Podcast #91

Optimizing Your Media Budget: Strategies for Healthcare Groups to Maximize ROI

On this episode of Ignite, Paid Media Supervisor, Ryan Dobrin, joins CEO, Alex Membrillo for a discussion about optimizing media budgets. The episode covers common mistakes made by clients and agencies, emphasizing the importance of tracking the right metrics and setting up campaigns correctly. The two also highlight the significance of tracking conversions that impact revenue, such as new patient acquisitions and booked appointments. So tune-in to gain valuable insights and make the most of your media budget.

Episode Highlights:

Ryan Dobrin: “In an ideal world, you want to be tracking the right things, you want to be tracking everything as far down the funnel as you can, but there are instances where it’s like, ‘Hey, all we care about is clicks and traffic, and we really want to get top of the funnel, and we need to get our brand out there.’ In those cases, we can phase it out and do a stair-step approach. “

Episode Overview

Are you interested in making the most of your media budget? You’re in the right place! In this episode of Ignite, Cardinal CEO, Alex Membrillo, and Paid Media Supervisor, Ryan Dobrin, dive into strategies and tactics tailored for healthcare groups aiming to optimize their media budget. Ryan shares his expertise in revitalizing struggling accounts and underscores the significance of accurate metric tracking and campaign setup.

Ryan’s advice on campaign structuring centers on aligning them with a company’s internal objectives and targeting strategies. Whether it involves organizing campaigns by region or priority levels, the key is to mirror the business’s operations. The episode also highlights the importance of tracking and enhancing upper-funnel activities for long-term brand awareness and efficient patient acquisition.

Furthermore, the hosts discuss how off-site retargeting can effectively engage audiences who have engaged with top-of-the-funnel video ads. This episode offers valuable insights into optimizing media budgets and achieving success in digital advertising. If you’re seeking to enhance your online marketing strategy, join us as we explore the significance of incorporating full-funnel advertising and determining the right time to start investing in it.

Related Resources

Announcer: Welcome to the Ignite Podcast, the only healthcare marketing podcast that digs into the digital strategies and tactics that help you accelerate growth. Each week, Cardinal’s experts explore innovative ways to build your digital presence and attract more patients. Buckle up for another episode of Ignite.

Alex Membrillo: What’s going on everybody? I’ve got Ryan Dobrin. You know what’s interesting about media? You would think that clients’ agencies would spend it well, but they really don’t. They really don’t. They just spend where they feel like there’s room to grow, where they need more basis, but they don’t actually look at why they need the patients or if there’s access to care. Everybody, welcome Ryan Dobrin to Ignite. [claps]

Ryan Dobrin: How’s it going?

Alex: That was the audience. That was the audience that did that. That was very good. Okay, Ryan, what’s going on? Tell us the first thing about optimizing media budgets. You go in there, you do audits for our clients all the time. You take over accounts that have been struggling, you turn them around. Guys, this is the turnaround king here. What’s the first thing when you’re looking at media budgets that you’re like, “Whoa.”

Ryan: Obviously, the first thing you want to look at is just the account structure and the settings and the setup. One of the biggest mistakes we see people make is that they’re not tracking the correct things, they’re not spending money in the correct places, and they may not be reporting on the actual results that they’re getting. A lot of times what we see is someone saying, “We’re struggling with our budgets and we’re not getting any results,” when actually they are getting some results. It’s just not attributing correctly, or they are spending money in the wrong places.

We first want to go through, make sure the account is set up correctly, make sure the conversion tracking is set up correctly, make sure the campaign targets and goals are set up correctly, and just make sure they’re set up for success in the first place.

Alex: I love it. You talk about tracking the right things. What are the right things? What do you tell a client? What should you be tracking?

Ryan: At the end of the day, you want to track money in your pocket. You want to track actual patient acquisition, you want to track butts in seats, you want to track new students, you want to track what’s going to actually put money in your pocket.

Alex: Yes. If you can’t track all the way through, it’s getting a little tricky with pixels, and GA4, and all this stuff, so we’ve got a lot. We have vendors, partners, tech partners, that help us track actual booked appointments and track all the way through. Would you say that’s the right thing to track that’s as close to revenues as we can get?

Ryan: If that’s as close as you can get, then yes, that’s going to be the ideal action. We all know that some appointments booked don’t show up or cancel or things, but at the end of the day, we can only send the right traffic to the right places, and that’s the ideal action there. At the end of the day, that’s the right type of person that they’re going to be wanting to target.

