Dentists Look to Digital (Ad Spending)

In March, eMarketer reposted an article from Media Buying regarding the state of ad spending. The big news is that in 2017, digital marketing will receive more dollars from advertisers than television.

That may not sound all that earth-shaking, but it represents a major shift in how to reach consumers. Dentists who want to attract more new patients should take note.

It wasn’t all that long ago that television was the way to get your message out. With the advent of the digital age, television’s advertising dominance began to slowly erode. Today, that erosion has become a something of a landslide.

In 2011, according to Forbes, U.S. TV ad spending was $71.8 billion, compared to $32 billion for online. Digital ad spending is forecast to increase to over $77 billion next year – an increase of 240% in just 6 years. Digital is clearly picking up momentum, and while television ad spending is also forecast to grow, the long-term growth estimates are in the 2% range.

As further evidence of the growing importance of online advertising, it’s estimated that by 2020 television spending will account for less than one-third of all ad spending for the first time.

Consumers, including dental patients, increasingly want their content “to go.” Google announced in May 2015 that mobile search had overtaken desktop search. And, research has shown that consumers who searched out a business using mobile search were more ready to buy.

Businesses are noticing. According to the article, U.S. mobile ad spending in the US will grow 38.0% this year to account for over 63% of the total digital ad spend. Nearly two-thirds of the marketing dollars spent on online advertising is going to mobile.

One factor that might help account for television advertising’s decline is the technology available on today’s more sophisticated TV’s: the remote control, the Mute button, and the ability to fast-forward through commercials on recorded programs. Viewers can channel-switch or -surf during ads, silence the audio while the commercial is playing, or skip ads altogether. It’s not surprising that companies who advertise on television might be seeing a lower return on investment than they’ve been accustomed to.

Television advertising isn’t dead – far from it – but mobile advertising is clearly the way to go to reach prospective dental patients. If you’ve traditionally spent money marketing your dental practice on TV, you might want to consider reallocating some of that money to online, mobile-friendly ads.

Mobile advertising offers a different set of challenges to dentists than does television advertising.

  • Your online ads must be mobile-friendly, or compatible across all mobile devices, or you risk having it not display well.
  • Your ads must load quickly, or the shorter attention span of consumers today will have them looking elsewhere.
  • Screen sizes on mobile devices are much smaller, so ads have to be focused on driving potential patients to your website or to call your practice.

The trend toward mobile consumption of information, and advertising, shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, there’s evidence that mobile viewing will eventually become the norm. Dentists who want to reach prospective patients where they view will look to digital.