VMP 276: The Comprehensive Google Ads Overview For Veterinary Practices

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Brandon Breshears
May 29, 2024
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VMP 276: The Comprehensive Google Ads Overview For Veterinary Practices
May 29, 2024

VMP 276: The Comprehensive Google Ads Overview For Veterinary Practices

In this latest Veterinary Marketing Podcast, Brandon Breshears breaks down how vets can nail Google Ads by really getting who they're talking to and choosing their words wisely. He also gives a heads-up on the different ad types and how to make them work harder for you, plus some shoutouts to WhiteSpark and CallRail for their cool SEO and call tracking tools.‍

In this episode, we're unpacking everything you need to know about Google Ads for your vet practice. It's like finding a map to buried treasure, but instead of gold, it's full of strategies to attract the perfect pet parents to your clinic. We're not just talking about any clicks here; we're aiming for clicks that count, clicks that turn into loyal clients who trust you with their furry friends.

Now, let's chat about the magic of targeting the right crowd. Picture this: you're not casting a wide net hoping to catch a few fish; you're choosing the right bait for the fish you want. That's the minimum viable audience for you. It's about getting super specific with who you're talking to, so your message hits home every time. And when it comes to where your ads show up, it's a whole buffet of options. Search campaigns are your go-to, but there's also this new kid on the block called Performance Max campaigns. They're like the smart kids in class, using all the data to make sure your ad gets seen by folks who are actually looking for vet services.

But hey, it's not all sunshine and rainbows. We've got to talk about the pitfalls too, like those sneaky smart campaigns that might drain your budget faster than a puppy chews a slipper. And then there's the art of choosing the right keyword match types – it's a balancing act. Plus, we can't forget about display and shopping ads. They've got their quirks, but they can work wonders for your brand and online store if you play your cards right.

So, to wrap this up, mastering Google Ads is like being a digital marketing wizard for your vet practice. It's about making smart choices, analyzing the heck out of your data, and always keeping your eye on the prize – helping pets and their humans. Tune in to the episode, and let's take your practice to the next level together. Here's to making your vet practice the talk of the town (or the internet, in this case). Catch you on the podcast!

Episode Transcript

Brandon (00:00:00) - Welcome to the Veterinary Marketing Podcast, where it's all about how to attract, engage and retain clients to your vendor. Practice using digital marketing. My name is Brandon Breshears and in today's episode we are going to be talking about Google Ads. I'm going to give you the ultimate podcast guide to veterinary practice Google Ads. So if you're listening to this episode, I'm going to be time stamping this in the show notes as well as you go onto YouTube. It has timestamps on there, so certain aspects of today's episode are going to be very relevant to you. Certain aspects might not be as relevant, but hopefully you can listen to it once all through and then save this as a reference. And probably this will be valid for the next at least a couple of years. There'll probably be changes to the way that conversions are measured and things, but hopefully this is going to give you a really solid understanding of how to use Google Ads, what you should be doing, what you shouldn't be doing, and how to improve the results that you're getting.

Brandon (00:00:55) - So before we begin, we have two sponsors for today's podcast, and here they are. Are you looking to get better SEO ranking for your practice? Probably everyone I know that runs a veterinary hospital would be benefited from having better local SEO, and that's why I want to give you some free tools from one of today's sponsor. It is WhiteSpark.ca. If you go to Veterinary Marketing podcast.com/seo, that's veterinary marketing podcast.com/seo. You can sign up to get a free account to give you some amazing SEO tools. WhiteSpark gives you everything that you need for better local SEO. If you haven't heard the episode I did with Darren Shaw, be sure to go back and look at it. He is the founder and owner of this company. It is fantastic. They have Google business profile management, local rank tracking, local citation, founder, reputation builder. They even have professional SEO services if that's something that you're looking for. So go to veterinary marketing podcast.com/seo to check out WhiteSpark and the free tools that they have available for you.

