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iVet360 study explores hospitals’ digital performance

The industry is doing better with websites and social media, but slow page loads remain a problem.

iVet360 study explores hospitals’ digital performance
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Veterinary hospital websites have become more secure and more responsive, but they’ve also gotten slower.

A report prepared by the marketing and analytics firm iVet360 concludes that veterinary clinics are paying more attention to internet security nowadays and working to block hackers. Nearly 48 percent of the 1,000 hospitals surveyed possess an encrypted website, up from just 5.5 percent in 2017.

How can a secure website be identified? Simply look for a lock symbol in the address bar. If it’s not secure, alert your web developer.

When it comes to responsiveness — a website optimized for desktop computers, tablets and smartphones — more than 93 percent of the surveyed clinics earn a thumbs-up. That was an increase from 85 percent in 2017.

Website visitors who grow frustrated waiting for a page to load aren’t any happier in 2018. The average load time is an agonizing 8.6 seconds, a full two seconds slower than in 2017.

“If your page is slow, your business suffers,” iVet360 commented.

“The veterinary industry is very image-driven, meaning people want to see pictures of joyful vets providing care to very cute pets,” the report added. “These images are one of the culprits of slower-loading websites. Therefore, a happy medium must exist between using appropriate imagery and optimizing your website for speed.”

The “2018 Veterinary Marketing Benchmark Report,” available at http://bit.ly/2QzuN5D, also found:

  • The average veterinary hospital has 73 Google reviews, an increase from 40 reviews in 2017. “The more reviews your hospital has, the more visible you are,” iVet360 stated.
  • Google Analytics is installed on 78 percent of hospital websites, compared with 70 percent in 2017. “The data from Google Analytics is invaluable to your marketing plan. For example, if the veterinary surgery section of your website has a lot more views than the pet boarding section, this indicates that you may not have put as much of a marketing emphasis on boarding as you could have.”
  • The average hospital has 87 Facebook reviews, a 52 percent jump from 57 in 2017. “The more reviews your practice has, the better. This demonstrates that you are active with your Facebook page, which helps with search functionality, and it also shows that people are taking the time to review your hospital.”
  • 16 percent of hospitals advertise on Yelp, one-third better than in 2017. “Options for Yelp ads include restricting competitors’ ads, having an editable slideshow of your best photos and adding a call-to-action button on your business page.”
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