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Dental Facebook ads in 2021: How to improve your targeting

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Facebook ads are one of the key ways dentists can generate treatment enquiries for their practice. Find out how to target your ads and analyse the data to get the best possible results.

Facebook ads conversion rate optimisation (CRO)

Facebook ads must grab attention. Typically the Facebook ad will appear in the patient’s Facebook news feed. 

The patient will scroll down their feed looking at things their friends have posted. The goal is to get them to stop scrolling when they see your ad. 

You can achieve this with an image that stands out and text that draws them in to read more. 

The image that Church Road Dental and Cosmetics uses in their Facebook Ad for a free video consultation is both relatable and topical. 

At a time when COVID-19 lockdown has meant many family members have been unable to have physical contact with each other, this speaks directly to the patients who are in their target audiences.

Remember, the first line of the text must make the patient want to read the next line, ad infinitum. Images, text, and data analysis, are at the heart of Facebook ad performance. The target audience must be identified. The ads must stand out and entice the patient to click the ad.

Consider your practice’s unique selling points

Think of the things that make your practice special. What is different about it? What skills and qualities does your team have? 

Do you have longer opening hours? Do you offer free consultations or payment plans? Is there something special about the treatments you offer?

Myokids Dental offers a free online consultation for children, which can be done from the comfort of their home. 

This works for busy families who are time poor and for children who are reluctant to visit the dentist. 

Getting to know the clinician before sitting in the chair, can help to overcome any initial barriers they may have to treatment.

Consider the target audience for each treatment

The typical patient for each treatment often varies considerably. For example, an implant patient and an Invisalign patient are generally going to have a different demographic and psychographic profile.

With Facebook ads it is possible to target patients by demographics, such as age, gender, and language, and so on. You can also target patients based on psychographics. These are attitudes, interests and opinions, such as an interest in beauty products, celebrities and so on.

Facebook enables advertisers to target patients with a wide range of options. Ranging from household income, to people who have visited your website (remarketing), and even lookalike audiences of people who share the same attributes as your exisiting patients (Facebook will generate this audience if you upload the data of the group that you want to emulate).

When a prospective patients visits your website, you can keep your practice top-of-mind using Facebook ads that appear in their news feeds.

Generally speaking, targeting by interests is broad and an individual’s association with an interest can be light. A good way to refine audiences is to use the Narrow Audience feature, so you can target only patients that match all the entered criteria. This will make the target audience smaller, but more refined.

The most important thing is to target different audiences in each ad set, so you can track which ones are performing best.

Consider the places where your ad is shown

Facebook enables you to show your ads in various places. In Facebook Ads Manager, these are called Placements.

You can choose to show your ads on desktop computers, mobile phones, Instagram, in the Facebook news feed, on the right side of Facebook, in the Audience Network, and more.

We recommend the Facebook news feed on mobile phones. However, this changes as patient’s behaviour changes, and the ecosystem changes. It can also depend on your objectives. 

For example, if you are using video, then you may find you can get a lot of exposure for a low cost via the Audience Network. It is important to track the results so you know if the lower cost clicks are actually of any value. Are they leading to more enquiries?

Create different ad sets where the only difference in the targeting, apart from the demographics and psychographics you chose, is the placement. 

Try one ad set targeting Facebook news feed on desktop computers, and one ad set targeting the Facebook news feed on mobile phones, and another ad set targeting Instagram. 

You can then look at the different results to find out which one is performing best for you. 

Use a free online tool to check the statistical significance of the results, you should ideally be basing decisions on results that have at least a 90 percent significance.

'Arguably, the most important thing about digital marketing is that it provides you with a wealth of data with which to optimise all aspects of your campaigns.'

Create a second version of each ad

It is important, and easy, to create a second ad in each ad set. When you create two ads in each ad set Facebook will automatically split test them for you. 

This means that Facebook will show one ad to visitor A and the other ad to visitor B. Facebook will then track which ad is getting the most clicks, and then show only the best performing ad.

Analyse your click-through-rates (CTR), conversion rates and booked treatments

Arguably, the most important thing about digital marketing is that it provides you a wealth of data that you can use to optimise all aspects of your campaigns.

Within Facebook Ads Manager you can look at performance data in the table of campaigns, ad sets or ads. Choose the data you want to see by changing what is displayed. 

In the top right corner above each table, you can choose different columns of performance data from the Performance drop-down list. You can also choose to breakdown the performance by delivery, action and time, using the Breakdown drop-down list and this data will then appear under each row.

  • Start by looking at the click-through-rates (CTR) of your ads and ad sets. You can see this data at the ad set level and ad level.

    At the ad level you should see the two competing ads within the ad set that you have created. At the ad set level you can see the different click-through-rates for different target audiences.

  • Then compare the CTRs for the time period selected. The longer the time, the more data you will have to look at. To make good decisions you should make sure the ad or ad set with the winning CTR has a high statistical significance, ideally over 90 percent, you can use a free online tool to check.

  • Also look at the conversion rate of the ad sets and ads. This is possible if you are using conversion tracking. Different audiences (ad sets) and ads will have different conversion rates. 
'Make the most of your ad spend by tracking the conversion rate of patient enquiries to treatment bookings. The other metric that really matters for return on investment is the percentage of the ad spend to the treatment value.'

By comparing the conversion rates you can discover which audiences and ads are achieving the highest conversion rates. 

You can then focus on the best performing audiences and ads, this can deliver you more patient enquiries at the same cost.

Ideally, you should be tracking the conversion rate of patient enquiries to treatment bookings and the percentage of the ad spend to the treatment value. Analysing this data will enable you to focus your budget on the campaigns that are bringing you the best returns. 

Optimising at this level typically takes place at the campaign level. So if you are creating separate campaigns for each treatment, you can then focus on the treatment campaigns that are delivering the best results.

Over to you

For more actionable ways to improve the results you get from paid social, click below to read the Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing. It’s packed with ways dentists can generate new patients and improve the financial performance of their practices.

Loran Simon

Loran Simon

Loran Simon is the Founder of Somnowell, one of the UK’s leading oral appliances to help to cure snoring and sleep apnea. Over the past 10 years, Somnowell’s growth has been mainly achieved using the digital marketing services of Somnowell Marketing, an agency that Loran Simon also founded and manages. The agency consistently generates thousands of new patient enquiries for Somnowell’s network of dentists.


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call with us.

We’ll take the time to understand your objectives and needs, and share our experience of working successfully with businesses like yours.