A Guide to Facebook Ads for Practices
Facebook has 15 million active users in Australia (as of January 2019) which equates to roughly 60% of the population. This makes the platform great for raising awareness about your clinical services with people in your local area. This can be done through targeted Facebook Ads.
What are Facebook Ads?
Facebook Ads vs Google Ads
Facebook Ads follow the similar cost-per-click style as Google Ads, but despite their similarity, they are actually a very different kind of advertising.
When someone searches for something on Google, they are signalling an intention. For instance, if they search ‘Medical Centre’, you can safely assume they are looking for a medical centre, most likely so they can book an appointment with a doctor. In marketing speak, they are ‘purchase-ready’.
By contrast, on Facebook the people seeing your Ad have not signalled any purchase intent. They probably aren’t looking to book a doctor right now. For this reason, we recommend that medical practices use Google Ads for driving general bookings and Facebook Ads for specific types of campaigns.
- Seasonal promotions (eg. flu season)
- Preventative services (eg, travel vaccines)
- General announcements (eg. new services)
What you’ll notice about these campaigns is that they don’t require the patient to have an internal motivation to see the doctor (i.e. active symptoms or concerns). Instead, they are generally promoting services triggered by predictable external forces, such as travelling, the time of year etc.
The good news is that Facebook makes it very easy to target people based on their interests, life stage, age, gender etc. For instance, you could target ‘pregnant women’. This is something Google Ads does not allow you to specifically do.
Which campaign are you going to run?
Before setting up Facebook Ads, you need to know what campaign you are going to run. Like we mentioned above, a good campaign is something specific like ‘get a flu shot’ or ‘get your travel vaccine’. If you go too broad people will simply scroll past your ad.
Don’t just run a campaign around trying to get people in for a general appointment. Facebook is the wrong platform for such a broad campaign. Think instead about specialised services offered at your clinic. The more specific, the better.
Once you know the type of campaign you want to run, you can start to think about the audience you want to target. But for now, let’s start setting things up.
How to set up a Facebook Ads campaign
Head to your Facebook page and click the ‘Settings’ tab. Then click ‘Create Ads’.
You’ll be taken to Facebook Ads Manager.
Note: Facebook will offer to take you through a tour of the dashboard. It’s up to you whether you do the tour first then follow the steps below, or if you choose to skip the tour so you can see the same workflow as what we have set out.
Next, click ‘Create’.
Choose your objective
We recommend choosing ‘Traffic’ as your objective if you want to measure clicks. This is the most common type of campaign objective. Once you’ve chosen your objective give your campaign a name. In this example, we’ve called our campaign ‘Seasonal Flu Clinic Campaign’. Once done, click ‘Continue’.
Create your ad set
Give your ad set a name. This is where you need to start thinking about a specific audience you want to target. In this example, we’ve chosen ‘Seniors’. Keep in mind, you can target more than one audience but you’ll create a new ad set for this. The rule is one audience per ad set.
Select where the traffic will go. We recommend ‘Website’.
Select ‘Drop Pin’ and zoom in to the location of your medical centre.
We recommend selecting a radius around your medical centre of around 3km. Although this will depend on where you are located. If your practice is rural, you may want to increase this. This means that your audience must be within this radius in order to see your ad.
Select the age range and gender/s of your audience.
Once you’ve selected all of these attributes you can choose to ‘Save this audience’ so you don’t have to redo the settings next time around. Note: choose a good title (eg. Seniors near my clinic) so you know specifically what audience this is in 6 or 12 months time.
If you want to get even more specific with your audience. For instance, if you want to target ‘parents’ or ‘pregnant women’, you can do this by clicking the ‘Detailed targeting’ box. Simply type the name of the group you want to target and it should show up.
Budget & schedule
Select the budget dropdown menu and select ‘Lifetime budget’ so you know exactly how much you’ll pay for the entire campaign.
Select a budget you feel comfortable with. We recommend something higher than $100 otherwise you’re not going to get enough data to see if the campaign was actually effective.
Select the dates you want the campaign to run for. Remember you have a set maximum budget so you may want to run your ad only for a short period. This said, if your audience is fairly small you’ll want to spread the campaign out a bit so you don’t bombard the same people with your ads over and over.
We recommend setting a ‘bid cap’. This is the maximum amount you are prepared to pay for a click. The reason you want to set a cap is because Facebook can get expensive. This is because when you’re bidding on Facebook you are competing for an audience not a specific interest group.
For instance, in our example of targeting ‘Seniors’ we may be up against a brand like BMW who is also targeting seniors. Because their ad spend is so much larger than ours, they could ramp our clicks up far beyond what we are prepared to pay and all of our budget could be consumed in just a few clicks.
Once done, click ‘Continue’.
Create your ad
Choose a title for your ad name. Again, try and choose something that will be easy to keep track of when you have multiple ads running. For instance, use a number so when you create a second or third ad to target ‘Seniors’ for ‘Flu Shots’ you can keep track of which ad is which.
Choose a format. We recommend ‘Single image or video’ as these tend to convert better than other formats, but it is up to you.
Writing an effective ad
Next, it’s time to write your ad. Here are some tips to help you construct an ad that actually encourages your audience to click.
Explain the service you are providing and why it benefits patients. Focus specifically on benefits and get to the point so skim readers can get the jist in a second.
This is the URL of the web page you want the ad to go to (not the URL displayed in the ad). If you have a specific page on the service advertised, put the page URL here. Otherwise, we recommend sending traffic to your bookings page.
Write a short headline that is likely to make your target audience stop scrolling and want to know more. Often asking a question makes an effective headline and helps a reader qualify themselves as the target audience.
Call to action
We recommend using the ‘Book Now’ button if you are trying to get people to book appointments. Otherwise, you may like to use the ‘Learn More’ button. This button will link to your ‘Website URL’.
Opposite to ‘Website URL’, this is the URL you want to be displayed in the ad (not the URL that the ad is linked to). This is an opportunity to make the URL appear more related to the content. eg. adding ‘/Flu’.
News Feed link description
Add a short line of text that explains more about why the ‘Headline’ you’ve written is relevant/important.
Once you’ve finished, click ‘Confirm’.
It’s worth noting that your campaign will go immediately into an approval process. This is where Facebook’s AI checks the content to make sure there is nothing at odds with its terms of service. Once approved the ads will automatically go live. You’ll receive an email when the ads have been approved and been published.