Hanapin is now a
part of Brainlabs

Hanapin is now a part of Brainlabs | Find out what this means


9 Essential PPC Tips for the Health and Wellness Marketer

Written by Stephanie White and Kelsey Hadaller

According to Statista, the Health and Wellness industry will bring in more than 160 billion dollars in revenue for 2016. Considering this volume of revenue, you can see why this vertical is so competitive in paid search. According to Google Healthcare Trends, 1 out of every 20 searches is related to health and fitness. Google also reports that mobile traffic queries have increased by 23% compared to Q3 in 2015. Also, because of the removal of right hand side ads earlier this year, the competition for the top spots is fierce.


In this whitepaper, we will discuss different options for optimizing your paid search account to earn the maximum potential revenue. This whitepaper will discuss valuable topics such as:


1. Account structure

2. Text ad customizers

3. Geo-targeting

4. Negatives

5. PPC landing pages

6. Display

7. Remarketing

8. Call tracking/call extensions

9. Gmail sponsored promotions




Account structure is extremely important for every account. Plus, many health and fitness-related keywords can be very expensive, and poor account structure can waste budget. The reason it wastes budget is because it often has to do with poor user experience and quality scores, which can lead to higher costs.


First, when setting up your account structure, you will want to create different campaigns based on each network and goal. It is important to split up Search, Display and Remarketing into different campaigns. In your Search campaign, the primary goal should be driving conversions (leads or transactions) and you will want to push as much budget here when revenue is positive. Remarketing serves to remind customers about your website and help them return and convert, where Display is typically for driving brand awareness. These campaigns will perform very differently and it will help you measure your success by keeping the statistics separate.


Also, you will want to consider the layout of your website when you are setting up your campaigns. For example, when we look at Dick’s Sporting Goods’ website, it might make sense to separate our apparel campaign by demographics; Men’s, Women’s, Boys’ and Girls’ apparel.



When creating our AdGroups we would want to formulate tightly themed groups with no more than 10 – 20 keywords and focus on these sub-categories. For example, our AdGroups for Men’s apparel may look like Men’s Shirts, Men’s Graphic Tees, Men’s Hoodies, etc… With this type of setup we can also ensure our ad copy is closely aligned to our keyword theme and lands on the most relevant page on the website.


Focusing on user experience and relevance can help improve your quality score, reduce your costs, and improve your return on investment.




Ad customizers can be used to dynamically update text ads to create tailored messaging based on what the user is searching for, location, device, date, and time of day. Below are ideas for ad customizers.


Lead Generation Accounts

• Dynamically add in how many units are currently available. Example: Number of open spots left for a yoga retreat.

• Event or promotion countdown. Example: Number of days, hours and minutes left until users can sign up for a fitness conference.


E-Commerce Accounts

• Promotion countdown. Example: number of days, hours and minutes left until the end of a Black Friday sale for 25% off fitness trackers.

• Dynamically adding in how many products are in your inventory. Example: Number of high demand stationary bikes still available.

• Showing a starting price for certain products. Example: Starting price of trail running shoes.


One of most straight-forward ways to use ad customizers is the COUNTDOWN function. The Precor text ad below uses the COUNTDOWN function to convey a sense of urgency. Since the treadmill sale ends in 3 days, users may be more likely to click on the ad and consider purchasing from the Precor site than they would if this ad only included general benefits.


To set up Countdown Ads, use the parameters as shown below to populate ads dynamically. Advertisers can specify a date and time for the event or promotion to end, language, and how many days out these Countdown Ads will show. In the example below, the Planet Fitness promotion ends at midnight on January 31, 2017, is set in English, and will begin showing ads 5 days before the end date.


Desktop Preview:



Mobile Preview:





Geo-targeting has been a very useful tool for PPC marketers throughout the years, allowing visibility into what areas their conversions are coming from and what areas simply aren’t working for them. With this data, efficiencies can be implemented into the account to help shift budget to the geographic locations that perform best. With the rise of mobile devices, we are able to show users ads that are based on where they happen to be physically located at that moment. This presents a great opportunity for marketers to target people who are in or around their location at the moment they are searching.


