When you entered dentistry, did you think it would be this competitive? Maybe you were one of the few who knew about the fierce competition, or maybe you were blindsided. Either way, there are still ways for you to get a leg up on your competition through marketing and advertising. Specifically, Google ads. 

Many of the dentists we work with employ Google Ads because they know and have experienced how many new patient leads it can bring in. Still, some common questions we hear are, “How do I evaluate my Google Ads? How do I know if my campaigns are performing well?”

That’s what we’ll go through in this post. We’ll discuss the importance of setting clear goals and objectives, click-through rates, conversion rates, cost per click, cost per conversion, return on investment, and quality score. We’ll also discuss tracking tools and regular monitoring. Buckle up; this is going to be an information-packed post. In the end, you’ll know how to determine the success of your campaigns. 

digital illustration of a man with a large measuring tape

Setting SMART Goals

George Doran, Arthur Miller, and James Cunningham, in their 1981 article titled “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management goals and objectives,” came up with the best goal-setting technique and even a fun little acronym to help people remember. A SMART goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. See how that acronym plays out?

We know you’ve likely heard this before. But have you put it into action in measuring your Google Ads campaign? We’ll start by thinking about overall business goals for a fictional practice and how Google ads play into those. Let’s call this fictional office Alpine Peaks Dentistry. Here are their goals:

  1. Provide top-tier dentistry with a stellar patient experience.
  2. Retain X% of current patients year to year. 
  3. Grow practice by X% per year. 
  4. Provide a stable and healthy work environment for employees. 

Google ads can help Alpine Peaks Dentistry grow its practice. So when they determine metrics to track, they’ll need to align with this goal. Here are some goals Alpine Peaks Dentistry can set that are SMART and aligned with their business objectives: 

  1. Increase New Patient Inquiries by 30% compared to the previous quarter.
  2. Drive awareness and engagement for TMJ treatment by achieving a 25% increase in clicks and conversions for those service-focused ads.
  3. Increase the overall brand awareness of the dental practice by aiming for a 30% increase in impressions and reach through Google Ads, year over year. 
  4. Optimize the efficiency of Google Ads campaigns by reducing the cost per conversion by 15% while maintaining or improving the conversion rate throughout Q4. 
  5. Improve the performance of ad copy and targeting to achieve a 10% increase in CTR for dental ads by 2024.
  6. Increase the overall ROI from Google Ads campaigns by aiming for a 20% increase in revenue generated from ad-driven conversions by July 2024.

Of course, the stats in these goals are fictional. The goals you’ll set for your practice’s Google Ads campaigns will depend on a number of factors, including your geographic location, the age of your practice, your target audience, and the types of services you offer. 

Metrics to Track to Reach Google Ads Goals

Now Alpine Peaks Dentistry has its SMART goals chosen for its Google Ads; they can begin to track data to determine if these goals are being reached. The metrics we’ll talk about below aren’t marketing jargon; they’re a granular way to measure the success of your goals. 

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Click-through rate is how many people who see your ad click on it. It’s that simple. In the case of Alpine Peaks Dentistry, they could have a Google ad advertising oral appliance therapy or TMJ treatment. Their CTR on that ad will help them to know if they’re:

  • Increasing new patient inquiries (if the call to action is “Call” or “Schedule an Appointment” button)
  • Driving awareness and engagement (the more clicks, the more you know people are engaged)
  • Improving the performance of their ad copy and targeting (click-through rate tells you if your ad copy is relevant to your audience).

Conversion Rate (CR)

Conversion rate is the percentage of users who have taken the desired action. So, let’s say that Alpine Peaks Dentistry has an ad that leads patients to a landing page for TMJ treatment. The user lands on that page and then calls to schedule an appointment. That would be a conversion. The CR on their Google ads helps them to know at what rate they’ve:

  • Increased New Patient Inquiries: A higher conversion rate means a greater percentage of website visitors or ad viewers are taking the desired action, such as submitting an inquiry form or calling the dental practice.
  • Promoted TMJ Treatment: A higher conversion rate for ads promoting this specific service indicates that a larger percentage of ad viewers are interested in and converting to that particular service.
  • Maximized Return on Investment (ROI): A higher conversion rate directly impacts the ROI of Google Ads campaigns.

Cost Per Click (CPC) and Cost Per Conversion (CPCo)

Cost per click is the amount of money Google charges for the click on your ad. This is determined by dividing how much you’ve spent by the number of times your campaign was clicked on. Cost per conversion is the amount of money Google charges for an ad conversion. This is determined by dividing your total spend by the number of conversions (or people who have completed your desired action.) 

In the case of Alpine Peaks Dental, the CPC and CPCo help them know if they’ve:

  • Optimized the efficiency of Google Ads campaigns: The lower the cost per click and cost per conversion, the better your ads are targeted. If you have high numbers in these metrics, you can discern that perhaps you aren’t targeting the correct audience or have the right ad messaging.
  • Increased the overall ROI: The lower these metrics are, the higher your overall ROI! Let’s say your cost per conversion is $250, and you got 10 conversions that ended in a booked appointment. The amount spent minus the revenue from the treatment is your ROI.

Return On Investment (ROI)

Speaking of ROI, this is the amount of money left over as profit after you’ve paid for the acquisition of your new patient. 

ROI can help Alpine Peaks determine if they reach their sixth goal of increasing the overall ROI from Google Ads campaigns by aiming for a 20% increase in revenue generated from ad-driven conversions by July 2024.

Quality Score (QS)

Now, that last one was probably a gimmie. But quality score may be a new term for you. Quality score is a diagnostic measure indicating the quality of your ad compared to other advertisers. In other words, your QS can tell you if you’re optimized your ads correctly. And this can get pretty granular the further you look into it, going down to the quality of specific keywords.

QS helps Alpine Peaks Dentistry to know if they’re on track for reaching their goal of optimizing the efficiency of their Google Ads campaigns and improving the performance of ad copy.

Tracking and Analytics Tools

Not going to lie. We like the tracking Google Analytics and Google Ads provide. It’s laser accurate but, albeit a little tricky to use. The vast amount of data available may make this tool a little intimidating. Nevertheless, you’ll get information directly from the source you know is accurate. 

Other tracking tools are available, too, with easier dashboards like SEMRush and Moz. But honestly, the easiest way to get these analytics is to ask your dental marketing company for a report or work with them to determine if your goals are being met. Pro Impressions Marketing works with our dentists to ensure the health of their campaigns and are completely transparent about results. 

Monitor Your Results

Setting your goals and putting a plan in place to meet them is essential, and so is monitoring your results. Keeping a closer eye on your ad campaigns helps you to know if there is a problem sooner than later, as opposed to letting it run all year and then checking up on it. 

Your dental marketing company should be monitoring your results and sharing them with you monthly. They should be taking these results and making changes in the interest of reaching your goals. 

Measure Your Success to Find Success

We hope this article will help you better measure the success of your Google ads campaigns. Your ads can be in a state of continuous improvement if you’re tracking the metrics and making changes. Go ahead and use our fictional dental office as a starting point for setting goals and measuring your success.

Google ads for dentists is different than Google ads for, say, a chiropractor, so make sure you have someone who knows what they’re doing in charge. If you need help, reach out to us by scheduling a strategy call.