Brandon (00:02:01) - You won't be disappointed. They're really cool. let me know what you think too. If you need help with any of that, please don't hesitate to reach out. But again, veterinary marketing podcast.com/seo. Have you ever said yourself, I wish I knew where these clients were coming from? If you've ever been wondering, you know what is actually driving conversions in your practice, then I have something that I think will be great for you and that is called rail call. Real is a fantastic tool that allows you to measure and see where your conversions are coming from and which of the calls and call sources are driving clients into your practice. Caldwell makes it really simple to not only see where your calls are coming from, but the AI tools that they have that track and record the conversation so that you can assign outcomes to the calls is amazing. I highly suggest all of the clients that I have used CallRail, and if you've ever wondered where my clients coming from, you can try call roll out for two weeks for free.

Brandon (00:03:04) - If you go to Veterinary Marketing podcast.com/callrail, you'll be able to try Call Rail for yourself and finally know where your clients are coming. All right. So today we're talking about Google ads. And Google ads are incredibly important. If you want to have a consistent way to drive specific customers into your practice. And the thing that I love about Google Ads is that, number one, it is trackable. Number two, it is scalable. You can turn it up, you can turn it down. And number three, you can create very specific types of avatars that you attract and convert. So there's a bunch of demand here. And when we think about any ad platforms in general, I think you need to think about how you're attracting the types of clients that you are wanting to get. So number one, you need to know who it is that you want to be attracting. I've talked about this at length in the past and it's never not important. So it's always important okay. You want to be attracting the right kinds of people, and the right kinds of people are determined by what it is that you're looking to attract, whether that's a service type you want cherry surgeries, dermatology cases, exotics, you know, you name it.

Brandon (00:04:16) - You can get very, very specific when it comes to who you want to be attracting. Or you can target demographic based. So that's, you know, let's say couples who are 25 to 34, who are childless, that have a pug and they treat their pug like their baby. So that's demographic based. Now, you can always do an overlap of those two things, but usually you want to start with one or the other, in my opinion. and I want you to think to whenever you're doing advertising in your vendor practice, when you start applying more filters and making the targeting more narrow, more specific, that is always more expensive because it limits the number of people you can show up to. And so what we want is called the minimum viable audience. And Seth Godin coined that term. And it is the smallest possible market that you can address that you want to. Now, why do you want to target smaller audiences? And the reason for that is you can craft a far better message because you're you're serving a specific group of people.

Brandon (00:05:22) - So what happens when you craft a better message? The offer is more relevant. The offer is more valuable. It feels like you're talking to them. I'll give you an example. Right now you're listening to the Veterinary Marketing podcast. You are not listening to the Small Business Marketing podcast. You might also listen to that. But because you own a veterinary practice or work in a veterinary practice, it is more valuable to you because this is specific to veterinary medicine. So that's the perfect example. Okay. And it's a small market, but for me it's who I want to work with and it's big enough to make an impact. So that's why I'm in this market. I think people oftentimes go too broad or far too narrow. If I made a veterinary Star Wars podcast, like people who are in bed med who love Star Wars, Star Wars is pretty broad. A lot of people like it, but that would probably be too niche, right? And there's not much growth for sustainable opportunities there, in my opinion.

Brandon (00:06:16) - So choose the smallest possible audience. That's going to be small enough that you can address concerns, but yet big enough that you can have a consistent claim base. Now, there are cases when like let's say you just want like three pillows a month, okay. That's a very small market. That's a very small amount. You can go very, very niche there and get the return that you're looking for. It's going to depend on your goals and things, but generally you want to have, I'd say 3 or 4 client avatars that are pretty well defined, that are going to be the think about your best types of clients and then go with them. So once you know either what types of services you want to be advertising or who you want to be showing up to, that's going to inform the campaign and what type of campaign that you do. Because ultimately, there's only two ways to target people based on demographics or based on activity. So demographics are what makes up the person. Their qualities, demographics and psychographics are under that category.

