9 Healthcare Marketing Trends You Need to Know in 2024

min read
9 Healthcare Marketing Trends You Need to Know in 2024

2024 is a mixed bag for the U.S. healthcare industry. There are strong growth opportunities as the global economy recovers, buoying advertising expenditures. There is also plenty of demand as the largest population cohort — the Baby Boomers — ages into long-term care.

However, there are also a lot of factors that could stymie performance. 2024 is an election year, and there are uncertainties about the future of Medicare and Medicaid. In addition, many providers are still reevaluating their data management practices in the wake of the 2022 HHS memo about online tracking and HIPAA.

Combined with these factors is a more digital savvy breed of healthcare patient that has higher experience expectations than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way Americans interacted with healthcare providers, and going forward they are more likely to choose providers who can give them seamless experiences every step of the way.

Below, we’ll dive into these trends in more detail, and share how leading healthcare providers use conversation intelligence solutions to drive sustained growth in today’s climate.

1. Healthcare Digital Ad Spending Will Increase, Thanks to a Recovery of the Global Economy

In 2024, the global economy is showing signs of rebounding from the challenges of the past couple of years. Fears of a looming recession are abating, and economists are cautiously optimistic that a sustained recovery in the year ahead. 

This optimism has fueled renewed investment in healthcare advertising. Insider Intelligence eMarketer forecasts increased digital ad spending from $15.84 billion in 2023 to nearly $20 billion in 2024. This represents an impressive 26% increase.

As the digital advertising landscape continues to become more competitive — and cost per lead continues to rise — healthcare marketers will face increasing pressure to defend their marketing spend and prove the full ROI of their campaigns to stakeholders.

2. Baby Boomers Are Aging into Longterm Care, Increasing Demand

In 2024, the healthcare industry is poised to experience a significant increase in demand, largely driven by the aging baby boomer cohort. This demographic, born between 1946 and 1964, represents a sizable portion of the population, and as they age, they’ll need specialised medical care for health issues like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, and dementia. They’ll also require access to healthcare services like assisted living, home healthcare, and hospice care.

3. The Election Raises Uncertainties About Medicare and Medicaid, Regulations

The healthcare industry is keeping a close eye on the 2024 presidential election, as its results will have a ripple effect throughout the industry. The outcome of the election has the potential to shape healthcare policies, regulations, and funding, particularly concerning programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Healthcare organisations are monitoring the candidates' stances on issues such as healthcare financing, insurance coverage, and pharmaceutical pricing, as these factors can significantly impact their operations and financial stability.

Moreover, the industry is grappling with uncertainties around regulatory matters, including views on horizontal and vertical integration within the healthcare sector. Potential changes in regulations could affect mergers and acquisitions, partnerships, and competition among healthcare providers, leading to shifts in market dynamics. 

4. Increased Focus on Privacy and HIPAA Compliance

In 2022, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued a reminder bulletin outlining the use of online tracking as it relates to HIPAA in 2022, which added another wrinkle to healthcare marketing compliance. While the bulletin did not provide new guidance or policy, it led healthcare marketers to reevaluate their existing ad and website tracking solutions. In some cases, healthcare companies took the drastic action of removing conversion tags and turning off automated solutions like Google Ads Smart Bidding.

The shockwaves of this memo continue to reverberate in 2024, as healthcare organisations take a critical look at their marketing practices to ensure data privacy and the security of PHI.

5. Digitally-Savvy Patients Engage With Healthcare Providers on Mobile Devices

For many years, patients have increased their mobile device usage to contact healthcare providers, download healthcare apps, and attend telehealth appointments. There was an even more dramatic increase in mobile usage in 2020, as patients limited their in-person interactions with healthcare providers.

58% of smartphone users have downloaded a health app and 62% have used a smartphone to research a health condition. In addition, 85% of patients use their smartphones to contact their healthcare provider. As this channel continues to grow in popularity, healthcare marketers have shifted the majority of the advertising budget to target mobile device users.

Providing a seamless mobile experience — online and over the phone — will be critical for 2023.

6. Reviews Will Be a Game Changer in Healthcare Marketing

Once a patient has converted, their input on your healthcare services is invaluable when it comes to convincing others to choose you as well. Reviews provide an outlet for your current patients to, hopefully, advocate for you and develop a deeper sense of trust with those who are on the market. Your patients will have the opportunity to discuss topics like appointment punctuality, the level of care they received, how attentive their physicians were, etc. Remember, reviews can be a blessing and a curse (even if you do everything right by the patient) so review management is just as important as making them available. Be sure to respond professionally to disgruntled patient reviews to de-escalate the situation should the situation arise. We dig deeper into that in the SEO strategy later in the post. 

7. Patients Will Require More Personalisation

Every patient’s needs are going to be different so the way they want to interact and which of your channel options will be different too. A great sense of empathy needs to be considered when it comes to how your patients want to communicate, so you’ll need to be flexible, receptive, and adaptable to your patients' needs. With 88% of them making phone calls to schedule appointments after doing their own research online, it’s important to personalise the full digital-to-call experience and make it as seamless as possible.

