(This article is a 5.5-minute read)
THREE THINGS YOU’LL GET FROM THIS ARTICLE
1. How to improve the click rate on your Google and Facebook ads
2. The different ways Google and Facebook ads work
3. The alternatives to interrupting people with your ad
If you want to promote your veterinary practice, there are two big options. Google and Facebook. Many of you probably use both of them, and it makes sense to do so. Together those two companies account for the vast majority of digital advertising. The problem is, the attention you get from that advertising is, to put it bluntly, terrible.
Here's some depressing statistics. The average click-through of a Google AdWords ad is 2 percent. So 98 percent of people who even see it, ignore it. Your average click-through rate on a Facebook ad is even worse: just 0.9 percent. So 99.1 percent of people who see it ignore it.
But while those numbers are depressing, don't despair. The reason those statistics are so terrible is most people try to advertise on those platforms the way they used to advertise in the Yellow Pages. There are ways you can get more attention from audiences on both Facebook and search engines. They involve understanding the way people use them to find information.
We all know Google is everywhere. You advertise on Google now because so many people use it. But the power of search engines is different to that of mass media. It seems counterintuitive but search is a very intimate and direct way of contacting people. Unlike mass media like TV or radio, which are passive media, search is an active medium.
Duh, you say. Of course it's an active medium. But that's very important when it comes to thinking of your advertising. Only about 10 percent of people using a search engine are actively looking to buy something or go somewhere. If your Google Ad is all about what you're selling, or where you are based, then it is meaningless to 90 percent of the people who are typing in keywords connected to veterinary services.
Keep that in mind next time you spend money on a Google ad sending people to your home page.
You will get much better results buying an ad promoting some cornerstone content you have created that answers questions or solves people's problems.
Facebook ads work a lot more like traditional advertising. They work by interrupting readers when they want to read something else. The reason you may hear a lot nowadays about using video to advertise on Facebook is because video is better at interrupting than words alone, or words and pictures.
Now, one thing we know from many years of mass media broadcasting and publishing is most people find ads annoying. In fact, with no science behind me at all, I would guess that 99.1 percent of people find an ad annoying at any given time. And I suspect that's why the click-through rate of most Facebook ads is so poor. They are interrupting people while they are trying to look at cat videos and their cousin’s holiday snaps.
Facebook does give you ways of being a lot more targeted with your ads than traditional mass media does. But you can be very targeted and still be obnoxious. You can do that by advertising information and advice, rather than selling products and services. Information and advice can get click through rates of around the 12- to 20-percent mark. The superior targeting options Facebook offers can push that number even higher.
So to get a better result from both your search advertising and your social advertising, use each one of them in different ways. Using search engines to drive traffic towards cornerstone content will help build your audience. Using social media to drive traffic towards specific blog content will help build loyal leads.
Once you have a loyal and engaged audience, you can start the process of marketing your goods and services. There are a number of good ways to do that. But trying to sell things to strangers is hard and expensive work.
Marketing is just a tool to grow your practice. If you keep that in mind, and plan your advertising to achieve those ends, then your challenge becomes “how can I be more helpful to customers?”. Not “how can I interrupt them more effectively?”