Brandon (00:07:17) - And then you have behavior. So if somebody goes on YouTube and searches, somebody goes on Google and searches, somebody goes on their maps and search somebody on Facebook and they go and look up something. I don't think Facebook is a great network for search, but Facebook thinks so. So maybe one day it'll be there. definitely. TikTok is turning into more of a search engine. It's interesting. I see that user behaviors going more towards search there, which is very, very interesting. and it'll be interesting to see how that develops. But I'm not going to talk about that today for sure. But at least understanding. We have these two roads to go down, okay. And then we can put more forks in the road down the road because you can go, okay, we're going to target people searching for people near me. And we only want to target the top 10% of income demographics. So like that's again a demographic, turn on top of a behavior. Okay. Hopefully that that makes sense so far.

Brandon (00:08:14) - So are we going to target based on behavior. We're going to target based on demographic. Those are the things you need to know. And the more specific that you want to be, it's going to determine where you're going to show up. So Google only has eight types of campaigns. And that might sound like a lot. You might be surprised if you've set up Google Ads yourself. There's a 95% chance you've set up what is called a smart campaign, and smart campaigns are total garbage. So let's just start going through all of the campaign types. I'll just go over them briefly, and then we'll dive into each one and then use cases. So step number one or type number one is smart campaigns. Smart campaigns. We have search campaigns. We have performance max campaigns, display campaigns, shopping campaigns, video campaigns app campaigns and then demand gen. So those are all that Google has there. Now when we talk about placements. Placements are the place that those ads show. So we have campaign types, we have placements, placements.

Brandon (00:09:18) - with Google, there's a bunch of placements because Google owns a lot of things. We have display which is like banner ads on CNN.com. We have search. So if somebody goes in search the top results for that we have performance max which is a mix of all of the placements available which includes Gmail discovery display maps and search. So that's everywhere, which is pretty cool. we have the video placement so that YouTube, you can place ads or images on YouTube. then we have the apps, network and that. So like the Google Play Store, for example, has all of the apps that are there. And within the apps you can place ads like on Candy crush or something. And I think those are all the different placements that that we have within Google. So, you have other sites that you can show up on. You have search, you have maps, YouTube apps, app networks. And basically what we're trying to do here is figure out, based on the target demographic that we're doing or the target activity that we're doing, what is the best and easiest way for us to reach those people? So for a lot of practices, search is one of the easiest ways to start when it comes to Google AD, because you can really show up for tailored campaigns and tailored ads based on what you want to be showing up for.

Brandon (00:10:50) - And hopefully it's going to be limited to what you actually want to be showing up for. Now, when it comes to ads, there's a lot of pitfalls because they make it very easy to get started. And I referenced this in just a second ago when I talked about smart campaigns. So smart campaigns, you put your URL in, it pulls a list of broad match keywords, chooses some targeting, creates ads for you, and you're off to the races. Now here's the problem with that. If you've ever run ads and you said yourself, this just is not working for me. I keep getting calls for shelters and sprays and neuters that are low cost and low cost vaccines, and I just don't want these types of low quality clients. It doesn't work. It does work. You did get a result, but you didn't tell it what results you want to do. It did its own thing with ad networks in general. Like if you think about the the vast majority of clientele and the vast majority of search volume that's out there, most of it is related to these non desirable services.

Brandon (00:11:42) - And so you need to make sure that you tell Google exactly what it is you're looking for. So when it comes to doing ads in general, there's ways that we can target. We can target based on keywords, what people are searching for on these different search networks and search platforms. and then within performance Max, they call those keywords signals. And we'll talk about that when we talk about performance Max. But let's talk about search and smart campaigns, because those two campaigns are informed by keywords. You probably heard about that with SEO and ads. So keywords you have three types of matches. You have broad match keywords, you have phrase match keywords and you have exact match keywords. So broad is generally broad, like if you put the word veterinarian in anything broadly related to the word veterinarian is going to show up. So if somebody searches low cost veterinarian near me, it's going to show up. If somebody searches, how much does a veterinarian make per year, it's going to show up. Not the most desirable when you're starting out.

