A Physician’s Guide to Choosing Target Audiences on Facebook

April 16th, 2019 by Jordan Polhemus

One of the most important assets in any physician’s marketing strategy is knowing your potential patients. In a field as diverse as medicine, this can mean the difference between success and failure. Therefore, we’ve put together a helpful guide to Facebook’s targeting tools to help build and improve your online audiences.

Define Your Patients

The first step in any successful strategy is defining who you want to get in front of. Imagine the type of patient you’d like to attract and jot down every characteristic about them that you can think of. For example, if you’re a plastic surgeon who would like to do more tummy tucks, then what are some general attributes of a typical tummy tuck patient? Here are some questions to help you get started:

  • Are they women or men?
  • How old are they?
  • Are they married or single?
  • What is their household income?
  • How much disposable income do they have?
  • Do they have children? If so, how many and how old are they?
  • What kind of car do they drive?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • Which schools did they attend? What level of education did they reach?
  • What are their hobbies?
  • What types of clubs or organization are they typically involved in?
  • How do they spend their free time?
  • Have they ever had plastic surgery?
  • Have their friends had plastic surgery?

Once your ideal patient has been defined, review Facebook’s guidelines to see which targeting options are available, or you can see all of Facebook’s Ad Targeting Options in one epic infographic.

Locate Your Patients

After your ideal patient has been profiled, the next step is to determine where they are. One of the biggest mistakes in marketing is casting your net too wide and spending advertising dollars on people who won’t turn into patients. Physicians must check their pride at the door and determine how far patients would realistically travel for their services. For example, a patient might travel 30 miles to see a specialist or surgeon but would likely never travel farther than 15 miles for primary care. Once you’ve determined how far a patient would be willing to travel to visit your practice, use Facebook’s tools to limit your targeting to these areas.

Refine Audience Size

Once your audience had been defined, take a step back to consider the size of the group. Review the  “Audience Definition” meter along with the “Potential Reach” number within Facebook’s campaign manager. The ideal audience has fairly specific targeting, but not so specific that the number of potential viewers is under 1,000. This ideal audience size is broad enough to be inclusive to anyone who shares the targeted interests but specific enough that the impressions aren’t wasted. You can tell that you’ve reached the ideal audience size once all of the necessary layers have been added and the numbers aren’t fluctuating as much.  

Very specific Facebook audience targeting for Search Influence in New Orleans, LA

Less specific, more general Facebook audience targeting for Search Influence in New Orleans, LA

Very broad audience targeting for Facebook campaign done by Search Influence in New Orleans, LA

Medical Industry Audience Limitations

Due to ever-evolving privacy laws worldwide, specifically in the medical field, physicians must operate (pun intended) under more strict targeting regulations. This is especially true on Facebook. One of Facebook’s most useful features allows business to upload email addresses or phone numbers directly into the platform and create custom audiences from these lists. You can then create a wide variety of custom audiences based on those lists. However, businesses in the medical industry are not permitted to create such audiences through an upload or pixel users who have visited their site because it violates medical privacy laws. Therefore, medical practices must give their targeting even more thought to serve up ads to their ideal audience.

With the tips outlined in this helpful guide to thoughtful audience creation, you, too, can be on your way to increasing engagement and building your online presence! At Search Influence, we have extensive experience working with clients in the medical industry. For more information about how we can help promote your practice on Facebook and other social media platforms, start a conversation with us today.