Critical Tips for Measuring Healthcare PPC

Paid search advertising, when implemented correctly, can provide numerous benefits to a healthcare organization.

To name a few, paid search enables healthcare providers to target a niche audience, lower the cost per lead, increase the number of scheduled procedures, and better understand the needs of their patients. However, without tracking and measuring your efforts, marketing your medical practice effectively is highly unlikely.

The PPC Team at Evolve Digital Labs is a Google Partner, and thus are recognized as experts in Paid Search. We are obsessed with measuring, so today I’m going to walk you through the best practices.


What’s the importance?

Measuring PPC efforts is important because it ensures your organization spends its budget wisely. Without ever monitoring the results of your campaigns, how will you know what areas you can improve upon? Through analytics, you can learn the following about your paid search campaigns:

  • Which keywords yield clicks
  • What ad messaging resonates with searchers
  • What landing page layout and elements convert visitors
  • How effective Search Retargeting is for your campaigns
  • What the core needs of your audience are
  • The location of your target audience
  • Where you need to adjust and allocate campaign budgets to maximize efficiency and increase traffic/leads

What many people in healthcare marketing do not realize is that it is critical to measure the right metrics.

Impressions, for example, is a term a lot of marketers use in their reports, but usually the number only refers to the number of times the ad was displayed… even if no one clicked on it. That metric itself is usually nothing to boast about.

Instead, we recommend focusing on the metrics that actually indicate how fiscally responsible your paid search efforts are. These include:

  • Cost per click (CPC)
  • Cost per lead (CPL)
  • Conversion rate (conversions/clicks)
  • Cost per action (site engagement: video tour, blog page visits, etc.)
  • Tracking URLs

The meaning of a “conversion” will vary among healthcare organizations. For example, when promoting services, such as “lasik eye surgery,” a conversion would probably require a visitor to call a trackable number to schedule a consultation.

An organization like the American Diabetes Association, however, might consider a conversion to be filling out a form to receive an information packet. Healthcare-paid-search

How can you measure healthcare PPC performance?

While plenty of SEOs are still distressed over the encryption of referral terms in Google Analytics a in other words, what people searched to reach your site, Paid Search marketers still have access to a world of data.

Google AdWords:

Front-end click metrics: Marketers can monitor front-end click metrics from top-level account down to ad/keyword (click volume/CPC/CTR). Additionally, they have access to other important data (average position, quality score, etc.) to help guide account optimizations.

Conversion tracking: Paid Search marketers can implement a pixel on key “Thank You” pages and utilize conversion data in AdWords’ user interface. By assigning a monetary value to each conversion, you can evaluate the return on investment. Set up Conversion Optimizer to efficiently manage campaigns, allowing AdWords to automatically adjust bids based on cost-per-action (CPA) targets vs. CPC.

Google Analytics:

Detailed on-page monitoring: Through Google Analytics, you can monitor back-end metrics, such as page visits, average time on site, or bounce rate. This helps brands measure engagement post-click.

Identifying and monitoring Goals: Analytics also has an incredibly helpful feature called Goals. Once a pixel has been implemented on key pages, you can set up Goals to help measure completions (whether it be arriving to a specific page or watching a video) against site visits.

How are health care brands wasting money?

We often come across organizations, both health-related and otherwise, that are wasting significant portions of their budgets on poorly assembled and managed campaigns. The PPC Audit often illuminates areas of budget waste and erroneous behavior, including:

  • Running on Broad Match: “Broad match” is a system that automatically bids on ads that are similar to your keywords. While this may seem like a time-saver, it essentially reduces a brandas control over how relevant advertisements are to the search queries. Marketers that resort to this method often pay a higher cost per click (CPC). We recommend that brands instead build out comprehensive lists of keywords to bid on.
  • Overbidding: Sometimes marketers will overbid on keywords to achieve desired PPC goals, but aggressively overbidding results in unnecessarily high CPCs.
  • Underbidding: Inversely, paid search marketers that underbid allow competitors to consistently outrank them, resulting in missed opportunities for brand or product awareness.
  • Failure to use enhanced AdWords features: Dayparting, Sitelinks, Location, and Click-to-Call extensions significantly improve performance.
  • Failure to use tracking or Analytics data: Following the performance of a campaign helps guide account optimizations and budget allocation.
  • Not sending visitors to a landing page: Clicking an ad should direct someone to a landing page designed specifically to convert prospects. Sending someone to the homepage or even a service page greatly disturbs the search process and leads to a poor user experience. It is also fiscally irresponsible on the paid search marketer’s part.
  • Failure to use location targeting: This AdWords setting enables you to limit the locations to which advertisements are being displayed. It’s critical to ensure only prospects within a serviceable region are able to click your ad.

Success from measuring

Last year, we worked with a company that provides information, products, and services to the medical industry. We performed a complete PPC Account Restructure for one of their products.

  • We built out a more comprehensive list of branded variations, non-branded medical references, and competitor terms
  • We created Exact vs. Phrase match ad groups, enabling higher bids for Exact variations
  • We created Misspelling ad groups to ensure Dynamic Keyword Insertion was not misrepresenting the brand
  • We revised ad copy with key brand messaging and calls to action
  • We used Sitelinks in AdWords, which provides an enhanced user experience

It allows for quickly reaching the most relevant site destination and increasing real estate on results pages among competitors. Post-restructure, it was exciting to see how Healthcare PPC was driving leads to our clientas website. The client had previously been allocating 10% of its budget to Google’s Display Network, which puts ads on relevant websites instead of on search engines. To many people, this additional exposure seems like a great idea a but are people visiting those sites in the mindset to buy? Most likely, no.


We paused Display Network campaigns and instead devoted 100% of the budget to ads in the search engine results pages, which serve to a more engaged user base. With a more in-depth keyword list, the Search Network clicks increased by 11% from the previous month. Also as a result of excluding Display Network impressions, the account click through rate (CTR) increased over 300%. Even with a significant surge in qualified traffic, the cost per click (CPC) increased only by one percent to $.81.


When correctly implemented and managed, Paid Search can play a critical role in marketing your medical practice. From performing Healthcare PPC Audits, to setting up Retargeting campaigns, to even providing the necessary Keyword Research, Evolve Digital Labs’ team of Paid Search experts is qualified to increase revenue for your organization through search engine marketing.

Download our free guide, “Aligning Patient Needs with Online Capabilities” and see how your hospital measures up against the nation’s top hospital brands.