Looking to stay ahead of the curve in Google Ads and PPC and learn from our ppc experts? Then you’ll want to check out our top trends for 2022 and make sure you’re prepared! Everything from data collection changes to AI is on the horizon, so read on!
The Growing Need For First Party Data
Changes in privacy regulations and technologies mean the days of the traditional tracking pixel that transmit 3rd party data are numbered and first-party is taking its place.
That’s quite a sentence! So let’s unpack that.
What is a Tracking Pixel?
A tracking pixel is a small piece of code on your website that’s used to track a visitor’s activity.
Pixels were originally intended to create hit counters for websites and collect visitor information such as page views and unique visitors, but they have since become a more standard form of gathering website statistics.
You can use these pixels to track the number of people that visit your site and where they go on the site. Once a visitor loads your web page, the pixel will send information such as IP address, user agent and referrer to company servers. This information is used to gather information such as the time spent on page, actions taken and the type of browser and device.
Tracking pixels are easy to implement, you can just copy and paste a line of code into the head section of your webpage.
What Does Third Party Data Mean?
Third Party means any information that’s obtained from a third source and not directly from an individual.
It can be:
- name and address information, such as the names and addresses of individuals or businesses for direct marketing purposes
- demographic data – e.g., age range, gender, education level, income level, marital status, presence of children in the household
- behavioural data – e.g., sports enthusiast, frequent diner, a purchaser of dental treatment
It can be used to:
- identify and qualify new prospects and patients
- inform or enhance marketing to prospects and patients
- make decisions about the content, delivery, offers and media for advertising
It’s often shared, bought and sold on data marketplaces but it can be dated and unreliable.
What Is First Party Data?
Google Analytics, Customer surveys, Website, Email, Social Media, CRM Systems, etc.
Why is it so valuable to marketers?
It allows marketers to track the purchasing behaviour and leads’ characteristics. By cross-referencing data points it helps us identify audiences with similar characteristics and show your ads to the right people – at the right time.
First-party data is more accurate, provides better insights, has higher conversion rates and is a priority for maintaining customer relationships.
The ‘end is nigh’ for third-party browser-based cookies like those found in tracking pixels.
With the use of web browsers like Apple’s Safari, Mozilla’s Firefox and ad blocking software on the rise, it’s becoming difficult for online marketers to track the effectiveness of their Google Ads campaigns. As a result, they’ll need to come up with new ways to measure the performance of their campaigns in order to make sure they are getting the most out of their investment.
Apple is leading the charge in a very public way, they want to protect users from companies that are not transparent in how they use the data. The change has already caused massive disruption for digital marketers with complaints about lost revenue and a reduced consumer experience, it also means there are no purchasing behaviour data points if visitors interact with ads via apple mobile devices/tablet products.
To minimise disruption, marketers now need to focus their efforts on data from their own sites to understand, track and measure customer behaviour.
Shift from efficiency (low cost per lead) to effectiveness (actual new patients)
Generally speaking, the higher the quality of the lead (those who’ve been qualified as a good fit), the higher the cost per lead. However, when a higher quality/higher cost lead converts to treatment and becomes a patient the cost per lead is less important because those leads generate substantial profits.
That’s why it’s often better to have fewer high-quality leads than many low-quality leads from your google ads. It takes valuable resources to follow up with low-cost leads, it’s better to allocate those resources to higher quality leads even if the cost per lead is higher.
A shift is occurring in the marketing industry because of this logic and this trend is often referred to as a move from “efficiency” (low cost per lead) to “effectiveness” (actual new patients).
Below are a few Do’s and Don’ts for PPC campaign strategies for healthcare practices.
- Focus on “quality over quantity” – fewer leads but higher quality means more potential profitability and less time spent following up with unqualified leads.
- Develop the right tools to track which campaigns are the most cost-effective.
- Optimise lead generation sources – narrow down the most effective and profitable tactics to use going forward
- Don’t be afraid of a shift in culture – moving from a “cost per lead” focused mindset to a “return on investment-focused” mindset is a difficult transition. However, it’s worth the change because many practices have been using the wrong approach all along.