Brandon (00:12:38) - And that's typically why those smart campaigns don't work very well. They set you up with broad match campaign, broad match keyword types into your campaigns. And so you're just showing up for everything. And Google's just kind of throwing stuff against the wall, seeing what sticks. Now with that. And in smart campaigns in particular. It is just too broad that you're going to get anybody again, we're trying to make something. There's going to be a good fit for your ideal demographic or ideal service. We have to provide value and stand out. Now, why are we doing that, by the way? Because if we don't give people a reason why they should do business with you other than the price, the only thing that they can compete against or you can compete against rather is price, right. That's the only comparison tool that a client has. So it's very important that we're able to communicate value. And that's done by targeting that minimum viable audience, because we're going to be able to make more specific offers, ads, creative, all that stuff.

Brandon (00:13:37) - So typically when starting out campaigns, you usually the best place to start is in phrase match. So phrase match. The phrase has to be in there. It has to be very closely related to the phrase that you put in. And then your ad is going to show. So phrase match is a great place because it gives you enough scale to get your ads out there, get them serving. But at the same time it's not as broad as broad match, and then it's not as limited as exact match. Now exact match it has to be exactly like it is input. So if you put veterinarian in Tampa Bay, Florida. That's open now. Somebody has to search in Tampa Bay, Florida. That's open now. And so there's not that many searches with that exact phrasing. So it's not going to show up that often. But when it does it will work. Examples that I like to use exact match or people that are looking to hire vets, for example, you want to set up a Google ad campaign and let's say you're in Austin, Texas.

Brandon (00:14:31) - You'd search for you'd put in an exact match of DVM jobs in Austin, Texas. So if somebody's searching that they put those exact words in, they're probably a veterinary. They're probably looking at moving to Austin and they're probably looking for a job. Right. So that makes sense. We want to limit it. We're not trying to get any level of volume. And it's very, very specific okay. So within search keywords are incredibly important. And also, I think when it comes to search, you want to do three things. You want to show up for the right searches, in the right locations, at the right times of day. And if you can do those three things, you're going to be successful. Now, search campaigns are changing because the way that people are using the internet is changing. Google just released last week their update to AI. They're rolling out AI, responses here. And so things are going to get weird over the next six months for sure. And I think that probably search ads are going to become a little bit less effective.

Brandon (00:15:31) - That's why I'm moving a lot more towards performance, Max. And I'm using different strategies to combine both search and performance max and the efficacy of these campaigns together to give us better results. So search encompasses search ads and smart campaigns. Smart campaigns are garbage. Don't do them. and then search campaigns are much better in general. so that's what I will say. Unless you're a low cost vaccine clinic, I think smart campaigns would work just fine. and it's not that the campaigns are garbage is that there's a lot of volume around that, and there's a lot of undesirable search traffic that you don't want to pay for. If somebody's searching for low cost vaccines and you mean you don't want to pay to get that click, you're looking for the high quality clients. The next thing we have is called performance max ads. Now, performance Max is really cool because it's across all of the placements. There's tons of ad inventory, there's a lot of really cool in-market segments that you can target. So in-market segments or people that are actively buying different things or having life events happen.

Brandon (00:16:38) - And with Google owning so many products like maps, YouTube, Google Chrome, they have a really good idea of what everybody's into. And so they know that you're adding a puppy to the household in the next three months. They know that you're buying raw dog food. They know that you're buying a cat bed or dog bed, right? Like people that buy dog toys. There's all these crazy in-market segments that you have access to through performance, Max, that really helps you to target the right kinds of people. Now, the cool thing about performance Max is that it's typically a placement that and placements. Remember, that's where your ads are showing, but it's a placement that's typically awareness based. But the campaigns are very conversion focused, meaning that even though it's showing up in display, it's targeting this person because it has a high intent for conversion or high likelihood for conversion based on the other signals that are informing who to show the ads to. So performance Max is actually a pretty cool mix of both search volume and search history as well as demographic data.

