Why Bing Should Be First In Your Healthcare Research Strategy

Any search marketer who has been in the “game” for over 10 years will tell you that after awhile you are developing a personal skill set for a specific industry.

Whether it’s travel, QSR, e-commerce, or finance, it ends up happening.

Mine is (no matter if I like it) health care and pharmaceuticals.

For some reason, I love taking care of government paperwork and FDA compliance.

Because of this, I have become a big supporter of Bing Ads (yes, I know it’s called Microsoft Advertising now, but I lack the energy to call it from its non-consumer side).

Bing is the not-so-secret weapon of paid health research.

To answer the question, you’ll probably be asking: no, Bing search volume won’t exceed Google, so don’t think you have to cut it.

It has long been theorized by industry insiders that Bing has a strong place in certain verticals, but there is little documentation to back it up.

Bing and health?

Based on demographics and behavioral data for vertical health research, Bing generally has a more self-qualified audience than most search marketers realize, which leads to more efficient traffic.


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They are often heavy desktop users in addition to being older.

The belief is that when a person focuses more on their personal health (aside from the question “do I have the flu?”), They rely more on their desktop.

When it comes to the PC, with the integration of search into Windows, Bing wins – as opposed to a younger population, which is more inclined to search only on their mobile device (Google advantage).

3 Months Rolling On Demographic Clicks – Vertical Healthcare Services * (Provided by Bing)

We compared the search performance of seven health-related brands in Bing versus Google and found that Bing delivers higher CTRs 41% of the time and lower CPCs 71% of the time.


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The conversion rate after click (lead) was higher than that of Google in only 43% of the data.

However, in the data examined, all but one instance showed that Bing had the best CPC and / or CVR, leading on average to a 38% more efficient cost per lead for Bing.

Healthcare brand data

Pharmaceutical brand # 1

Drug designed to treat the side effects of an allergic reaction.

  • Target consumer: Children under 18.
  • Target audience: Parents aged 25 to 45 or caregivers of children with life-threatening allergies.

Why Bing Should Be First In Your Healthcare Research Strategy [DATA]

Pharmaceutical brand # 2

Medicine used to reverse the signs of overdose.

  • Target consumer: Those who are new to, or habitually consuming, opioid use.
  • Target audience: Opioid users and their families or caregivers.

Why Bing Should Be First In Your Healthcare Research Strategy [DATA]

Network of medical institutions

A network of specialist medical facilities in the Midwest.

Target audience and consumer: People aged 35 and over and requiring specific medical care.

Why Bing Should Be First In Your Healthcare Research Strategy [DATA]

Specialized Medical Centers # 1

A regional chain of specialist medical centers focused on vision and hearing.

  • Target consumer: Typically those over 35 who have vision or hearing problems.
  • Target audience: People over 35 who have vision or hearing problems, as well as those close to them.

Why Bing Should Be First In Your Healthcare Research Strategy [DATA]

Specialized Medical Centers # 2

A regional chain of specialist medical centers focusing on psychiatric and psychological conditions.

  • Target consumer: Varies by condition, but ages range from 16 to 45 years old.
  • Target audience: Usually parents and relatives aged 35 and over.

Why Bing Should Be First In Your Healthcare Research Strategy [DATA]

Chain of Elderly Living Communities

A national chain of independent and assisted living communities for the elderly.


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  • Target consumer: 65 and over and no longer able to live independently in a traditional family setting.
  • Target audience: Seniors 65 years of age and over and their adult or caregiver children.

Why Bing Should Be First In Your Healthcare Research Strategy [DATA]

Medical device brand

A national chain of clinics providing a medical test and selling a device to help with a disability.

  • Target consumer: Aged 55 and over and losing a specific sense function, and needs a device to help them.
  • Target audience: 35 years and over, covering both relatives and potential consumer.

Why Bing Should Be First In Your Healthcare Research Strategy [DATA]

We went with the Google search network in all seven scenarios, but the traffic was less than 30% of its traffic.

Bing was only chosen for the platforms owned and operated.

The leads from the engines were tracked via fill-out website forms.

Google is often credited with website call leads, which Bing can’t track and likely lets them underreport the true total of leads.


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We observed that Bing’s performance peaks between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, indicating that some of the research is done while / at work.

On the other hand, that of Google was more spread throughout the day.

Why do patients love Bing?

Understanding why Bing performs the best seems to have to do with the use of the device.

This is reinforced by the typical age of the user.

Initial stage searches can be done on a mobile device, as the patient scenario progresses we see the search experience become more focused and move to desktops.

It is often not a person in the phase of becoming aware of the “patient journey” but of a person in the treatment phase, a sign of more mature and refined requests.

This leads them to be more likely to be willing to convert (to compare this to an ecommerce scenario, think of this as the bottom of the funnel-brand unrelated keyword match).

Why Bing Should Be First In Your Healthcare Research Strategy [DATA]

We theorized that:


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  • The young researcher is more likely to continue the whole process on a mobile device (a benefit for Google).
  • The older seeker is more likely to switch to the desktop or continue on the desktop (no real benefit here for either engine).

Keep in mind that in Bing, a higher Quality Score does not equate to a lower CPC (unlike Google).

When it comes to healthcare research, the desktop is king for the advanced search query. So if your search engine is majority desktop traffic, you are more likely to get a better return on the scenario.

The goal should be to bid as low as possible, while staying at the top of the first page on non-brand keywords.

Takeaway meals

Bing often seems to be able to get one metric or another in their favor just enough to make it more efficient for healthcare. This may not be the soundest reasoning for adjusting your budget strategy.

That said, there is enough evidence that in the healthcare industry, especially if your audience and consumers are older, funding from Bing first (instead of Google) will result in more efficient post-click production for your business. Brand.


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More resources:

Image credits

In-Post Image: Microsoft Advertising
All screenshots taken by author, March 2020

Brandon D. James