Making Facebook Ads Work for Vets

If you know me, you know that I love dogs… and animals in general… but especially dogs. In fact, if you were to ask my friends and family to describe me in 5 words, dogs would probably be one of those words.

Due to my obsession (this first read… affinity, but let’s get real… it’s an obsession) for doggos, I’ve been wanting to write a post that will allow me to post all sorts of dog photos. So, THIS IS THAT POST! Hooray!

Meet my dog, Bobo. For short we call him, Bo, Mr. Bo, Bo Man, or “Prince of Cedar Rock” (if you know him, this makes sense ha!)

If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it 1,000 times… social media advertising is important for small business marketing success… this includes veterinary medicine. What they don’t tell you though, is which platform is best for YOUR business.

For veterinary practices, Facebook should be your go-to social media drug of choice. But why?

Facebook has well over 1.6 billion users. Meaning, you can reach almost anygroup of people who you want. In fact, you can probably only list a handful of friends who don’t have a Facebook profile.

If your target market is a human (or humans with furbabies), you can reach them on Facebook.

One selling point to incorporate Facebook advertising over any other social media platform’s advertising services is due to Facebook’s extensive knowledge of its users.

Facebook has more interest based data than any other platform in the world, which is why Facebook advertising is SO valuable to marketers.

Thanks to that good ‘ole “Like” button, Facebook knows the restaurants you like, the TV shows you watch, the music you listen to, the causes you believe in, how many dog collars you buy for your pup, the people who inspire you, on and on…

In short, Facebook is able to collect a ton of data on its users and it’s all accessible to marketers… you just have to know how to use it.

Luckily, Facebook makes advertising and targeting fairly easy – especially if you follow the tips below. (If you want dive in a little deeper, CLICK HERE to read the full version of “How to Build a Facebook Ad From Scratch.)

1. Start With a Great Offer

The best way to attract new clients is with an attractive introductory offer. Generally, deep discounts or free offers are the most appealing to the average “joe/jane” on the street.

When people are able to take advantage of such great offers, value for your business is created (and money is made) after people experience your business. However, getting people to take advantage of those offers is tough. That’s why, incorporating different marketing methods that work cohesively together is very important. Throwing Facebook advertising into the mix is a great way to generate inexpensive, but yet impactful brand awareness and trust.

Marketing done correctly will drive traffic through the door and once a new client is there, they get to experience how great your business is and hopefully… work their way up the value ladder. I know, I know… what exactly is a value ladder? Here’s an example…

In most industries, especially in retail, the value ladder is considered an “upsell.”

But in the medical field, these types of things aren’t really an every day thing, but rather only offered when patients and pets actually need it.

So, for the sake of showing the value of Facebook advertisement and how it could potentially impact your practice for the better, let’s use an example:


“I’m a vet practice looking to add a few new local clients. I don’t have a huge advertising budget, but I am on Facebook. I know my practice’s customer service and patient care is superior to others, but my marketing game (and budget) is lacking. So, I decide to spend $25 and target local pet owners and offer a free pet wellness exam. I know this will be an attractive offer for most and it will hopefully get people in the door for them to experience the awesome practice I’ve built.”

Here’s what I would recommend to “Dr. Bobby:”

2. Create a Clever Ad Creative

Your Facebook ad creative and copywriting are among the top ad elements that decide whether your ad campaign succeeds. Depending on the ad creative you use, there can be a drastic difference between your ad’s cost per click and cost per acquisition. In fact, Images are responsible for 75%-90% of ad performance.  So, the more effort you put into the image, the better your ad will perform.

When developing an ad campaign, most marketers do a little A/B testing first. However, more than likely a vet practice won’t have the time to do this. So, a pretty for sure guaranteed win will be of a picture (not stock photography) of a unique looking dog doing something cute or clever. That simple. Don’t worry about throwing a lot of text on the image or even that you’re offering a free exam (or whatever the deal is going to be)… especially because Facebook reduces the reach of posts and ads with more than 20% text on images. Clean and simple images are often the way to go.

After you’ve selected an image, you will want to write concise and clever verbiage to go along with your post. Something like “For the ones closest to your heart, make sure theirs is in good health. Click the link below to take advantage of [insert vet practice’s name here]’s FREE WELLNESS EXAM offer for first-time visitors. (Only 20 available!)”

The verbiage tugs are their heartstrings a little bit, gives them something in return for their click, and creates urgency.

You will also want to include a bit.ly (or any sort of short link that can be tracked) that will take them to a page on your website where they can complete a form with their name, phone number, and email address to receive their free wellness exam.

  • Ad Objective: Traffic (Clicks to Website)
  • Relevancy Score Goal: < 5
  • Ad Cost: This all depends on your budget, but you can get away with a $25 ad and target 15 miles from your business location and still be successful.
  • Ad Headline: FREE: Pet Wellness Exam [$## Value]
  • Text: For the ones closest to your heart, make sure theirs is in good health. Click the link below to take advantage of [insert vet practice’s name here]’s FREE WELLNESS EXAM offer for first-time visitors. (Only 20 available!)
  • Call-to-Action: Make Appointment

3. Target Your Audience

This step is probably the most important of them all. If your ad parameters aren’t targeting the right people, then your ad is pretty much pointless.

