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How to Know if Your Online Dental Marketing Ads Are Working

If online advertising is part of your office's dental marketing strategy, you want to make sure it's money well spent. There are several ways to measure that, said Ryan Vet, a dental marketing consultant, speaker and author.

Ryan started his career working with well-known brands like Samsung and Warner Brothers, and has seen the shift in advertising go from traditional media like newspapers, magazines and television to online advertising.

Types of Online Dental Marketing Ads

There are many types of online ads, which is also called digital advertising. These include:

  • Pay-per-Click Advertising (PPC): Google Ads is the most popular type of pay-per-click advertising. These are text ads that appear at the top of the website page or in the Google Maps listing box when somebody has typed a keyword into the search box on a website.  As the name implies, the advertiser pays when somebody clicks on the ad. 
  • Display Advertising: This uses images and text to grab somebody's attention. These are typically banner ads at the top of the website, skyscraper or square ads that run on one side of the website page, and pop-up ads. Display ads do not show up in search results. They can be extremely effective when used as a remarketing strategy. 
  • Remarketing: Also called "retargeting," these ads target potential patients after they have visited your website and then gone to another website. If you've ever looked at a website for shoes, for example, and then saw an ad for that same shoe company on another website, you've seen how this works. 
  • Video Ads: YouTube and other video websites allow pre-roll ads. These are typically 15-second or 30-second ads that play before you can see the video you wanted. 
  • Paid Social Media Ads: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn allow you to target specific demographics of people who are using those social media sites. You can set the parameters to include specific job titles, ages, gender, geographic proximity to your dental practice, and more qualifying information. 

What Do You Want Your Online Ads to Do?

In order to now if your online dental marketing ads are working, you need to establish your goals. Do you want to create brand awareness, which means you care more about the number of people who see them (impressions) than about the number of people who click the ad or call the practice (actions)? 

Display ads, video ads, and social media ads are frequently used to create brand awareness. They help you stay top-of-mind. Pay-per-click ads are more action-driven. They are being shown to people who are specifically searching for a term like "dentist near me" or "affordable braces in Orlando." 


Are Your Dental Marketing Ads Converting?

Once somebody clicks one of your ads, what happens? You typically want to send them to a specific landing page on your website that is designed to convert that potential patient.  In practical terms, that means you don't want to send them just to your home page. Instead, send them to a page that has the same information on it that the ad said. For example, if the ad talked about "affordable braces in Orlando," then the landing page should be about a special offer you have on braces, with a clear call to action to call your practice or fill out a form to request an appointment.

To have greater visibility into whether your pay-per-click ads are working, you can assign a tracking number to each campaign. These are custom phone numbers that instantly forward the calls to your dental practice, but now you can measure how many calls came in from that number.  You can have one phone number for your "dentist near me" campaign, and a different number for your "braces" campaign.

If your ads are generating a lot of clicks but not many calls or form completions, then the problem may be with the look of the landing page. Is the page well-designed and visually-pleasing? Is it easy to for the potential patient to know what he or she should do to make an appointment? Is the phone number big and easy-to-see? Is there a button that says "Call Now" with click-to-call functionality for people who may be viewing the information on a cell phone? Your website developer should be able to help you create a page that drives more actions.


Budgeting for Digital Dental Marketing Ads

The cost of online advertising varies. You can set limits of how much money you would like to spend each day or for the length of the campaign.  Some companies, like Facebook, will tell you how many impressions you should receive with a spend of $20.

The cost of pay-per-click advertising varies from place to place. It costs more to run a dental implant PPC ad in big cities than it does in small towns, for example. Recently, a dental implant ad cost $50 per click in Miami. The higher the competition, the more that ad will cost because the search engines will only show a certain number of ads in its search results. 

If your ads are not showing up in search results, you may need to review your budget to confirm you're spending enough to be competitive. 

In every case, it comes down to Return on Investment (ROI). If your online ads are working, then they're driving new patients to call or visit your practice. As a best practice, always ask how patients found you - or use call tracking numbers that will provide those numbers of leads to you. That way, you'll know which online ads were effective and which ones were not.

About this Industry Leader:

Ryan Vet - Profile Pic

Ryan Vet

Leadership Speaker, Author and Dental Marketing Consultant

Ryan Vet is an entrepreneur, author and national speaker in dentistry. From his first start-up when he was 14 to executive leadership roles including at an Inc 500 company, Ryan shares how to turn ordinary opportunities into extraordinary experiences for everyone you meet. Ryan's experiences have allowed him to work with national brands including Warner Brothers and Samsung. He fell in love with the dental industry while his wife, Jessica, was attending the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill pursuing her DDS.

Ryan is as an official member of the Forbes Communications Council where his insights are shared in both Forbes.com articles and on expert panels. You can also find his writings in Dental Economics and other dental publications. Ryan is the host of The Dental Experience Podcast, on which Patient Prism calls and coaching can be heard. He's presented at local and national dental conferences including Hinman Dental Meeting, Yankee Dental Congress, Florida Dental Convention, and the American Association of Dental Office Managers. In addition to his entrepreneurial ventures in dental, Ryan owns two craft beverage lounges that serve coffee, craft beer, fine wine and whiskey called The Oak House!

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