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3 steps to make your healthcare ads more personal

Over the last 3 years, millions of Americans have signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA, also known as Obamacare) federal and state marketplaces. In fact, the rate of uninsured adults has dropped 36 percent since the individual mandate came into effect in late 2013.The health insurance market is very competitive, and early optimizers can gain a serious advantage.

With the Medicare and ACA open enrollment periods just around the corner (October 15 to December 7, 2016, and November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017, respectively), it's time to start getting your health insurance campaigns up and running. For both Medicare and ACA coverage, consumers begin searching for new plans a month prior to the opening of the enrollment period. Aside from having your campaigns ready a month in advance, what else do you need to do and how can Bing Ads help?
Adding a touch of personalization may be a key strategy to retain and acquire customers. It might give you the razor sharp edge you need to cut into your competitors’ market share. Here are three ways to add a personalized touch to your paid search campaigns. We'll show you how to zero-in on your audience, use extensions to connect with searchers, and keep up with customers on their decision journey.

1. Use targeting to hit your mark

Targeting is essential when implementing health insurance campaigns on Bing Ads. This entails using a combination of targeting options, which allow you to boost your bids for specific audience segments. Collectively, these options help you optimize your ad schedule and reach your target audience. Let’s consider the case where you are competing for ACA marketplace searchers.
When it comes to purchasing health insurance, younger consumers are looking to keep costs low, while older consumers are looking to keep their primary care doctors.2 In addition, women are more likely than men and consumers ages 45-64 are more likely than Millennials to be insured through an ACA marketplace.3 Send tailored ads to the right searchers using a combination of time and demographic targeting to set bid adjustments for certain times, a certain age group and a specific gender.

Don’t forget about location targeting to help reach the cities and states your company covers. Because premiums vary by state and competitors by county, location targeting and location-specific ads are an important factor to consider when devising a plan to reach your audience. On the Bing Network, ten states drove 43 percent of nationwide clicks from health insurance advertising.4 If you’re operating in one of those states, invest more budget in areas with high clicks and CTR.

Regardless of location, successful campaigns target the Bing Network audience. Numbers show that about 44 million business/finance searchers use the Bing Network – including 34 million unique searchers not reached on Google – for 190 million business/finance-related searches (including health insurance searches), and accounted for 42 percent of all business/finance paid clicks.5 For more insights on our audience, visit our Audience Insights page.

2. Extend your customer service channels

Let's assume you’re serving tailored messages to targeted audiences. Now what? Make your ads more relevant and actionable with ad extensions that can help consumers find answers and connect with you more easily. Let’s consider the case where you are targeting senior consumers looking to switch their Medicare plan.
More than 56.2 million Americans rely on Medicare, but only 10 percent switch to a new Medicare medical and/or drug plan during the Medicare enrollment periods.6,7 The main reason they don’t switch: Seniors find the process of choosing a plan "frustrating," "confusing" and "overwhelming."6 However, seniors will have more of an incentive to switch in the near term because premiums in Medicare plans and out-of-pocket costs in drug plans are expected to rise.6 Alleviate some of your senior consumers' anxieties by using ad extensions.
Use Sitelink Extensions and Call Extensions to present seniors with the opportunity to access information in the way they feel most comfortable and with the least amount of effort. Add on Callout Extensions to highlight the value of your offerings. Together these extensions provide another layer of personalization to an already targeted ad.
Sitelink Extensions direct searchers to specific pages of your website, helping them get to key content faster. In the case of a senior looking to switch plans, you might include a sitelink a coverage comparison guide and one for your Contact Us page.
Call Extensions allow searchers to quickly see your phone number and call you from the search results page. Use them to list a number for customer service, for example, enabling seniors to connect with your representatives without visiting your website.
Callout Extensions allow you to "callout" or highlight plans, services, benefits or promotions, all of which make your healthcare insurance offering unique. Callout extensions permit up to four text callouts per ad. For example, you can use them to highlight competitive pricing (for example, “Low premiums,” “Affordable,” “Quick quotes,” “24/7 Customer Service”) and capture the attention of price-conscious consumers.


3. Turn lookers into buyers

Consumers spend time researching and comparing health insurance plans and may visit your website more than once in their quest. Now that consumers are clicking on your targeted ads enhanced with ad extensions, how do you keep the conversation going past that first click? Remarketing in Paid Search combined with Universal Event Tracking (UET) can support you in your effort to sustain the conversation and increase your ROI.
In the 2016 Open Enrollment period, re-enrollees outnumbered new enrollees for the first time. Furthermore, 70 percent of re-enrollees actively looked at new plan options before signing on for another year and 27 percent of re-enrollees switched insurers.8 And switchers saved an average of $504 a year on premiums, and those who switched insurers saved even more. For advertisers, it’s critical to keep your existing and potential customers engaged. You can't afford to have a lapse in communication. Remarketing in Paid Search ensures these customers have a consistent personalized reminder that they have expressed interest in your valuable offerings.

Remarketing in Paid Search can target which ads are shown to existing or potential customers based on the page they visited and the actions they took. As previous visitors to your website start researching and comparing plans on the Bing Network, they’ll see tailored ads based on their past activity. Not only does this sustain your conversation with these customers, but it also gives you a second chance to keep existing customers and to turn visitors into new customers.


Combining targeting options, ad extensions and Remarketing in Paid Search can help you hone in on your audience, extend your customer service channel and sustain the conversation. Combining these tactics can help you maintain a degree of personalization which may be that razor sharp edge you've been looking for.
For more digital marketing insights on the health insurance market, view the Health Insurance Open Enrollment: Insights for Digital Marketers presentation.

For more seasonal and vertical insights, check out the Bing Ads Insights Portal.
[2] Fair Health, “Understanding Consumer Health Insurance Preferences”, conducted by ORC International, August 12, 2015.
[4] Microsoft internal data Apr 2015 – Mar 2016, searches across all devices.
[5] comScore qSearch (custom), US, December 2015; industry categories based on comScore classifications.