Like online dental marketing itself, PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising has changed a lot over the years. Time was when so few dentists used pay-per-click advertising that bidding on nearly any local dentistry-related term would bring you new patients.

As Adwords has grown in popularity, however, it’s become more competitive. That doesn’t mean it’s no longer a good option for dentists, though. Adwords may not be right for every dental practice, but many can benefit from a carefully managed campaign.

Why Adwords Still Makes Sense for Dentists

Perry Marshall, author of the “Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords” was quoted in a 2012 New York Times story as stating that Adwords can still turn a profit for businesses that are local, have a high barrier to entry or target a narrow niche. Many dental practices qualify as all three.

There are several reasons dental marketing through PPC advertising is still effective.

Measurable results — It’s not always easy to calculate your return on investment from a phonebook listing or newspaper ad. With Adwords, you get detailed information on which ads your visitors clicked. You’ll see exactly what grabs your potential patients’ attention and what gets them into your practice.

Budget friendly — Compared to many popular forms of dental marketing, PPC advertising can be done with a limited budget. Because Adwords allows you to set a daily budget, you have precise control over your spending. Once you see which ads perform well and which don’t, you can allocate more of your budget to your best performers.

Wide reach — Traditional offline ads will reach only a small percentage of your local community members, many of whom may not even be looking for a dentist.

A recent Pew study found 21 percent of study participants had researched specific doctors or hospitals online. Given that Google is the largest search engine and has the most extensive website ad network, chances are high they’ll come across Adwords ads while researching. That means Adwords puts your practice in front of the largest number of locals actively seeking dental care.

Dental Practices That Benefit Most

Pay-per-click dental marketing can be a real boon for practices that face strong established competition or that target specific types of patients.

New dental practices — Even if skillfully designed and promoted, a brand new website can take months to start achieving top search engine rankings and bringing you patients. If you’ve just opened for business, an Adwords campaign can get you seen on Google immediately. This way, you’ll still be attracting patients while you wait for your website performance to improve.

Practices with stiff local competition — In a larger city, you may have fifty or more practices all competing for the number one spot on Google. While it’s still possible to gain over your competition in this situation, Adwords gives you a faster and simpler way to reach the top.

Highly focused specialists — Adwords lets you target those looking for specific types of dentistry. How focused you’ll need to be to see results depends on how much competition you’re up against. In a smaller town, advertising yourself as a Pediatric Dentistry specialist may be enough to differentiate you.

In a more competitive area, you’ll see better results by targeting a narrower niche. If you’re a Pediatric Dentistry specialist experienced in restoring avulsed teeth, make that the focus of your Adwords campaigns.

Want to give Adwords a try for your practice? Then contact me know for a free consultation!

Ben Shaver
Lead Strategist & Consultant

Ben Shaver is a dental marketing consultant for Dental Inbound. He works with practices of all sizes.

His main focus is to develop strategies that provide congruency between traditional media sources and new media platforms.

You can email him at