As clinical trials continue to improve when it comes to patient recruitment, digital strategies become more and more competitive. One aspect of said strategy is a search engine marketing technique known as pay-per-click advertisements. In this arena, Google remains the front runner. In broad strokes, search engine advertising involves targeting your marketing efforts toward those patients are actively seeking information and/or treatment options for an existing condition and are looking to take the next step in their decision making process.
In today’s digital marketing landscape, grabbing the attention of your target audience is no small feat and relies on maximizing the visibility of your clinical trial. Most trials understand the value of digital marketing as the essential patient recruitment tool that it is but many may not realize just how powerful search engine advertisements are. In 2016, Google processed more than 28 billion health-related searches in the United States alone. At least 28% of those searches lead to clicks on advertisements. This data shows a massive opportunity for clinical trial exposure and outreach. Patients and their loved ones are online every single day actively searching for information related to their diagnoses. Google Ads offer a chance for your trial to get seen by your target audience before they start scanning the organic results.
How does Google AdWords work? Advertisers bid on certain keywords in order for their clickable ads to appear in Google’s search results. These ads appear at the top of a users’ results page, which are populated based on what was entered in the search bar. This auction allows advertisers to name their own price to target the search of the specific audience that they want to reach. Google, in turn, will give you the most bang for your buck by only showing ads to people most likely to click on them. While undoubtedly powerful, Google AdWords remains a complex tool to master. If creating campaigns in-house, allow yourself time to develop a methodology in order to optimize your ads and give your patient recruitment its best shot.
Here are some recommended tips to keep in mind when using Google AdWords for clinical trial patient recruitment strategy:
- The Google AdWords platform offers features such as keyword insights and geolocation. Use these tools to really focus your efforts and target the people who will be most likely to respond to your ads. Reaching the right people in your outreach strategy gives you the best odds enrolling new patients during the recruitment process.
- Focus your keywords around symptoms, treatments, and the condition itself – not clinical trials. A trial may not initially come to mind for someone looking to find more information on their diagnosis. According to the NIH, approximately 85% of cancer patients remain unaware of active clinical studies but 75% would be willing to participate if they knew they existed.
- Look at your target audience on other platforms such as Facebook. Let these attributes help inform Google users that you are trying to reach. Remember to diversify your recruitment pool as much as possible. Filters such as location and language will allow for different versions of your ads to be tailored to specific demographics.
Search engine advertising with Google AdWords is all about helping those who help themselves. The patients, loved ones, or caregivers who are going to see your ads are those who are proactive about the treatment of their condition. Meet them where they are and make it easy for them to find your clinical trial when searching. Implementing strategic AdWord campaigns will result in increased interest from well-suited candidates and higher rates of patient recruitment and retention.
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