Hospital Marketing: An Ad is an Ad is an Ad, Right?

Placement of web ads greatly influences effectiveness.

Ads that appear on the first screen of a user’s browser window above the fold have been found to be most effective.  Research by Casale Media has shown that ads above-the fold can be seven times more effective at generating click-through than ads below the fold.

Casale analyzed nearly 2 billion ad impressions and found that users were three to four times more likely to act on an ad if it is the first or second ad they see during their session.   As the consumer continues to browse, ad effectiveness continues to diminish.

As reported in Media Post, repetition is proven to increase effectiveness. Ads seen five times or more by a consumer were 12 to 14 times more effective than ads seen less than five times.

The research also indicated that ads appearing on cluttered sites lose effectiveness.  Ads surrounded by photo galleries or clusters of other ads were much less effective.  And ads may not be seen at all when displayed on a web site that uses auto-refresh mechanisms to inflate impressions.

As hospital marketers we have long known the importance of ad placement.  We are careful which radio stations to buy and what time periods.  We buy the most watched or most cost effective television programming.  We buy specific placement in magazines. We ride outdoor locations to choose the very best addresses. And we often complain about the placement of our ads in the newspaper.

But many times in placing our hospital’s adverting on websites we have been much less particular.   That is partially because we have not known much about ad placement and the ad effectiveness on the web.   We have had our intuitions but research like the kind conducted by Casale is beginning to give us the reliable information we’ve needed.  And what we are finding is ad placement on the web is just as critical for effectiveness as every other medium.

So as hospital marketers increasingly utilize web advertising it’s important to know where the ad will be seen and in what type of environment.  There are many websites with lots of traffic but designed in such a way that makes the ads placed on the site much less effective than sites with less traffic.

And it’s still true that frequency matters.  Repetition and frequency is just as important on the internet as it is in other mediums.  It’s only effective if we commit enough to make sure it is seen and seen often.



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