Brandon (00:17:41) - And I think that's really cool, and it's one of my favorite things now. Google is getting to a place where they're adding in a bunch of really cool features, in my opinion. Like one is called, the Data Data Studio, where you're going to be able to input your offline conversions and offline conversions or any conversions that happen not on the internet. So if you think about, like you go to target.com and you buy something to be delivered to home, that's an on site conversion, because Google can see that whole conversion process and that purchase behavior is tracked. Various practices almost exclusively have offsite conversions. And funny enough to if you have like a pharmacy or an online store, it's not hosted on your own site. So somebody else is getting that data. It's still technically an offsite offline conversion for you. I'm wondering what is an absolute needs to come up to speed with getting data transferred from practice management software to the internet so that they can see who your client is and how to how it's best converting.

Brandon (00:18:43) - So that's an important note. and I could rant about that. I've been ranting about that for the past year. If you've talked to me, you know that I'm an advocate for that. So. Data Studio allows you to upload lists of your customers, and Google can take a look at all of those people, find out the commonalities between them, and then go out and find more of those clients and customers, which is very, very cool. So. If you're thinking about how do I get more of my favorite customers or favorite clients, rather. Performance Max is a great way to do that. You need to have tracking in place, though, and that's a caveat I should say. For everything, you need to understand the customer journey, where they're coming from, how they get there, and then how they convert, so that you can give these signals to Google to have meaningful conversion data. If you don't have meaningful conversion data, it's hard to do marketing effectively. You just have to get lucky, essentially.

Brandon (00:19:37) - So. All that being said, performance Max is a really cool placement. You get to use images, videos, text, and then all of the asset extensions, which are different components that make up ads like a phone number extension, lead form extension, you know, different really cool things that are out there. The next type of ads that we have are called display ads. Display are the banner ads that you see when you're on a site, or a partner blog or something like that. And pretty straightforward. You create an image, you target people based on demographics or in market segments, and then it shows to them. Now, the problem with display ads is there are a ton, I mean, a ton of bots that are out there creating, click fraud. And so the traffic quality is terrible. You have to be very specific. Usually display works really well for scaling like e-commerce and things. So you want to have typically better. It's not like boosting a Facebook post okay. Because with Facebook you have social proof, you have people commenting, you have engagement.

Brandon (00:20:42) - And so it's not the same placement. I think a lot of people believe that display is very similar to Facebook and it's not. It's night and day. There's just so much more scale. If you wanted to, you could spend a million bucks a month on display ads and you'd still have audience to target. So it's massive. It's very cold traffic, meaning that people don't know, like and trust you. And it's difficult, difficult to convert, even for experienced marketers that have a really robust funnel, in my opinion, I think it's much more suited to e-commerce. I've tested this with retargeting, which is where you're targeting people who visited your sites and things, and still there's so much click fraud. It doesn't it doesn't work very well for vendor practices. Next we have shopping ads. Shopping ads are cool if you're selling a product, but most practices are not selling products online, so it doesn't typically make sense. if you have a site like Shopify or anything like that, shopping ads are cool.

Brandon (00:21:37) - The way that shopping ads targeting happens is you have to have a really robust description because it takes your product, your description feed and your product catalog and then uses that to figure out where to target. So it's kind of odd. You have to really manage conversions, see where things are converting, and then update descriptions based on where you're showing up and things. So very, very interesting product, but I don't think it works for most practices. Next we have video ads on YouTube. Now YouTube is fantastic because it's a lot less competition in terms of the veterinary industry, right? There's not very many veterinarians that are running ads on YouTube. You get to show and tell a story and the targeting is just fantastic. So I like YouTube a lot and video. The thing is that the barrier to entry is creating the videos. And so that's definitely a reason why fewer people get out on YouTube. companies like videos make amazing videos for your practice that you can use as marketing collateral. And so if you can get then they have a huge library tune, a subscription service.

Brandon (00:22:40) - It's a fantastic company. If you haven't heard of videos, check out videos.com. Not a not a sponsor or anything, but Craig is the owner of there and he's an awesome guy. And then It's just a cool placement. You want to make sure that you're set up for managing conversions. In a way that's going to make sense now with videos. there are native lead forms that you can run right below the video so people don't even have to leave YouTube. They just complete the conversion right there. And it's really cool. So. You want to have a game plan, you want to have a funnel built out. It's not the lowest hanging fruit, but it's definitely a huge opportunity. And by the way, this you have to think, what is the easiest way for me to get from here to customer or client coming in the door? And what is going to be the easiest way for me to do that? So that's always how I frame these conversations. There's not any reason you should go out and build this elaborate mousetrap.

