In 2020, healthcare marketing has an unprecedented amount of influence on the patients journey as they research symptoms, find and research healthcare providers, and share their experiences with others.
As our devices become more and more of a part of our lives, they are playing a larger and larger role in the way patients find and choose a healthcare provider.
The increasing role of the internet in the patient’s journey means that healthcare providers that dedicate resources to healthcare marketing efforts such as reputation management, SEO, PPC advertising, and social media can see tremendous opportunities for growth.
In this article I’m going to share a number of surprising healthcare marketing statistics that illustrate the importance of SEO, the usability of a website, social media, and call tracking in a healthcare marketing.
Patients Start Healthcare-related Research on Google
Where do consumers start searches related to healthcare?
They’re starting on Google, with much of the patient’s journey conducted online, including researching symptoms, to finding and vetting providers, to making an online appointment, sharing their experiences with healthcare providers, and with the advent of the era of COVID-19, increasingly using telehealth.
A quick check of Google trends clearly shows that people are using Google to find healthcare providers.
It is clear that with every passing year, Google plays a larger and larger role in healthcare, increasing the potential impact of SEO for healthcare providers.
What Percentage of Google Searches are Related to Healthcare?
in 2019, Google Health VP David Feinberg shared that 7% of the searches on Google each day are healthcare-related. There are around 75,000 healthcare searches performed every minute, adding up to roughly 1 billion health-related searches every day. (Telegraph)
80% of internet users have reported performing a health-related search in the previous year. (Doctor.com) Search is an integral part of how people get health information in 2020.
This presents an opportunity for healthcare providers wishing to both provide accurate health-related information to internet users, as well as demonstrate niche expertise; in other words, healthcare providers that specialize in very specific or esoteric areas of medicine that patients are willing to travel for can leverage content marketing to both inform and attract new patients from all over the country (or even the world).
What Health-Related Topics Do Patients Search For on Google?
38% of health-related searches inquire about symptoms, i.e. “why is my throat sore,” though for searches that resulted in a conversion, 49% were for actual conditions, i.e. “asthma.” (Think With Google)
Again, a healthcare provider can get in front of a patient very early in the process of finding a provider if it is the resource the patient finds when researching their conditions and possible treatments.
What Percentage of Patients Use Google Before Scheduling an Appointment?
77% of patients use Google before scheduling an appointment. A little over 50% use it to get general information about a healthcare provider, while around 30% use it to compare facilities and healthcare providers (often looking at patient reviews, a critical part of the process of choosing a doctor or hospital). (Think with Google)
It is also important to point out that Google found that patients that scheduled appointments performed 3x more searches than non-converters. Choosing a healthcare provider is clearly a high-involvement purchase that can involve many touch points across search, social media, and review websites.
What Percentage of Patients Use Google to Find a Hospital?
According to the same study cited above, 21% of the patients studied used Google to find and choose a hospital. (Think with Google)
Online Reviews Play a Critical Part of Choosing a Doctor, Hospital, or Other Healthcare Provider
How Frequently Do Patients Use Google to Check Online Reviews?
Not only do patients check online reviews, they trust them.
Another survey showed that a whopping 95% of patients find online reviews to be “somewhat or very trustworthy.” (Binaryfountain) The same survey also found that 51% of patients share their experience with a doctor or hospital on social media or online review sites.
Considering that almost 3 out of 4 patients check online reviews and people seem to be eager to share their experiences with others, a healthcare provider that implements a successful review acquisition strategy is likely to be seen as a higher quality provider than one that doesn’t. This should be a top priority for any healthcare provider.