Hospital Marketing Opportunity Revealed: Get a YouTube Channel. Get Ahead.

mayor clinic videoSurprisingly few US hospitals have a YouTube Channel in their marketing lineup. Still fewer have the right content. Jumping on this opportunity is an open field competitive advantage. Here’s why and how.

We’re one of those medical marketing companies that loves numbers.

Good or bad, numbers can gauge progress, measure Return-on-Investment, and reveal opportunity. For example, these YouTube numbers point to opportunity. An awareness of “big picture” patterns clarifies communications channels between you and the user/viewer.

  • 1 billion: number of YouTube users
  • 1 trillion: total annual YouTube views
  • 6 billion: hours of video watched per month
  • 40: percent of YouTube traffic from mobile
  • 50: percent of teens that consider YouTube favorite site
  • 70: percent of millennials visiting YouTube monthly

Dissecting hospital users, purpose and content

If you peal away a few more numerical layers, a recent academic study of US hospitals on YouTube examined the types of video content being used for marketing, and what content users liked most (and least). [Journal of Communication in Healthcare, 6(2), 128–134, 2013] 

The report about Healthcare New Media Marketing (A test to the Altruistic Marketing Approach) is from the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing. When the study was conducted (2012), only 11 percent of US hospitals (634 out of 5,754) had created a channel on YouTube.

“Out of the four categories of videos, advertising videos and informational videos (70.86 percent), mainly promoted a hospital while the latter two, educational videos and entertainment videos (29.14 percent), mainly served users.

“From the users’ end… self-promoting videos attracted a total of 34.38 percent of views, but [educational/entertainment videos] attracted a total of 65.62 percent of views. The larger a hospital was, the more videos it uploaded to YouTube, the more video views it attracted, and the more subscribers it attracted.”

Video viewers say: “Tell, don’t sell.”

“Users are enthusiastic about patient education videos, surgery process videos, and especially public service announcement videos,” the report concludes, although “hospitals have posted mostly videos that try to sell themselves.”

Their bottom line is a universal health care marketing truism: “To attract traffic, hospitals could consider providing more videos that pertain to users’ interests.”

Take-away ideas that we see in this include:

  • YouTube (and other video sharing platforms) are widely popular;
  • Hospitals underutilize YouTube in their marketing (few have a dedicated channel); and
  • Viewer audiences are likely to be open and receptive to health and healthcare content.

Many hospitals can claim a competitive advantage by creating, maintaining and promoting a dedicated YouTube channel, which, at the moment, few others have currently.

For example…

The most popular hospital YouTube Channel belongs to Mayo Clinic. No doubt world-class brand name recognition helps a little, but publishing good, interesting video content may be easier (and a lot less expensive) than you think.

Consider this video example (an idea worth borrowing) from the Mayo Clinic YouTube Channel: 15-year-old Pianist Touches Hearts and Souls at Mayo Clinic.

mayor clinic video

Alex Walton-Creutz Touching Hearts and Souls

And for more ideas, see this previous post: 3 Video Concepts: Creative, Low Cost, Compelling Hospital Marketing.


Written by: Lonnie Hirsch

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer & Creative Director at Healthcare Success
Over the years Stewart has personally marketed and consulted for over 1,457 healthcare clients, ranging from private practices to multi-billion dollar corporations. Additionally, he has marketed a variety of America’s leading companies, including Citicorp, J. Walter Thompson, Grubb & Ellis, Bally Total Fitness, Wells Fargo and Chase Manhattan. Stewart co-founded our company, and today acts as Chief Executive Officer and Creative Director. He is also a frequent author and speaker on the topic of healthcare marketing. His personal accomplishments are supported by a loving wife and two beautiful daughters.



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