8. Telehealth Appointments Will Continue to Increase

Telehealth appointments have been increasing over the past few years. The COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated patient adoption. Some of the largest telehealth providers in the US reported a 60-80% increase in telemedicine appointments since the COVID-19 outbreak.

To adapt to this shift, healthcare marketers need to create seamless telehealth experiences for patients. You need to ensure the entire process of scheduling a telehealth appointment is frictionless, from finding information about telehealth on your website or IVR, to calling to schedule an appointment, to following up post-appointment. And you need to commit to these best practices in the long term, since 80% of patients are likely to have another virtual visit, even post COVID-19.

9. Patients Will Demand Seamless Omnichannel Experiences

Going hand-in-hand with the last trend, healthcare patients will demand seamless omnichannel experiences across their entire journey. To earn their business, you’ll need to ensure they feel valued and known every step of the way.

83% of consumers say they require a positive experience to remain loyal to a brand — regardless of the channel they’re engaging on. If healthcare marketers fail to provide seamless experiences for patients, the stakes are high. 82% of consumers would switch providers as a result of a bad experience.

To get an edge over the competition in 2023, healthcare providers need to embrace personalisation across channels. This means providing a seamless experience as patients transition from online research to phone calls to in-person interactions. For example, serving patients with web ads targeted to the service they researched on your site, or automatically routing their call to their nearest clinic location.

4 Ways You Can Use Conversation Intelligence to Capitalise on Healthcare Marketing Trends

The trends above paint a bigger picture of how healthcare patient behavior is changing. In 2024, patients have higher experience expectations than ever before. They want every interaction to be tailored to their needs, regardless of which channels they use to engage with providers. This includes their interactions over the phone, a channel that is often overlooked. Failing to deliver frictionless call experiences will cost you patients.

Below, we’ll cover some ways healthcare providers use conversation intelligence to create seamless digital-to-call experiences that build patient loyalty. 

1. Understand the Marketing Sources Driving Phone Leads

HIPAA- and PCI-compliant conversation intelligence solutions like Invoca allow you to understand the webpages, marketing campaigns, and keywords driving not only the most calls — but the highest quality calls to your agents and locations.  This allows you to optimise your marketing spend for the programs that are truly driving the most new patients. It also allows you to defend your marketing spend to your leadership team by proving your full impact on revenue.

For instance, a certain elective surgery may be driving a high volume of calls to your locations. However, once you use a conversation intelligence solution, you may discover many of these calls are not appointment-related — they’re billing issues. You could then decrease spend on this campaign, and instead allocate it to one that’s driving more appointment-related calls. This increases the overall revenue potential and quality of the calls coming into your phone lines.

2. Detect Issues Impacting Your Call Conversion Rates

Conversation intelligence solutions like Invoca help you create seamless call experiences that increase patient acquisition. They provide detailed reports on answer inbound call rates and call handling performance at each location or call centre that you can use to detect patient experience issues.

For example, you can see if your calls are going unanswered at specific locations and what days and times those unanswered calls occur. You can then diagnose if your marketing is sending calls to locations when they are closed or understaffed, and make adjustments.

3. Use AI to identify trends from phone conversations

Phone calls are one of the richest sources of patient data, but it’s difficult for marketers to unlock these insights — listening to every call isn’t feasible or scalable. Invoca solves this problem by using AI to capture insights and identify trends from your phone conversations at scale. 

  • Know what you’re looking for? You can use Signal AI Studio to automatically detect your chosen conversion events, call outcomes, and other important conversational topics as soon as they happen. You then can stream and activate your conversation data across hundreds of platforms as soon as the call ends.

  • Not sure what to search for? Invoca’s Signal Discovery uses unsupervised machine learning to group patient conversations into topics so you can easily identify trends from tens of thousands of conversations and take action on them in real time. 

You can use these insights to streamline your operations in a variety of ways. For example, your marketing team can update their messaging to align with the way your patients are speaking about your product, or add new keywords to their SEO strategy. Your contact centre managers can track how well agents stick to their talk tracks, and coach them more effectively. 

Additionally, your operations team may learn about new opportunities to improve the patient experience. For example, Spectrum Retirement Communities used Invoca’s AI during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to understand resident concerns and adapt its response strategy accordingly. 

4. Automatically route callers to the most qualified agent

If your contact centre is like most, you’re facing high call volumes and a lack of resources. This can harm patient satisfaction and close rates, as callers are forced to endure long hold times and multiple transfers. 

Thankfully, conversation intelligence can solve this all-too-common problem. By using data from the caller's digital journey before the call, the platform can automatically route callers to the agent best equipped to handle their inquiries. It can also give the agent relevant information about the caller’s digtial journey via a screen pop so they can answer with a personalised greeting. This not only enhances the patient experience by providing timely and relevant assistance, but also increases the likelihood of conversion by ensuring that every interaction is handled with expertise and care.

Additional Reading

Want to learn more about how Invoca helps healthcare providers use Invoca to create seamless patient experiences? Check out these resources:

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