Health Care Marketers Missing Local Search Ad Opportunities

Health care marketers are missing an opportunity to connect through search engines--Bing, Google and Yahoo--with local residents and visitors looking for services. Industry marketers will spend more than $10.7 billion on local advertising in 2015, representing 7.8% of the $137.9 billion total local advertising market -- but only a small portion goes to local search ads.

In fact, health care organizations invest only $330 million of the $1.5 billion to digital and online advertising on paid search, according to from BIA/Kelsey SVP and Chief Economist Mark Fratrik, who heads up a forecast released Tuesday on local advertising spend for the health care vertical.

My local doctor, along with her colleagues, bought and moved into a business that borders residential zoning properties, making it easy to walk to the doctor from nearby housing tract if needed. It also blends in to look like a local home. The physical location provides a small hometown feel, complete with many services you might find in a larger facility. When searching on Google for a doctor in Huntington Beach, only one or two of the doctors in the practice serve up in search engine query results.

The BIA/Kelsey report, Insights into Local Advertising -- Health Care Vertical, estimates health care organizations will spend more than $10.7 billion on local advertising in 2015, representing 7.8% of the $137.9 billion total local advertising market. Of this amount, $9.2 billion, or 87.2%, will go toward traditional media, with the remaining $1.5 billion allocated to digital and online advertising.

Hospitals lead the health care vertical in the amount spent on local ads this year, just under $5 billion, representing 46.7% of total health care local ad spending. BIA/Kelsey projects the average Hospital will spend more than $750,000 on local advertising during 2015, but none will go toward local search engine marketing. Physicians are next with $2.5 billion, or 23.6%. 

Medical offices such as chiropractors, optometrist and dentists spend far less annually for local ads, at $1,871; $3,153; and $2,327, respectively.

The report offers analysis of traditional and digital and online advertising spend for each of these categories and tracks the distribution of health advertising spending by media and online spending for 2015 through 2019. It also examines the largest 25 U.S. markets and estimates the per capita spend for the local health care vertical and its subcategories in the top 10 markets in 2015.


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