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Preview: Google Health Advertising Blog

Google Health Advertising Blog

Updated: 2017-09-27T15:22:44.919-07:00


We appreciate your interest


Thanks to everyone who has been a loyal reader of this blog over the past few months. After some consideration, we recognize that we're just not generating enough content here to warrant your time, so we won't be posting here any longer. We encourage you to visit our AdWords, AdSense and Analytics blogs for a timely dose of news, trends and best practices from the world of search advertising.(image)

Trusting the Internet for health


According to Prospectiv's "2007 Pharmaceutical Marketing CPI" poll conducted in June, 75% of 800 consumers surveyed feel the Internet is their most trusted source for health information. And not only was the Internet the most trusted medium, but it was the most reliable place to research ailment and drug information, more so than broadcast media (15%) and magazines (10%). The study also found that online consumers favor general health Web sites (54%) and ailment-focused sites (37%) over pharmaceutical company sites (4%).

What does this mean for brand managers? Jere Doyle, Prospectiv's president and CEO,
noted, "What's particularly interesting is the low number of consumers who rely on pharmaceutical sites for information, indicating that brand managers need to find new ways to peak consumer interest and engage them. Educational e-newsletters, health-focused web sites and micro-sites focused on specific ailments have proved very effective in this regard. The first step toward initiating these online resources is for brand managers to build an in-house database of self-profiled consumers who have expressed an interest in learning more about their treatment options."

Also of note from the survey: consumers tend to research often. One-t
hird conducted research at least monthly. So think about all the condition information you can bring to users apart from your branded sites, via general health websites.(image)

Health search


We know consumers looking for health information turn to search engines -- but how do they decide what to click? Advertisers continue to try to understand how online users search and find health information. Jupiter Research's new US Health Consumer Study 2007 takes us one step closer to understanding how consumers search for health information. The study's overarching theme: relevance drives clicks. Four times as many consumers who used a search engine for health info clicked on a result because it was relevant, compared to others who click because the link was to a trusted source. And fully 65% of searchers clicked because the text was most relevant to their query. In addition, the study found that people seeking health information show no bias against sponsored results (versus natural results).

Based on this research, Jupiter recommends that advertisers leverage search engine optimization and paid search with a focus on content relevance. Advertisers should continue to optimize content for search engines.(image)

Doctors and the Web 2.0


Did you know physicians are more likely than consumers to use the web and other technologies to access information? A new white paper from Manhattan Research, ‘Physician and the Web 2.0’, states that physicians are embracing Web 2.0 technologies -- podcasting, social media networks, online video, blogs -- in large numbers. In fact, the study notes that more than 25,000 physicians are actively reading and posting to blogs and more than 80,000 doctors participate in online communities. For these physicians, the online landscape is evolving into an interactive forum for information sharing and education. And it’s not just the young docs who grew up on the Internet -- the report notes that an older generation of more experienced physicians want to share their ideas through this new interactive medium.

Think of all the innovative ways you can share health, medical and treatment information with physicians. Evolve your marketing strategies to make your information portable and available in new formats. Now is the time, because your doctor is more than just online.


My opinion and Google's


Well, I've learned a few things since I posted on Friday. For one thing, even though this is a new blog, we have readers! That's a good thing. Not so good is that some readers thought the opinion I expressed about the movie Sicko was actually Google's opinion. It's easy to understand why it might have seemed that way, because after all, this is a corporate blog. So that was my mistake -- I understand why it caused some confusion.

But the more important point, since I doubt that too many people care about my personal opinion, is that advertising is an effective medium for handling challenges that a company or industry might have. You could even argue that it's especially appropriate for a public policy issue like healthcare. Whether the healthcare industry wants to rebut charges in Mr. Moore's movie, or whether Mr. Moore wants to challenge the healthcare industry, advertising is a very democratic and effective way to participate in a public dialogue.

That is Google's opinion, and it's unrelated to whether we support, oppose or (more likely) don't have an official position on an issue. That's the real point I was trying to make, which was less clear because I offered my personal criticism of the movie.

Update: For those of you who haven't noticed, there's a further perspective live on the main Google corporate blog that sheds more light on the company's views. As for me, I wholeheartedly believe we should work to improve the quality of health care in America and support the discourse that will drive this change.(image)

Does negative press make you Sicko?


Lights, camera, action: the healthcare industry is back in the spotlight. (Not that it ever left the stage.) Next week, Michael Moore’s documentary film, Sicko, will start playing in movie theaters across America.