- But don’t focus entirely on ROI – tracking ROI can help improve profitability but it does not fully measure the effectiveness of a campaign. ROI only measures the profitability of acquiring patients, not if those patients are actually receiving treatment or the value of that treatment to your practice.
Conversion rates and Optimisation
If you’re spending money on online google ads there’s one metric that should be of vital importance to your business – the conversion rate.
With pay-per-click advertising, your conversion rate is simply the ratio of how many people who visited your page and ended up clicking through to the next page (e.g. booking form) after viewing it. This number is always changing, but you can use Google Analytics to measure it.
As a general rule, the smoother the experience for the user – the higher the conversion rates are. That’s why it’s important to optimise your pages for conversions.
Here are 10 tips for optimising your pages
#1 Improve your site speed
Users have become sensitive to the shortest of delays, which is why if your site doesn’t load as quickly as possible – they’ll likely bounce.
A great way to measure page speed is to use the ‘Performance Report’ in Google Analytics which will give you the information you need to find your slowest loading pages and work on fixing them.
#2 Reduce the number of pages users have to navigate through
It’s important for conversions that there are no distractions – so you should focus all of your efforts on one or two pages only.
#3 Include a clear and obvious CTA (Call to Action)
The call-to-action is the text that describes what you want your users to do – whether that’s ‘sign up’, ‘book now’ or ‘claim your slot now’, if your call-to-action isn’t obvious, then you’ll be wasting valuable space on your page or worse, you’ll confuse people and they won’t know what to do next and won’t convert.
#4 Reduce your form fields (to a point!)
Generally, the more form fields there are, the fewer conversions you’ll enjoy. That said, a little bit of friction and a few simple hoops to jump through will help filter out those with the lowest intent and leave you with fewer (but better quality) leads with higher intent.
#5 Test your main image
Your main image is the first thing a user will see, so it’s important that it stands out from the crowd and makes visitors want to click through to discover more about what you’re offering.
#6 Have consistency of messaging
When someone clicks an ad they need to instantly recognise that they’ve arrived in the right place, so remember that your landing page must flow naturally from your ad and have continuity.
#7 Use urgency
To increase conversions, try adding a sense of urgency to your page with a ‘limited offer’ or time-sensitive description. This could be anything from ‘For One Open Day Only’ or ‘Slots are filling up’. It’s important not to overuse this technique as you can risk losing patients, but it can be very powerful when used sparingly.
#8 Test different CTA text
Your call-to-action gives users direct and clear instructions for what you want them to do next and can be the difference between a conversion and no conversion. Make sure your visitors know exactly what you want them to do by testing different text for your CTAs. It might be ‘Sign Up Here’, it might be ‘Claim Your Place Now’ – just keep testing until you find the one that converts best for your business.
#9 Track your progress
Testing is an integral part of optimisation, so it’s really important to keep track of what you’re testing, when you’re testing it and how each test is performing. Google makes this process fairly easy – just set up conversion tracking for your main form or signup page, then check the ‘goal completions’ report in Google Analytics.
#10 Keep an eye on bounce rates
The point of optimising is to make the user as happy as possible throughout their journey on your site. If they’ve come from a search engine and landed straight onto a page with too little information – this will understandably infuriate them and cause them to bounce. Keep an eye on Google Analytics to see which pages are causing high bounce rates, and work on these pages to improve them.
Keyword research continues to be the foundation of any digital marketing campaign
Keyword research is the key to unlocking a deeper understanding of your patients and what they’re searching for online. A new PPC trend is an increase in importance for the intent behind that search.
Keyword research data can be used to reveal all sorts of information about patients’ interests, behaviours, purchase habits and much more. This information is incredibly valuable to healthcare businesses, especially when used in tandem with other forms of data (remember First Party data?!)
If people are being proactive and searching using certain dental keywords for example, they’re likely looking to pay for treatment that will benefit them. Unsurprisingly, patients are just like everybody else online and they’re also searching for value and convenience. But always keep in mind, value does not have to mean a low price – for the right patients. Value can also mean the life-enhancing transformational outcome of treatment.PPC campaigns should be built upon an understanding of your patient’s needs and interests.
A deeper knowledge of patients’ search behaviours can help improve digital advertising efforts like google ads campaigns – but only if you know how to use keyword research to your advantage! Armed with this knowledge, you can target their needs effectively and provide information that’s extremely valuable to them – even before the first appointment!