Alex: Yes. Get as close as you can and feed that information back to Google ads. The other thing that we’ve done that’s been successful is actually getting visit or patient data, not actual PII, but patient volume data by location, even though it will have no tie directly, and we can find out if advertising in Atlanta, Georgia is working because patient volume is going up.

If they’re spending 5,000 a month on that location, it’s not going up. Sometimes just getting visit volume, by location, where you’re advertising, that’ll tell you something directionally I suppose. You’re talking about tracking the right things and then add structure. What do you look at there? Do we still break out campaigns per location or is there smarter ways with smart bidding? Teach us.

Ryan: Yes. It really depends on your budget. Obviously, if someone has 100 locations, and a budget that’s big enough to support all of those locations with specific landing pages, it’s going to be more beneficial to target those. Some places, we have one really good dedicated landing page with a location finder, and we’re able to target certain markets and use a shared budget to land people there.

The benefit there, especially of a smaller budget, is that in the campaigns with smart bidding, like you mentioned, are going to learn on all of those conversions that it’s pulling. The more conversions in a campaign, the more learning and the better that that Google algorithm or the Bing algorithm or Meta algorithm is going to give you the right people for those results.

Alex: Actually, breaking it up by location by landing page can actually be counterproductive sometimes because you’re not feeding enough commercial data back?

Ryan: It can if your budgets aren’t big enough to support. If your budgets aren’t big enough to support or your capacity needs aren’t big enough to support a large amount of conversions coming through.

Alex: How do you know if your budget is big enough? Is that just impression share lost a budget because of a certain percentage? How do you know?

Ryan: Yes, it depends. It can be impression share if it’s a totally new account. Obviously, it’s doing keyword research and saying what the average cost per clicks they’re seeing, how many available impressions are in that area, seeing the competitive landscape. Like you mentioned, Atlanta. If you want to target the center of Atlanta, it’s going to be a lot more competitive for a certain type of office than if you’re maybe in a more rural area. Optimize the geographic location and really just do the research in competitive landscape there.

Alex: A lot of clients used to just spread, “I’ve got 100 locations and 100,000.” Well, that means 1,000 per location. That used to be the thing like a few years ago, and we’re trying to train clients out of it. Now let’s pick 15.

Ryan: Yes. It’s either pick 15 or group those 100 into regions and markets and have them learn against each other or with each other. Iron sharpens iron. If one office is doing well and it’s learning what type of patients that that person’s getting, it can help the performance of those other offices as well.

Alex: Yes, absolutely. Let’s talk more about that regional thing. What do you do? You bucket the 100 locations into low-priority, medium? Are they priorities and they get– take me through that.

Ryan: It really depends. One of the things we like to say here too, at the end of the day, the ideal setup is we like to structure the campaigns over that targeting, how the company is targeted. If your offices are set up on a regional, you have a regional sales manager there, we want to set it up, and if we would do that in buckets for that region, however they identify a region.

Whether that’s northeast, whether that’s New York, whether that’s Mid-Atlantic. However that is, we want to bucket it that way.

We also have people who internally, they do all of their systems based on priority tiers. They do their high-profit high-priority locations and their mid-priority locations. That’s how we’d want to bucket it that way with different budgets. It’s really we want to mirror what their internal goals are and what they’re doing internally and how they’re reporting out to their board or how they’re doing that, and that’s going to be the best way to allocate that budget.

Alex: Run your media, run your advertising like your business runs, right?

Ryan: Yes.

Alex: Yes. First things first. Would you say that when you get a new client, do you hold them back? I’m seeding the answer, I suppose. Do you hold them back if the tracking is not right before they’re increasing span or do you get right in the media allocation, you’re like, “This will be fine. Let’s do this until try.” What’s first?

Ryan: In a perfect world, we don’t want to spend a client’s money or we don’t want to showcase ourselves or our expertise if we’re not tracking things correctly, or if the landing pages aren’t optimized in the right way. Again, they’re going to be maybe wasting spend on driving the wrong people to the wrong places. You dig yourself a hole and we’re not getting to the right place.

In an ideal world, you want to be tracking the right things, you want to be tracking everything as far down the funnel as you can, but there are instances where it’s like, “Hey, all we care about is clicks and traffic, and we really want to get top of the funnel, and we need to get our brand out there.” In those cases, we can phase it out and do a stair-step approach. Ideally, we would at least get some of that in place before we start.

Alex: We’ve talked about media allocation for a lot of lower funnel, and we went right into search. What about upper funnel? We’ve gotten engagement right now that’s pinging and that’s actually a recruitment. Let’s talk patient acquisition. Where do you like to spend on– when you’re doing a media allocation for upper funnel stuff, awareness is the name of the game. Hopefully, it draws more efficient patients six months down the road. What do you look at? What are your favorite platforms? How do you divide it up?

