What happens when what you think consumers are viewing is not actually what they are viewing? This is a common question in any industry, but recent shifts in consumer preferences have left the healthcare industry reeling. With over $18.2 billion spent in healthcare advertising last year, Response Mine Health wanted to better understand what marketing outlets doctors use most and why.

We surveyed doctors across the country and asked them to rate how influential various advertising outlets were in influencing local patients’ decisions when choosing a hospital. The results of this survey, in contrast to consumer advertising preferences is quite telling. Of the doctors polled:

  • Male doctors were more likely to rank TV Advertising as being the most effective advertising channel
  • Radio and print advertising were considered to be 1.5 times less effective than social media and online advertising
  • Social media advertising was 6 times more likely to be ranked as the most important advertising outlet when compared to billboards

Social media icons floating above mobile phone

When the age demographics and generational preferences were considered an interesting trend emerged. Millennial doctors and those over the age of 45, were more likely to rank social media and online profiles as being important components hospitals should use when trying to attract new patients. Whereas, Generation X doctors (those ages 35-44) found TV advertising to be the most cost-effective and proven means of connecting with prospective patients. With such a wide disparity existing between what doctors think are the most successful advertising channels and with what consumer actually use, it is no wonder that hospitals have a great challenge in knowing where to invest their marketing dollars. Statistically, over the past decade, hospitals and healthcare providers have poured billions of dollars into TV advertising that generates only dismal results.

Yellow television on a table

Despite TV advertising as being one of the top choices among doctors, recent research has found that over 40% of consumers use information they obtain from social media to make healthcare-related decisions. This represents an incredible opportunity for hospitals and doctors to provide the public with much-needed information and strategically position themselves to advertise their health services. With 60% of social media users being willing to trust social media posts made by doctors, healthcare providers can leverage the immediacy of Facebook and Twitter to promote their practices and services to new patients. It is important to keep in mind that though posting on popular social media sites may be helpful, it should be one component of a larger, multiple-pronged online advertising strategy. A recent PricewaterhouseCooper study found that when making a decision on using a new doctor or hospital, 42% of consumers first look for online health-related consumer reviews. So, healthcare providers should look to engage patients on social media and generate positive online reviews to boost their credibility.

 

So what does this mean for healthcare advertising?

 

To capitalize on this new research, it is essential that both doctors and healthcare marketing professionals align their strategic efforts to match the outlets patients are actually consuming. Yet, crafting a winning marketing plan to reach consumers using the right channels and messages can be challenging for most healthcare providers.

At Response Mine Health, we partner with health and wellness organizations to design effective marketing plans to reach consumers where they are. Our highly specialized team will work with your organization to find the best channels to invest your marketing dollars to generate the highest ROI possible. By using the most effective online advertising strategies, you can reach more patients, for less than you may think.

Contact us to find out how to maximize your ROI.

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