Although digital marketing has been making waves in the online world of medical practices for quite some time, the last two years has really seen some dynamic changes. Digital marketing has moved from a nice-to-have to a must-have for patient acquisition and retention. These changes are driven by trends in patient behavior and preferences, mainly by Gen Z and millennials.
Bottom line, if you don’t have a solid online presence, you’re missing out on many patients.
Here are three of the most important digital trends that have been making the biggest impact in the online marketing world. How many have you integrated into your medical marketing?
1. The Shift To Video Content
Video is booming. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world with added SEO potential due to its Google connection. By 2020, Cisco predicts that video will make up 82% of the content we consume online
Video has become the predominant way people want to consume information and this goes for patients too. Information delivered via video vs. print equates to a much higher retention rate. In addition, patients who watch videos featuring a physician feel a greater level of trust. The type of video content you can create includes Q&As with physicians, patient testimonials, explainer videos, and live streaming.
Live streaming is a powerful medium because it gives your audience a chance to interact directly with you. All the major platforms are either running and encouraging live video or soon will be. Its power lies in the fact that it is more than just a one-way flow of information. Rather, viewers can pose questions and provide feedback in real time. You can use it to reach beyond the clinic and engage with patients and caregivers wherever they are and whenever they watch to watch. Additionally, live videos on Facebook and Instagram can be saved and used later, which is perfect for repurposing your videos and getting the most traction out of them.
Viewer engagement levels for live videos are ten times more than regular video by social media metrics such as likes, comments, and shares. Facebook is now putting a greater emphasis on videos. Their algorithm prioritizes live video while they are being broadcast allowing the content to appear at the top of a user’s News Feed. Additionally, Facebook Live videos are archived on Facebook and can be viewed and shared after the live broadcast.
The format is easy to use, can be low cost or professionally produced, and enjoys extremely high engagement levels. Thanks to the rise of Facebook Live, Twitter Live, and Instagram Stories’ “Live” mode you now not only have the ability to communicate with your audience via social media, you can also do so in real time. And with Millennials’ love for dynamic, real-time, interactive digital experience, Live is one of the best ways to reach them.
Recommended Reading: Hubspot’s Guide To Getting Started on Facebook Live
2. Mobile Responsive Websites Are A Must
Just over a year ago, Google announced a major change to the way its search index will rank sites: it will go mobile-first. As the company explained at the time, Google’s algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a website’s content to rank its pages. Without a mobile responsive site, not only are you losing out significantly in the organic search rankings, but Google has made it very clear that it will penalize sites that are not mobile responsive.
In March 2017, comScore released its “2017 US Cross-Platform Future in Focus” report, which tracks consumer usage patterns across digital media channels and platforms. The measurement firm found that mobile now accounts for 69 percent of digital media time spent. By comparison, the desktop has fallen to less than one-third of total digital media time. Mobile viewing is especially popular with younger adults (age 18-34) and women, the analysis found.
3. Voice Search Is On The Rise
The majority of patients searching for information on the web still trust search engines but the way people search for information online is changing. Increasingly, people are using voice search on their smartphones, tablets or voice assistants (like the Amazon Echo or Google Home devices) to search for information on the internet (yet another compelling reason to make sure that your site is optimized for mobile). According to comScore’s forecasting, 50 percent of searches will be performed through voice functions in 2020 and the majority will be done without even looking at a screen.
In essence, voice searches are largely about answering questions, not about focusing on individual keywords. SEO is fast becoming AEO (Answer Engine Optimisation). To quote NewsCred, “If you’re a marketer, “What’s the Alexa strategy?” will be a question you’ll be expected to answer.”
Social media is constantly evolving, and while you need to stay abreast of trends, you don’t necessarily need to jump on each and every one of them at once. To stay competitive in the social space, we need to be open to new technology and ready to experiment with new tools, but we shouldn’t fall for the proverbial “shiny object syndrome.”
Keep your sights on the bigger picture — ask yourself how this new technology fits with your overall strategy. The challenge as always is keeping ahead of evolving social media trends, but equally staying true to your mission and vision.
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