Ryan: Yes. Again, that goes into the full-funnel approach. I’m going to say it a million times, the more funnel segments that you have, and the more channels that you’re on, the more important that tracking is, and the more important the internal data is, but some of– the DSPs stack it up or Meta ads is becoming really prevalent, especially in certain segments to really target and find people. YouTube is becoming a big place to target people. It works within the same Google ecosystem and learns across a lot of what you’re doing in paid search and other places on Google. Those are the high funnel areas where we get places.

We’ve dabbled in some OTT and different things like that. The targeting is way different there, the tracking is different there. You’re not necessarily going to need to track actual appointments booked in those higher funnel areas. You can just track, “Hey, did these people land on my page, and did they not exit exactly?” and utilize that as a branding play, filling the funnel, and the boatload. What we’ve seen as the bottom of the funnel, the paid search, retargeting all of that works better when you’re doing that full omnichannel approach.

Alex: Yes. You have the tracking in place to feed the information back. Passing no PII and no pixels, nothing. No pixels unless you have a CDP and you sorted it out. No pixels, but you can pass back the offline conversions.

Ryan: As much as you can. One of the beauties of those things, for example, when Meta ads– if you’re running top-of-the-funnel video ads, so you can’t retarget people from your website, you can retarget people who saw your video ads and engaged with that on there. There’s a way to offsite retargeting. If you’re running a certain DSPs, and right-on-top-of-the-funnel videos natively across the web, you can utilize those impression audiences and serve them back into Meta or other funnels there without violating PII or doing anything on your website.

Alex: Yes, it stays on the platform. They see whether they were served to how much of the video and then you just keep– when you look at clients, when do you tell them to start investing in full-funnel? When you have a certain amount of impression share, appointments, or booking? Well, when do you tell them to start incorporating the typically awareness channel?

Ryan: With clients what we’re doing bottom of the funnel or patient acquisition only at the bottom, if we’re getting to a point where we’re seeing really good results, and we’re not limited by budget in a lot of areas, that’s when we’ll start running. We can run small tests.

One of the beauties of the upper funnel places is it’s cheaper cost per impression and cheaper cost per clicks. Cheap is not always better, but you can utilize a smaller budget to do a bigger test in those areas. We do like to make sure especially if we’re seeing good actual ROI-based results in the lower funnel, we do like to maximize that share before we start getting into the different channels.

Alex: We’re talking about conversion and maximizing media budget. Something you mentioned, landing pages playing but also appointment availability for those that have online booking. Kudos to those that do, but that’s a big gotcha that we see is no one on their side checks the thing to make sure there’s an appointment within a week.

Ryan: Yes.

Alex: That crushes our results. [crosstalk]

Ryan: Yes, and that goes to communication. Having location trackers with people, having those capacity numbers regularly, that’s something that if you just have good communication. A lot of internal teams, they don’t know that either.

Alex: They don’t.

Ryan: Always like bringing that up, saying, “Hey, this location is doing worse. We saw that when you go to that page, capacity is full. Do we need to move that budget somewhere else where we only have 50% capacity and we need to raise that?” It’s just a matter of just making sure you have a good grasp on what you’re doing there and just having good communication with the client.

Alex: Yes, and the client’s doing their part. That’s important. Anything else that comes to mind, you think, how you allocate media? Big gotchas, yahoos, wahoos.

Ryan: I’d say just, again, make sure, what is it, all your T’s are dotted and I’s are dotted. [crosstalk] One of those things. Yes, just make sure that you’re targeting the right people. Make sure you’re doing the– don’t lose sight of the basics in the platforms you’re doing. Don’t stop doing your search query result analysis. Don’t stop testing. Always test new bid strategies or match types. Refresh ad creative based on what you’re seeing is working really well. The biggest mistakes I see is just people losing sight of the basics and getting bogged down and just making sure budgets are in good places. You want to make sure you’re doing the right optimizations regularly and tracking results there and always testing.

Alex: Update copy, update creative. It’s not just the PBC stuff, guys. You want great results, look at your land pages. Look at your copy, your creative, and their appointment availability. Ryan, thanks for joining us on Ignite.

Ryan: Thanks for having me.


Announcer: Thanks for listening to this episode of Ignite. Interested in keeping up with the latest trends in healthcare marketing? Subscribe to our podcast and leave a rating and review. For more healthcare marketing tips, visit our blog at cardinaldigitalmarketing.com.

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