AI & Digital Advertising
The term “AI” is thrown around quite a bit. Many people use it to describe anything from an artificially intelligent chat-bot for mobile phones to a self-driving car. The vast majority of things described as AI are actually algorithms.
An algorithm is simply a set of step-by-step instructions for solving a problem or completing a task. To put it more simply, an algorithm is just a way to solve something using well defined steps.
AI attempts to mimic this process in machines so that they can understand what you are trying to achieve, learn from their mistakes and make better decisions for you.
How is AI used in advertising?
Digital advertising has been using artificial intelligence to target users with ads for a while now. For example, if you’ve ever seen ads for a product that you just searched for on Google, that’s because Google used your personal information to target the ad specifically to you. Platforms like Facebook Ads and Google AdWords also use artificial intelligence to determine which ads are most likely to be successful based on the user’s past behaviour. This allows advertisers to focus their money on campaigns that are more likely to result in sales, rather than wasting money on ads that no one will see.
Plus, artificial intelligence can be used to analyse a website’s traffic and search through the site for potential problems. This allows advertisers to make their sites run more smoothly, which will ultimately help them sell more treatments, services and products.
For digital advertisers, AI is a way to make ads more relevant and timely. Computers are able to use data to analyse the information they’ve gathered. They then use that information to make predictions and carry out tasks with a level of intelligence that is similar to that of humans: understanding language, learning, and making decisions based on the data they have.
Predictive marketing is nothing new, but it has always required a lot of time and effort to get right. By using AI, marketers are able to implement strategies with just a few clicks. As well as making the process much faster and easier, marketers can be more accurate and increase the user experience for their campaigns by using AI.
While AI benefits the advertiser, it also benefits consumers as well. AI is able to help create ads that fit in perfectly with every search and deliver relevant information to users thus delivering a more engaging and relevant experience.
How is AI changing the Digital Advertising landscape?
The digital advertising industry has been a hotbed of development for AI. From the algorithms that drive advertising platforms to automated solutions for ad analytics, artificial intelligence has been at the centre of Digital Advertising’s progress in recent years. The advertising industry can’t go back to the way things were before Artificial Intelligence and the future of Digital Advertising will include AI as an integral piece of every campaign. The more advertisers embrace this technology and adapt their strategies accordingly, the better they can target their patients and ultimately sell more treatments.
When you leverage AI and machine learning in combination with Pay Per Click advertising, you’re able to target audiences more accurately, meaning less click wastage, better ads quality served to people who’ll see them as the most relevant.
How is AI boosting PPC Campaigns?
Since 2018, Google has been introducing several AI Tools to help target the right audience and strategies to enable more PPC automation.
Here are a couple of examples of PPC trends for incorporating AI.
Responsive Search Ads
From June 2022, marketers will no longer be able to create Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) which required static, separate ads for every combination you wanted to show. Instead, Responsive Search Ads will take over which are dynamic entities that change depending on search terms.
Google Responsive Search Ads use AI to determine which version of ad copy will perform best in Google search ads.
The AI system looks at existing conversion data and performs analysis to work out what makes for a high-performing ad, like keywords in your text or your website’s compatibility with smartphones.
Then AI goes one step further and simulates how your ad would perform based on your ad format. Every time you make a change to improve your ads groups, AI scans the data again and learns from the changes you made to optimise future decisions, like which keywords or audience targeting options to show your ads for.
AI makes it easy to improve your ads because it does the research and decision-making for you.
At the end of the day, you want to maximise conversions while keeping costs low. AI is kind of like a digital assistant that helps you do exactly that.
Ad Strength Metric
Google’s Ad Strength AI uses machine learning to analyze data and offers advertisers recommendations as they create or edit an ad.
There are three different metrics you can use to measure the strength of your ad.
- Relevancy – focuses on how relevant your ads are to the users who see them.
- Quality – focuses on whether or not your ads are valuable and if they’re providing a positive experience for your audience.
- Diversity – measures whether or not your ad content provides a unique and valuable message to the audience.
The AI behind Google Ad Strength will perform hundreds of iterations on your ad group before recommending the best solution.
