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This article originally appeared on the AAOE website and was written by Daniel Goldberg

We have all seen them – the irrelevant online ads that just get in the way of what you really want.  You try to watch a video on YouTube and before you’re allowed to watch it, you have to sit through 15 seconds of a car insurance ad, or a diaper ad, or some other ad for a product or service you will never use.  No matter what the product, the same thought usually crosses everyone’s mind, “Why are they showing this to me?”  The same is true for irrelevant banner ads and even Facebook ads.

The answer is that the advertiser only focused on a single demographic (age, location, gender, etc.) instead of a combination of demographics and behavior, known as programmatic advertising.   Behavior is how users are categorized based on both their online and offline activity and include things like internet search history, interests, products they purchase, job title, and thousands of other pieces of information.  Using this data to deploy digital ads is essentially the opposite of print or billboard advertising, as you are no longer just targeting as many people in your area as possible in hopes that someone responds.  Instead, you are using the vast amount of data available to show your digital ads to those with the highest likelihood of responding on the websites and mobile apps that they use the most.

For orthopaedic and spine practices, this behavioral data can ensure that your digital marketing efforts are seen not just by those in your area, but by those whose behaviors suggest that they are in need of orthopaedic services and thus most likely to click, call, or respond to this ad.  These ads can be video ads, Social Media ads, paid content, Google Pay Per Click ads, etc.    

If your practice is a multi-specialty practice it is also important to make sure that you have different marketing campaigns for each specialty in the practice, as the behaviors of someone with a herniated disc, for example, is often different than that of someone with a rotator cuff tear.  Knowing the behaviors and interests of those with specific injuries and conditions will allow you to make more engaging ads and target them appropriately.

Creating uniquely targeted digital marketing campaigns based on a specific orthopaedic condition will also help simplify new patient tracking and maximize ROI.  By creating separate campaigns with unique tracking, your practice will be able to know the exact source for each new patient and which campaign they saw that led them to your practice.   This will also allow you to adjust your marketing budgets accordingly based on the campaigns that generate the most results.

Using this data to refine your audience also helps control marketing spend.  For instance, with Social Media Video Marketing and YouTube Pre-Roll Advertising, you are generally charged per impression (each time someone sees your ads), so it is important to ensure that your practice is using as much behavioral data as possible to narrow down your audience to control costs.  The goal is to minimize the impressions for those who do not fit your desired demographics and behaviors so that money is not spent on wasted impressions.  Also, with this approach, those in need of treatment for a torn rotator cuff will not see the same marketing campaign as those in need of treatment for a meniscus tear, thus making your ads more relevant to each user.

Social media and online video sites have now overtaken television as the primary source of news, information, and entertainment and the average adult spends up to four hours per day on these digital platforms.  All of this time spent using online media is an opportunity for your practice to increase awareness with data and behavior targeted content and video in an incredibly cost-effective fashion. 


Daniel Goldberg is an expert in Orthopedic and Spine Practice Marketing and Public Relations.  His company, Gold Medical Marketing, represents Orthopedic and Spine Practices across the country and utilizes the most advanced Direct to Patient Marketing Strategies to increase patient volume.  Daniel has lectured on Medical Marketing at some of the most esteemed medical conferences including, AAOE 2015, Becker’s Annual Spine, Orthopedic and Pain Conference (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) and International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery 2014.  His demographic targeted approach to Orthopedic Marketing has also been featured in AAOE, Becker’s Healthcare Review, Orthopreneur and Healthcare Finance News.