Consider that you are working on your New Year’s resolution and your goal is to lose weight. If you are looking for Jenny Craig in Dallas, we can see on is located nearby in Irving. If you have a physical location, you may want to include location extensions, like this Jenny Craig ad does, so searchers can quickly click for directions. This can be especially beneficial for mobile searchers.



Within the Health and Wellness vertical, we can think of certain factors that might influence our geo-targeting strategies. Let’s say you are doing PPC for a hospital and want to reach potential patients. With geo-targeting, you can target your advertising within the radius where most patients come from. That way, you’re not investing marketing dollars on people who are not very likely to visit your hospital. You can also use geo-targeting as a way to target those who live in the radius of your competitors. With that strategy, you target your ads to appear around a competing hospital’s location and try to persuade their users to utilize your services instead. A great example of this might be to offer up an ad that mentions shorter wait times when someone in your competitors’ radius is searching.



Bonus Tip: You may want to use the advanced location options and set your target to people located within your targeted location. This ensures that the searcher is physically within the geography or radius your campaign is targeting.




Most PPC marketers understand the importance of negative keywords, but in the health and wellness industry we’ve seen more opportunities for negatives than many other industries. With this abundance of opportunity also comes the ability to save valuable marketing dollars along the way – marketing dollars that can be invested in keywords that are actually in alignment with your business.


So what are some of the more common negative keywords someone in the health and wellness industry should look out for? First, recognize the fact that a lot of people do health and wellness related searches to investigate and research their own health issues. With that said, you might want to consider adding negatives such as “pictures,” “photos,” and “images” to avoid people looking for pictures as they research a condition. To that same point, someone researching a health condition might also search research-related keywords that start with “what is” or include the word “definition” in it. If you’re not looking to educate your users on health conditions, then add those as negatives as well.



If your business is in cosmetic surgery, then it might make sense for this advertiser to show up when searchers are looking for Jenny Craig because the searchers may match the desired target audience.


However, you will want to make sure you are tracking all conversions, including phone calls, so you can determine if this strategy has positive ROI.


If you’re not in the veterinary business, you’ll also want to make sure you’ve incorporated some animal-related negatives, as there is a great deal of overlap in human and animal conditions and you don’t want to rack up irrelevant clicks on someone researching an animal’s condition. To this effort, you might consider adding negative keywords such as “animal,” “dog,” and “cat,” among other common animals.


Also, if you’re not in the healthcare staffing business, you’ll want to add in negative keywords to keep job-seekers away. Adding negatives such as “job” and “employment” will certainly save you a lot of budget. Unless you provide international job placement, you might want to negative out foreign countries, overseas, international and doctors without borders. Another idea is to exclude terms like resumes, sample letters, and templates.


Another example is if you offer services, but not supplies, then Massage Envy would not want to show up or waste budget on clicks for ‘massage equipment’ when they only provide massage services. You might also want to exclude supplies, jobs, and phrases like, “Start your own massage business.”



The best way for you to figure out which negative keywords make the most sense for your business is to delve into your search query reports, which will show you what specific searches are driving to your site. Sort them by spend to see where most of your PPC investment is going and work your way down from there. Once you knock out the irrelevant searches that you’re spending the most money on, you’ll start to see improvements within your campaign. Revisit this report every few months to make sure that nothing new has crept up that needs to be added to your negative list.




Within the Health and Wellness industry, as with other industries as well, your landing pages play a very important role in the process. When thinking about your landing pages, consider the intent behind the user who is searching. You will also want to consider the desired action you would like customers to take. For example, which are more valuable to your business: forms or phone calls?


Does your website do a good job of guiding customers to the specific action? Since mobile is such an important factor, be sure to also review your site from that vantage point as well.


Look at the keyword your audience members are searching before arriving at your site. Is it a broader, more general keyword about a health issue? If so, they are most likely at the top of the funnel and just beginning their search journey. Use this knowledge as an opportunity to serve your user a landing page that is most aligned to where they are in the process. In this case, perhaps it makes sense to provide that top-of-funnel user with solution-oriented content where they might be able to download some content about your product or service. If it turns out that they are closer to the bottom of the funnel, then provide them with an experience that makes it easier for them to make a purchase or become a qualified lead. Not all searches are created equal, so make sure that you take some time to think about your landing pages. After all, you’re investing your precious marketing dollars to bring them to your page. Make sure you put your best foot forward!




