Google Ads and Facebook Ads for Dentists

Can you continue to ignore paid advertising? Pay-per-click is here to stay, like it or not.

A prominent web footprint has always been a huge component of successful dental marketing campaigns and this is now accepted by most.

It used to be the case that a good website and solid organic (free) Google rankings were pretty much all you needed to secure a flow of new patients, but the current situation is somewhat different.

The web landscape has changed markedly over the last 4 or 5 years and now other channels are firmly in play, not just organic SEO. Google Ads (formerly AdWords) have been around for quite a while now and more recently, dental Facebook advertising has really taken off. These two “paid channels” are now very much a part of successful online marketing campaigns for dentists and can be used very effectively alongside a solid organic search ranking campaign.

Why consider paid advertising?

It’s fair to say that some our dental clients have historically shunned paid advertising, primarily because they don’t like the thought of paying out to Google and Facebook to get traffic and enquiries. But if you need new patients and are struggling to get them from other sources, as long as your investment in pay-per-click (PPC) pays back well, then surely it shouldn’t be discounted?

The other very important consideration is that Google and Facebook have made it much harder to use their services free of charge. This “pay to play” scenario has arisen as the Internet giants have pushed hard in the effort to monetise their platforms.

With Google, you now see far more ads appear in the search results than ever before. Particularly on mobile devices, ads take up a large proportion of the screen every time you search which understandably continues to push up the amount of website traffic from paid ads (and boost Google’s revenues!) For Facebook, the “organic reach” of your posts is now less than 4% – so for every one hundred people who liked your page, fewer than four will see the content you post, unless of course you pay!

So here we can see how and why Google and Facebook have progressively pushed businesses into advertising on their platforms.

What about return on investment?

The key to pay-per-click advertising is that it must be configured correctly to get the best returns. Overall return on poorly configured campaigns can be low and bordering on not worthwhile; however optimised campaigns can be very good indeed.

Whilst both Google and Facebook do provide ‘DIY’ ad tools, they are not very sophisticated and do no give access to the full range of features you need to correctly optimise your campaigns. Consequently we always recommend using a professional marketer who does this kind of work for a living and has a thorough understanding of how to get the best out of the platforms.

Whilst you will pay for professional services to set up and maintain your campaigns, the cost should easily be covered by the enhanced performance of the campaigns themselves.

Facebook or Google? Or both?

This is another frequently asked question and the answer can best be determined following a thorough discussion with your chosen marketing partner.

In general, Facebook is excellent for brand awareness and achieving a broad reach within your local community. There is also a range of targeting tools you can use to present your ads to the right kind of audience, although these tools have become less effective over the last 12 months or so as privacy concerns have come to the fore.

Facebook generally generates more traffic than Google for the same level of spend, albeit the traffic can tend to be less targeted and hence the relative yield can be lower. This is because you are presenting ads to an audience which isn’t necessarily searching with specific intent, rather taking part in a social activity. Hence the drop off rate to actual treatments can be quite high. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try Facebook ads; if you filter the “tyre kickers” there are plenty of worthwhile enquiries in there.

Compared to Facebook, dental Google Ads tend to deliver more targeted traffic simply because users are on the platform typically searching for good or services – so they are a good way further down the purchasing funnel. However, it can be quite costly to get the traction you need with Google Ads, particular where competition is high; for examples for treatments like dental implants or certain types of orthodontics. So you have to be realistic about the budget and understand that a few hundred pounds per month may well not be sufficient. But if the returns are there, then it has still been very worthwhile.

Getting moving with pay-per-click advertising

Hopefully I’ve shown why PPC is becoming increasingly popular and why you can benefit from it if it’s done right. Organic search positions are still a top priority for dentists, but increasingly, PPC is being used to supplement SEO campaigns – and to good effect when done right.

If you’d like to know more generally, or to discuss the specifics of advertising on Google or Facebook, please get in touch on 01332 672548. The paid ads team here at Dental Media manage many thousands of pounds of ad spend per month, delivering excellent returns for dentists across the UK. We’ll be pleased to help you get moving too!