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Role of Digital Marketing in Healthcare Industry

written by Mandar Marathe April 14, 2020

Role of Digital Marketing in Healthcare Industry

Digital healthcare is accelerating at an immense velocity and knowing that this is just the beginning, the possibilities of it transforming healthcare services are now more evident. Unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing offers you a better way to communicate with your audience, i.e. targeting them based on their habits, products, interests, services that they use or look for and the demography that they fall under. Let’s take a deep dive into why digital marketing is the need of the hour.  

Consumers are more conscious and aware than ever

Most of their journey towards medical consultation and guidance begins on search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Usually, it either starts with the consumer searching for symptoms and DIY solutions for something that they or someone they know are suffering from. Or patients looking for doctors, specialists, clinics, diagnostics centres and hospitals around them.

Search Engine Marketing and Optimization play an important role

Search Engine Marketing and Optimization for healthcare play a huge role as it helps your hospital, clinic or centre’s website to rank first on the Search Engine Result Page. This gives you visibility, which leads to consumers or patients to visit your site first and book an appointment or test.

Impact of Digital Marketing in the Healthcare Industry

The other side of this scenario is social media marketing, that targets potential consumers who are either already using, looking for or might use similar services based on their habits, searches and demography. Both of these methods can be followed up by email marketing, which is a more direct way to remarket to the consumers who displayed an interest in previous campaigns.

Here are some statistics related to Search, Mobile & Online Video that make a case for healthcare companies to leverage the power of digital marketing:

58% of Smartphone owners download and use Mobile Health apps

A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research shows that 58 percent of surveyed mobile phone users have downloaded at least one mobile health app onto their device. Furthermore, smartphone users seem to have high regard for mobile health apps, especially those focused on providing diet and fitness support. This is directly parallel to how aware the consumer has become in terms of perceiving healthcare and opting for preventive measures to avoid future ill effects. 

Mobile Traffic to grow 7-fold by 2021:

As per Cisco’s VNI Mobile forecast highlights, 2016-2021, “Globally, mobile data traffic will grow 7-fold from 2016 to 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 47%. In India, mobile data traffic will grow 7-fold from 2016 to 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 49%.



Furthermore, according to Google Trends, India ranks among the top five countries for search terms like ‘mobile health’, ‘health apps’, ‘medical apps’ and ‘mHealth’. This confirms that the Indian population is interested in mHealth.


The Growing Influence of Social Media in Healthcare:

Over 40% of the consumers have accepted that the information and data that they come across on social media affect the way they approach and deal with their health. The age group of 18 to 24 is twice as likely than 45 to 54-year-olds to discuss health-related topics and issues on social media.

As this young population is taking over the responsibility of igniting conversations online, healthcare marketers need to adapt and be a part of this communication to stay relevant and continue creating awareness about themselves and the services that they provide. 

According to SearchEngineWatch.com, 90% of respondents from 18 to 24 years of age said they would trust medical information shared by others on their social media networks.

8 out of 10 online health inquiries start at a Search Engine


According to Pew Research Center, 77% of online health seekers in the USA say they began at a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Another 13% say they began at a site that specializes in health information, like WebMD. Most of these healthcare-related searches are local i.e. we look for a doctor or a hospital “near me”.


Search Engine Marketing for Hospitals and other Medical Institutes

As per the “Digital Journey to Wellness: Hospital Selection” survey conducted by Google and Compete that fielded more than 500 hospital researchers, search engines are a critical cog for healthcare marketers.

  • Search drives nearly 3x as many visitors to hospital sites compared to non-search visitors.
  • Patients primarily search on symptoms and condition terms towards the moment of conversion.
  • 44% of patients who research hospitals on a mobile device scheduled an appointment.
  • 53% of patients who did not watch a hospital video were unaware they existed.


Online video is a pivotal component of Hospital Research



Patients are seeking video reviews and testimonials to learn about hospitals and treatment options. Gone are the days of asking your relatives or dear ones for recommendations, people are actively looking for video testimonials, tutorials, tips and reviews for any healthcare related query or service. 



YouTube Marketing for the Healthcare Industry

A more telling statistic is that traffic from YouTube to hospital sites has increased by 119%. This displays that potential consumers are consuming informative and healthcare service-related video content which can be converted with the right strategy and targeting.

Build a Network of Healthcare Professionals

According to MedTech Media, 31% of healthcare professionals use social media for professional networking. There is a sense of community that has been developing on social media platforms since the digital revolution cemented its existence. This includes people who believe in preventive healthcare, fitness apps, online medical and nutritional consultation and similar services.

Social media is also helping healthcare professionals to create a network and share their experience and expertise through platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Is the Healthcare Industry going Digital?

It is almost mandatory for health-related organisations or businesses to have a strong presence online to scale better and establish themselves independently as a brand amongst consumers that are pro-active, conscious and aware of their well-being. 

Digital health may sound like an easy concept, i.e. enhancing the health and well-being of individuals by utilizing technological innovations that not only give them an insight of the current scenario but also, help them plan a blueprint of living a healthier lifestyle. This includes everything from wearable gadgets to healthcare apps.

The healthcare sector is evolving fast and the only way you can keep up with the consumers and their ongoing demands is to be a part of their journey.

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