With so many targeting and ad formatting options on the Google Display Network, it’s crucial to develop a display strategy tailored to your business’s goals. Below are recommended display campaign strategies.



For example, if advertisers at FitBit used contextual targeting in a display campaign, this would fall under Brand Awareness. FitBit should not expect CPA to be close to overall account goal. This campaign could, however, increase Branded search traffic and would potentially increase website traffic as well, building audience lists. The audience lists would then be used to increase transactions through retargeting.




Remarketing is not only a crucial part of a sophisticated Display strategy, but also ensures that ads are being shown to low-funnel users. Keep in mind that AdWords restricts which industries are eligible to use Remarketing. Rehabilitation centers, for example, can use regular Display campaign targeting, but are not permitted to target Remarketing Audiences in any way.


In the health and wellness industry, many products and services require subscriptions. Take advantage of Remarketing for Display campaigns to remind your current customers when their annual memberships are close to expiring. The most straightforward example of this tactic is for a gym to create an Audience List targeting expiring subscribers.


Below are a few ideas for Remarketing Audiences for a gym.


1. Use a customer email list to retarget people who have signed up for a 7 day free trial membership. You also have the ability to exclude paid membership users from this list. This list can be used for Gmail Sponsored Promotions campaigns and Remarketing Lists for Search Ads campaigns to generate paid membership subscriptions.



2. Show Display ads to users who have an upcoming membership renewal date. AdWords allows audiences to be created based on the date they visited a page. For example, the below audience will include any converters from before November 1, 2015. The gym using this target could entice current members to renew.



3. The most simple way to use remarketing is to target all website visitors who have not completed any conversion actions. The below audience can be used for both Display and Search campaigns. The gym using this targeting could convey a sense of urgency by using ad copy to promote special sign up deal or highlight different benefits than top of funnel visitors since people in this list have likely already seen an ad from this company.





When it comes to PPC marketing in the Health and Wellness industry, implementing call tracking and call extensions is instrumental to your success. People are using mobile devices more than ever before, so you will want to make sure that you provide them with an easy way to contact you when they’re searching on their mobile device.


According to this study from Google, 44% of patients who researched hospitals from their phones scheduled an appointment. That’s a pretty impressive stat that really makes call extensions and call tracking a necessity these days.




Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP) allow advertisers to target Gmail users based on which terms are in their inbox. For example, Sun Basket is a meal delivery service. Their competitors include brands like Blue Apron, HelloFresh and Plated. To target relevant users likely to convert, Sun Basket should use competitor keywords.


Another option for GSP targeting is Remarketing through audience lists or Customer Match. To use Customer Match, advertisers can upload a list of emails from customer leads to AdWords.


When using display keyword or topic targeting for GSP campaigns, the objective is to build brand awareness. If the goal is to generate leads or purchases from GSP campaigns, use Customer Match.


Below is an example of a GSP collapsed ad.



After clicking on the collapsed ad, the expanded ad is then shown. Users have the option to click the CTA button (or ad content in this example) to the landing page, forward the email to someone else, save the email for later, or dismiss the GSP.



Because we also know that users typically search across devices, it’s important to ensure that we give users a way to call when searching via desktop as well. That’s where something like AdWords’ Dynamic Call Tracking or another third party product can come into play. Knowing which phone calls came from a user visiting your website is certainly helpful, but knowing which campaigns, ads, adgroups and keywords led to a phone call can help you make smart decisions about your PPC marketing campaigns.


If PPC is the marketing vehicle that led the user to dial the phone, then PPC certainly deserves some credit for that. Whether your business is selling supplements, fitness equipment, or diet plans, you’ll be able to optimize your campaigns better by knowing where your calls are coming from. You’ll be able to make data-fueled decisions about which marketing efforts are working and which aren’t. Without this data, you might turn off something that is actually making the phone ring.


While GSP campaigns aren’t expected to generate a high volume of low cost conversions, allocating a small percentage of the budget to these campaigns is a good branding and top funnel strategy in such a competitive market.




The above tips can each be tailored to lift performance for paid search accounts in the health and wellness industry. The importance of properly segmenting campaigns, ad groups, and audience lists should not be overlooked since the tailored targeting and ad formats mentioned work best when advertisers have increased control. Implement some (if not all) of these techniques in your paid search accounts and surpass the competition!