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  • Writer's pictureNick Lees

Geographic Targeting Hacks for Acquiring New Patients in Google Adwords

2017 has already seen more practices advertising on Google Adwords. The PayPerClick (PPC) platform is an effective channel for acquiring new patients. But with more practices bidding for the same keywords, it’s crucial to have a strategy and savvy tactics to outdo your competition and keep your campaigns profitable.

This is the first in a series of articles revealing tried-and-tested tactics to give your practice an edge over your competition in your local market.

Basic Geographic Targeting

If your Google Adwords account is properly managed, it’s configured to show ads to patients within certain cities or a certain radius of your office. Otherwise you’re wasting money.

A plastic surgeon in Chicago, for example, shouldn’t pay for ads to show in southern Illinois, because patients are unlikely to drive 5 hours cross-state for an initial appointment.

Advanced Tactic: Location Bid Adjustments

What if you analyzed your Adwords data and discovered that people from certain cities are more likely to book appointments? Or that patients within a particular radius choose more profitable procedures? These people bring more revenue to your practice. With this knowledge, you could allocate a greater portion of your budget to targeting them.

By using Location Bid Adjustments (LBA), you can do just that. LBAs allow you to bid more or less to show your ads to people in certain locations. If you’re currently bidding $5 for a certain keyword, you can set an LBA to increase your bid by, say, 20% when someone from City X is searching for that term. Since these patients are likely to drive more profit, it’s worth bidding $6 for that same term in certain geographic areas.

In my experience auditing Google Adwords accounts, less than 5% of practices take advantage of this tool. By utilizing LBAs for your office, you’ll be one step ahead of the competition.

How to Set Up Location Bid Adjustments

  1. The first step is to set up radius targeting. Radius targeting collects data you’ll need for making budgeting decisions.

a) You’ll find this in Adwords under Campaign > Settings > All settings > Locations > Edit > Advanced Search > Radius Targeting.

b) Search for your office address.

c) Then add locations for 1 mile, 3 miles, 5 miles, 10 miles and 15 miles radius around your office.

It’ll look like this when you’re finished:

2. Let your campaign run for at least 100-200 clicks to collect data.

a. Make sure you’ve properly set up conversion tracking in Google Analytics for phone calls, contact form submissions and appointment bookings. b. The conversion tracking allows you to attribute new patients to particular campaigns and locations. c. Once the campaign has run for a bit, you can analyze your data in both the Adwords Dimensions tab and in Google Analytics to determine which radii and cities convert patients more frequently.

3. Now it’s time to input your Location Bid Adjustments.

a. Go to Campaign settings -> Locations tab in Google Adwords. b. You’ll see a spreadsheet with the radii / cities you’re targeting and a column for adding bid adjustments.

c. Simply click on the cells in the bid adjustments column to increase or decrease bids accordingly.

Notice in the image above that I’ve actually decreased bids for cities that didn’t drive patients.

It’s important to keep in mind that LBAs are cumulative. For radii, that means if you bid 10% for mile 1 around your practice, and then 5% for 3 miles, you’ll actually pay 15% more for mile 1 because mile 1 also encompassed within mile 3. Consider this when setting your bids.


By implementing these steps, you can take more control over your Google Adwords spend and drive the right patients into your office.

If you have any questions or need help with Google Adwords for new patient acquisition, drop me a line


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