Brandon (00:23:33) - That's super difficult when you can just go out and, you know, grab a client right away. So just a note there. The next we have app networks. If you have an app for your practice, you can use app ads and retarget people, on your list. Like let's say you wanted your clients to download your app. You could run an ad for that, which would be cool. And I think that's probably about the only use case for app, downloads that you'd want to use. Or app app ads rather campaign types. And those placements are all over the place as well. So it shows all over YouTube display, search all over then. the last is called demand Gen. Now demand gen is pretty similar to YouTube, but the focus is lead generation. It uses videos and images to help you create leads. And typically you'll use lead forms and things like that. within all of these campaign types, there's a bunch of nuances. But let's talk about real quick. If you want to target people based on demographics, the campaign types that you'd be running would be performance, Max display, YouTube or Demand Gen.

Brandon (00:24:47) - If you want to target people based on behaviour, the placements and by the way, there's overlap. You can do multiple on a few, but the behavioral searches would be search obviously performance Max obviously. video. You can target people based on search in video and then that's it. That's smart campaigns. But please don't use smart campaigns. So listen, I know that this is very overwhelming to some people. it might not be overwhelming to you, but you need to think about this in as simple of terms as possible. So the way that I like to think about campaigns is we have our macro goal. So what is our end goal that we're getting to. What's our easiest way to get there. And then let's break it up into the tiniest little steps possible. And those micro conversions are going to help you to troubleshoot and figure out what's not working. The truth of advertising is that everything works. It's just a variation of how well it works. If you send out flyers, it's going to work.

Brandon (00:25:46) - If you handed out flyers or business cards, it's going to work eventually. Like it? It's almost impossible that it wouldn't work right. It's just a matter of how effective is it? What is the return on investment for you and doesn't make sense to do it? So because you've run ads on Google, for example, and it doesn't work because the way that it was set up, it did work, it did drive traffic and things. You just didn't tell it. We don't want low cost vaccines. You didn't tell it. We don't want, you know, $25 spay or $25 neuter. For some reason, $25 is like the it's always in there, $25 spay neuter. I don't know who's out there doing $25 spay neuters, but somebody is. regardless, it is important that you understand each of the steps. So when we have an ad, the first thing that we do is we have the ad show up. Somebody sees it. The very first thing that they can do is click. So if nobody's clicking on the ads, the targeting is wrong.

Brandon (00:26:41) - If somebody clicks on the ad and goes to your site and doesn't convert, there's probably an offer problem. And obviously, you know you will not have baselines on conversion rates. Click through rates and understand what's average, based on your experience. But. After somebody clicks, they go. They go to the site. Do they complete the call to action? If they don't, how can we fix the landing page? Right. So it's not necessarily the ad problem. It might be the offer or the landing page. When somebody is on the landing page, do we have a confirmation piece in place? Right. If you think about all of the steps that it takes for somebody to get from being a stranger to being a client, it is a lot of steps. But map that out and think about every single possible option that you can use, to improve your your funnel and conversion rates. And if you need help with that, don't hesitate to reach out. If you've been running ads and you're frustrated it's not working as well as you'd like.

Brandon (00:27:43) - Don't hesitate to reach out. I'm always happy to help. This is what I do. This is what I love. And so if you need anything, please let me know. But I hope that this was helpful. And, it's not as complicated as some people make it out to be. Can be very simple. If you want help with your marketing, if you want help, understanding things better. I'm consistently doing free trainings. So if you go to Veterinary Marketing podcast.com, be sure to sign up for the newsletter there where, you'll get notifications on all the trainings that I have coming up for free. So hope everybody had a great day. And, we'll see you on the next episode. Bye.

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Brandon Breshears
Digital Marketer & Podcaster
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