In my previous Hospital Impactblog post , I provided an overview of our video social media strategies at The Nebraska Medical Center and specific examples of how we've measured and tracked results.
Who could have imagined that six years ago, a relatively small number of people understood and realized that Internet search would undergo a complete transformation. This transformation created an unprecedented opportunity for healthcare providers to market their services in highly targeted ways for little or no incremental cost.
Google acquired YouTube on October 9, 2006, for $1.65 billion, a figure that Wall Street thought was ridiculously high at the time. What Google understood well was that individuals searching the net increasingly prefer video content over text, photo or other static content. In addition, YouTube was fast becoming the Internet's most visited source for video, and by then it had unseated Yahoo as the world's second most visited search engine. Google realized that to protect its dominance in search market share, it had to have a strong video presence.
When we launched our YouTube video strategy at The Nebraska Medical Center, we were among a relatively small number of hospitals doing so. Now, most major hospitals have posted videos or have a channel on YouTube. While we have a substantial video library presence, we're not the largest player in terms of the number of videos posted or even viewership. Or goal is clear and simple--to capture a select group of people who are searching for information linked to our specific areas of clinical focus. We attract people who have a certain diagnosis or set of symptoms or who may know a particular physician's name. And we provide them with video content that most intuitively addresses their questions or assists them in taking the next step.
Generating an audience of 7,000 captive viewers for a three-minute video on specific topics like thyroid cancer, awake brain surgery or lymphoma treatment would simply be cost prohibitive using a traditional mass-media advertising approach. Targeted posting of YouTube videos allows us to do this very cheaply.
A prospective patient or family member who is searching for a second opinion or additional information to make a treatment decision is looking for specific answers to their specific questions. When our content serves this purpose, a convergence happens where the question they're asking in Google, Bing or Yahoo matches with the messages contained in our video. While the viewer is watching the video, they can link to our website or call an 800 number for a physician referral 24/7.
With more than 700 million members, Facebook has created a destination where Internet users of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds spend time connecting with others. We're currently using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to interact with our target audiences and increase awareness of our new video content when it's launched on our website or on our YouTube channel.
The fourth generation and most recent version of our website features a more intuitive design and navigation system. Video content is pervasive throughout the site, increasing its "search friendliness" for Google, Yahoo and Bing. We're able to monitor the engagement of visitors who are viewing the videos and we study the audience's preferences using Foresee to improve the website on an ongoing basis.
I think the most exciting aspect of these web strategies is that we're just scratching the surface. For example, Internet users are migrating from computers to iPhones, iPads and Android mobile devices. Target audiences are embracing a new array of social media platforms like Pinterest. Our goal is to proactively deploy strategies to meet the audience as it moves and evolves--in ways that are relevant and useful.
With how fast the audience explores and adopts new media, I see our work as a practice. Our success depends upon listening to our audiences and developing accordingly.