Artistic representation of paid search concepts


As the healthcare industry becomes more saturated, competition for new patients is increasing rapidly. This, coupled with the fact that many potential patients are unwilling to travel more than 60 minutes for an in-office visit, has made acquiring new patients through paid search efforts more difficult than ever. Even committing to a localized paid search strategy has its downsides, as there tend to be less available volume and higher CPCs. That is why it’s crucial to have a properly developed paid search account structure – to make sure the budget is spent appropriately.

Below are four critical things to do when setting up paid search campaigns for patient acquisition.


1. Create Campaign Sets

When targeting smaller areas such as a radius around a location or a DMA, it’s preferable to break out the paid search campaigns by locations. For example, if a clinic has a location in New York, NY and another one in Newark, NJ, each location should be given its own campaign. This allows for more controlled budget management, more targeted and effective marketing strategies, and more personalized ad copy.

In addition to breaking out campaigns by location, it’s also beneficial to break them out by device. When breaking out campaigns by device you have the power to set a specific bid at the device level, instead of relying on the base bid plus a bid adjustment for the other devices. This makes it easier to control your CPCs by device as they can vary significantly based on competition. This will also allow you to stay competitive in the smaller target location. A device-specific campaign can be created by setting a campaign level -100% bid adjustment on the devices that should be excluded from that campaign.

We also advise breaking out campaigns by match type to be able to strategically leverage your ad copy and improved reporting around best performing device and match type combinations. Ideally, you should have a campaign set of nine campaigns per location, like the screenshot below.

Example of healthcare paid search campaigns structured for patient acquisition


2. Use One Keyword per Ad Group Approach

Creating single keyword ad groups is a simple but powerful way to increase ad relevance and quality score. By only having one keyword (or 2 plus plural form) per ad group you are able to write highly targeted ad copy that is specific to the term instead of writing broader ad copy that can apply to multiple keywords. This approach will almost always result in better CTRs and naturally better ad relevance, which ultimately leads to a higher quality score and lower CPCs.


3. Leverage City Related Keywords

Part of a local strategy is to use city related keywords to ensure you are capturing an audience that is looking specifically for care in the area you service. Even though they have less volume, this type of keyword usually comes with higher conversion rates because of how targeted they are. Often, they end up being among the top performing keywords in an account.

To use this approach, combine the top performing keywords with all city names within your targeted area and use modified broad as your match type to increase reach. In our experience city keywords are very targeted, so it’s a safe play to use modified broad, as long as you include negative keywords.

Here’s an example of a city keyword list:

Example of healthcare paid search keywords that leverage city-related keywords


4. Create Powerful, Location Driven Ad Copy

Your campaign’s ad copy should be driven by location, but it should also contain offers, benefits, USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and of course, a call-to-action. Make sure to include city or state names whenever you can because this is ultimately what the user is looking for and it will likely make your ad stand out. The city or state names should ideally go in the first or second headline, as these are more prominent and readable compared to descriptions. Another way to get a quick win is to use city or state names as ad paths.

Additionally, a great way to showcase offers, benefits and USP’s in ad copy without sacrificing any space in the headlines or descriptions is to add these as ad extensions. Callout extensions and structured snippet extensions can be used to add benefits and promotion extensions for any offers.


Here’s what an ad with these qualities looks like:

Example of healthcare paid search ad that is optimized for geo-patient acquisition


At Response Mine Health, we understand how competitive the healthcare industry can be, especially if your business operates in a small, defined region. Because of this, we are dedicated to helping each and every business that promotes health and wellness find the right strategy for them. If you’d like to learn more about geo-patient acquisition strategies and how they can work for you, contact us today.




Carlos Medrano is a Senior Media Manager at Response Mine Interactive focused on planning, creating and optimizing paid search campaigns. He is passionate about all aspects of digital marketing and its ever-changing world. When not in the office, you can find him playing soccer or traveling to the next city on his bucket list.
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