The New York Times calls Sicko a “cinematic indictment of the American health care system.” The film is generating significant buzz and is sure to spur a lively conversation about health coverage, care, and quality in America. While legislators, litigators, and patient groups are growing excited, others among us are growing anxious. And why wouldn’t they? Moore attacks health insurers, health providers, and pharmaceutical companies by connecting them to isolated and emotional stories of the system at its worst. Moore’s film portrays the industry as money and marketing driven, and fails to show healthcare’s interest in patient well-being and care.

Sound familiar? Of course. The healthcare industry is no stranger to negative press. A drug may be a blockbuster one day and tolled as a public health concern the next. News reporters may focus on Pharma’s annual sales and its executives’ salaries while failing to share R&D costs. Or, as is often common, the media may use an isolated, heartbreaking, or sensationalist story to paint a picture of healthcare as a whole. With all the coverage, it’s a shame no one focuses on the industry’s numerous prescription programs, charity services, and philanthropy efforts.

Many of our clients face these issues; companies come to us hoping we can help them better manage their reputations through “Get the Facts” or issue management campaigns. Your brand or corporate site may already have these informational assets, but can users easily find them?

We can place text ads, video ads, and rich media ads in paid search results or in relevant websites within our ever-expanding content network. Whatever the problem, Google can act as a platform for educating the public and promoting your message. We help you connect your company’s assets while helping users find the information they seek.

If you’re interested in learning more about issue management campaigns or about how we can help your company better connect its assets online, email us. We’d love to hear from you! Setting up these campaigns is easy and we’re happy to share best practices.

As for Sicko, all I can say is -- go easy on that buttered popcorn.


Do people watch online video ads?


Online video is hot -- so hot it's becoming mainstream. According to comScore Video Metrix, every month, Americans stream 7 billion videos online, and 70 percent of U.S. Internet users viewing online video. Also over a month, YouTube reaches 40 million unique visitors (Neilson/Netratings May 2007). But are people watching online video ads?

The Online Publishers Association conducted a study to understand what drives video advertising success. After exposing consumers to video content and advertising, the study found that online video advertising leads to results: of the 80 percent of viewers who have watched an online video ad, 52 percent have taken some sort of action, including checking out a website (31 percent) or searching for more info (22 percent). Ad length was also a leading factor driving brand lift, with 30 second ads outpacing 15s in relevance and brand consideration.

So what does this mean? Try turning your TV spots into video ads!
Take what's on the cutting room floor for your 60 second spot and run it on YouTube. Check out this video for restless leg syndrome on YouTube. There's more that you can do with video content, in other words.


Going online for health


Posted by Neha Patel, Industry Marketing Manager, Health

Research has shown that more and more consumers are going online for health information. Our team wanted to understand this a bit further, and so we partnered with Harris Interactive on a new piece of market research to understand consumer behavior online as it relates to health conditions. For those you who attended one of our Roundtable events on June 13th or 14th to discuss this research, thank you for coming, and we hope you enjoyed it. We know you enjoyed the food!

What did we find? Online research brings consumers into the health system and effects change. We found that after gathering health information online, consumers take action!
  • Some 40 percent of consumers interact with their doctors after looking for information online
  • 78 percent take action within a month's time because of what they found online.
  • 31 percent of consumers notice health ads online while searching for information on a health question.
These findings underscore the importance of the Internet as a marketing channel. If you haven't yet heard our presentation, reach out and talk to us. We're happy to share it with you, present and discuss it at your office, or host you at Google for your own event. Email us for more information. We'll help you use this analysis to develop effective marketing campaigns.(image)

A healthy start


Khee Lee, Health Industry Manager

Welcome to our new Health Advertising Blog! We'll be posting here to help our health industry advertisers better understand how people are searching for health information, and how you as advertisers can better leverage the power of search and the Internet.

Search advertising in healthcare is incredibly effective. People are raising their hands asking for information. They're searching for your web sites and spending hours browsing online health content. They're even watching health-related videos on YouTube (like this one), and seeking other digital health assets as well. The Pew Internet Project reports that 80% of Americans go online for health information. Maybe you're even among the 66% who turn to search first. Is there a more qualified lead than that? People do want advertising in healthcare -- especially when it's relevant and targeted to them.

You may not know that our advertising teams are organized by industry. The very people who directly help healthcare partners and advertisers will be posting the latest information, trends, and best practices here. In addition, we'll also share our thoughts and random items that we hope will make you go "hmm, hadn't thought of that." We hope, in short, that the information you read here may better enable your overall marketing efforts.

We also want to hear from you, so please feel free to send us your comments.(image)