospect. Be intentional with your healthcare advertising and place ads alongside relevant content to intersect patients as they search for topics associated with your service lines.
9. About 69% of millennial patients flock to the internet for medical advice instead of their primary care physician.
Today’s digital natives are well-accustomed to searching for answers online, including healthcare. Before making an appointment with a doctor, many younger patients will first turn to online information to investigate their symptoms and treatment options. This is an opportunity to establish your health system as a trusted source of healthcare information.
Publish high-quality, medically reviewed content on healthcare topics, both big and small. Be mindful of using DEI-conscious language when creating educational articles or videos, and abide by HIPAA guidelines for content that uses patient testimonials. Also, remember to include a disclaimer at the end of all editorial content noting that any health-related information on your site isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice. Direct them to make an appointment after perusing the material.
10. 70% of marketers think patients consider a doctor’s experience most when searching for healthcare—our study examining patient priorities tells a different story.5
Do you know what patients expect from healthcare organizations? Are you sure? In our 2022 Healthcare Marketers Study, Healthgrades learned that there’s a noticeable disconnect between patients’ priorities and marketers’ perceptions of those priorities. Specifically, marketers think patients prioritize years of experience, online ratings, and frequency of treatment when searching for a physician or specialist. Actually, patients prioritize insurance coverage, location, and whether or not a doctor is accepting new patients above all else.
Market to these priorities by prominently displaying which insurance plans your health system accepts on your healthcare website, highlighting which doctors are taking new patients, and directing patients to nearby physicians via an embedded search tool.
11. Hospital marketers are investing heavily in cardiology (51%), oncology (44%), and primary care (40%).6
While embracing niche audiences is a great way to attract patients who may have trouble finding care for more specialized needs, primary care is still the most searched topic for healthcare consumers. Patients often use primary care appointments to try out a new hospital or medical practice before scheduling other services. Invest in a stellar primary care patient experience so your health system is top-of-mind when the need for a specialist arises.
Driving Patient-Physician Connections with Healthgrades
One final healthcare marketing statistic—67% of patients who visit Healthgrades physician pages schedule an appointment within a week.
Healthgrades is America’s #1 platform for connecting patients with the right doctor, and we can help you engage with consumers who are actively searching for care. We give your brand premium placement on healthgrades.com physician profiles and search results pages so low-funnel, highly qualified patients see your hospital and doctors when they’re ready to make their next healthcare decision. Our competitive intercept feature even redirects appointment opportunities away from the competition and to your health system by showing you as an alternative on competing provider profiles. Healthgrades physician profiles offer all the information a potential patient needs to appoint with confidence—from patient reviews to procedural experience—plus, you can add embedded appointment links to your OAS.
Extending your audience reach doesn’t have to overextend your budget. When combined with your SEO and SEM strategies, Healthgrades maximizes your relevance in search and generates more qualified leads. Since Healthgrades’ audience is ready to appoint, your average cost per conversion is half of what you would spend on other PPC programs. Syndication to other top health properties extends your reach further and drives visibility for your most profitable service lines.Partner with Healthgrades to boost conversion rates and turn your marketing goals into real results. Contact us today.