With these ranges, it’s easy to determine where you can make improvements in your campaign or ads. For example, if your AI score for Quality is high but your AI score for Diversity is low, there might be an opportunity to update your ad content. On the other hand, if your AI score for Quality is low and your AI score for Relevancy is low as well, it might be a sign that you’re targeting keywords or search terms that are too competitive.
These scores make it easy to track the performance of ads, and offer better insights into how AI can impact your overall campaign.
Google Optimisation Score Estimates
With the Google Optimisation score, you can predict how well your ad campaigns are likely to perform. Scores run from 0–100%, with 100% meaning that your account can perform at its full potential. Along with the score, you get a list of recommendations that can help optimise each campaign. Recommendations typically cover things like split testing ad copy or trying out new or different combinations of keywords.
So how does AI help with optimisation scores? AI ranks keywords based on three factors:
- quality Score
- estimated CTR
- actual bid price
AI uses the score to predict how well each campaign is likely to perform in order to make recommended bids. AI makes these estimates by looking at the historical data of your account.
Automated Bidding in
Google Adwords uses AI to automate bids based on AI calculations. The AI is constantly learning how well the auctions for certain search queries are going in Google, and adjusting the bid accordingly.
The AI calculates 3 different bidding strategies for search:
- “Target CPA” – tries to get you relevant patients at the lowest cost per customer
- “target ROAS” – tries to get the highest return on your investment by increasing bids when conversions are high, and decreasing them otherwise
- “Maximize Conversions” – tries to show ads as much as possible until you reach your budget cap. AI calculates whether or not this will result in more or less conversions over a period of time.
The AI tries to determine whether your ads will result in more conversions than those of your competitors, and adjusts bids accordingly. With AI as the brains behind automated bidding, advertisers don’t need to worry about setting their own bid or checking it every couple of hours anymore – instead, they can rely on AI to handle all of this for them and adjust bids accordingly, so they can focus on other things.
Another new trend is the growing popularity of Smart Campaigns that allow you to highlight your main treatments and services and bring the right patients to your site. You can even manage multiple campaigns that show different treatments or create a single campaign that highlights different aspects of your practice. Then you can use automatic tagging to make it easier for patients to find what they’re looking for. AI also has the ability to remind patients who’ve already visited your site about new treatments or services that might interest them.
AI takes care of everything for you once you set up your account and helps with the bidding process to bring in patients that are likely to take action like making an appointment. Smart campaigns are great for small or medium-sized businesses that have little to no experience in managing paid search campaigns. AI takes all of the guesswork out of creating and managing a paid search campaign – it’s easy to use and helps you save time.
AI frees small businesses to focus on other tasks like marketing plans or sales, rather than using time trying to manage their paid advertising campaigns.
Content Continues To Be King
In a recent AI update, it became clear that to Google, content is still king.
However, the way in which you present that content has become a major factor for website rankings. Content quality will always be the number one criteria for your search engine optimisation (SEO) success – but now the presentation and page experience are also important. The AI update is designed to reward sites that are providing users with the quality information they are searching for. The AI updates place a greater emphasis on user intent, behaviour and satisfaction when it comes to page rankings.
This means Google will prioritise pages that provide the best possible content based on the users’ search term and also deliver the best experience.
Your page has to provide:
- a good overall user experience
- quick loading
- be interactive
- security and safety
- content on the page that’s easily accessible to the user
Google’s AI will continue to reward page experience based on how long people stay on your website and whether they choose to come back in the future. The AI update is not just significant for SEO strategies but will also have a major impact on how marketers approach digital marketing content and now the content strategy has moved away from quantity – to quality.
Now more than ever, the landscape is incredibly competitive.
But the bottom line is – no matter how good or bad a page’s experience is, Google will still try to rank it with the best information overall. This means that great page content is more important than having a great page experience – but it can be an important factor.
Onwards and upwards!
With digital advertising and marketing becoming increasingly complex, it’s important to be strategic about what you’re doing. With the changes in the type of data that should be collected, the growing influence of AI for healthcare advertisers and their audiences, how google is ranking content based on the page experience – there’s a lot to take in.
We hope this breakdown of the latest ppc trends helps guide your efforts in the right direction as we head deeper into an AI driven 2022.