With Facebook ads, you can already target users based on their country, state and city. When you are narrowing down your location targeting, you what to think about the customer and realistically how far they will drive for your services. For a veterinary practice, odds are, people won’t drive very far. So, I would limit your targeting to < 15 miles of your business location.

Ad Audience Age & Gender

Thanks to Facebook’s Insight Tool, we can easily identify the gender and age of both followers reached and who have engaged with posts in the past. This will help you determine the age range of who you should target to get the most bang for your buck.

So, in this example, I would say my target audience is people between the ages of 25 and 44. Maybe even 25 and 54. I’m not going to include the 55-64 age group because they are just a small portion of my follower base and I want to make sure my ads reach the core of my engaged audience.

Ad Interest Targeting

The idea is to target those who are really into your subject, not just the average fans. We need to find the people who eat, breath, and dream about it. Those who know things that aren’t common knowledge by the average fan.

I call this the “But No One Else Would” trick. The idea is to look for the people who knows what no one else would about the topic.

If you look at the chart to the right, it’s broken down into three types of fans… 1) those who know who Tiger Woods is (basically everyone), 2) those who know who Phil Mickelson is (a lot of people), and lastly, 3) the true golf enthusiast who know who Bubba Watson is.

CLICK HERE for a few of the categories you can use to reach your audience by looking at their interests, activities, the pages they’ve liked, and closely related topics. If you combine multiple interests, it greatly increases your chances of targeting your ideal customer. 

Since we are targeting women who own a pet who might be interested in a free wellness exam, we will want to make sure we are targeting people who ACTUALLY own a pet and not those who just like dogs. So, you will want to include a lot of different interest of those who might be an animal lover, then add a second level of targeting narrowing your audience) and then include interest like “PetSmart” or “Dog Collars” or “Dog Health.” You know, interest that only those with a pet would be interested in. Here are a few of my ideas for interests to narrow down who the ad is delivered to.

Then, narrow your audience by adding something like:

And remember, when you start targeting people based upon interests, adding interests increases your audience size and excluding interests narrows it. You can use Facebook’s built-in Audience Size tool to determine if your audience is too broad or too specific. You want to aim to keep your audience in the green area.

4. Analyze and Learn from the Ad Results

The last phase of the advertising process is to analyze your results. A few months ago I spoke at a women’s conference and developed a workbook specifically for building a Facebook ad and analyzing the results. To download said workbook, click here. You can navigate to page 8 of the workbook and use the sheet provided to easily plug in numbers from your campaign, which you can find in your ads manager, and then view the full ad conversion rate. According to WordStream, 9% across all industries is average.

However, for an ad running to a “cold audience” (meaning people who have never heard of your practice before) for a veterinary practice, I would expect somewhere around a 4% conversion rate.

So, the ad has completed, you have your results, you see the numbers, but what’s next? It’s now time to to convert those conversions/clicks into actual long term clients.

5. Turning Traffic Into Leads

First, let’s understand what happens when someone clicks on the ad.

  1. They were taken to a landing page where the offer advertised was restated (hopefully) and encouraged to complete the form to have the coupon emailed to them.
  2. There is only one action for the person to take on the page. So, either they are interested and will complete the form… or they won’t. However, even if they complete the form, that doesn’t mean they will use the coupon and actually schedule the free wellness exam.
  3. After they’ve complete the form, send them to a “thank you page” and include an extra inventive for the person to go ahead and call to schedule an appointment. Whether it be offering a free tote bag (or something) or including scarcity in the post (maybe something like “6 coupons remaining!), extra encouragement for the engaged user to continue the process is extremely important… especially when you think about the ROI of each conversion.

When we take into account that maybe only 4% of people will convert on the actual Facebook ad itself, that’s still a huge opportunity. If the $25 ad reaches 1,000 people (likely), and 4% convert, that’s 400 people. Of those 400 people, if the industry average of 9% then follow through with the process, that’s 36 potential new clients. From there, even if just HALF use the coupon, that’s 16 new clients creating possible future visits of teeth cleanings ($), medicine/preventatives for their pets ($$), and possibly even surgery if their pet becomes injured or ill (let’s hope not though, but… $$$).


Learning how to incorporate inexpensive Facebook ads into the mix is just the first step. Now, you need to focus on how to pull all of your marketing efforts together and create one cohesive flywheel to ensure your new found advertising success doesn’t stop at Facebook, but rather continues through your inbound marketing, website, and even patient care.

P.S. I’ve been able to incorporate FIVE doggos throughout this post. #BestArticleEver

Pro Tips:

What Works?

After a bit of research and looking through a few vet practice Facebook accounts, it seems the post that generate the most impact are:

  • Infographics
  • News about your practice.
  • Product recalls and alerts.
  • Posts the help your audience get to know your team better.
  • General pet care information.
  • And, of course, cute photos/videos of happy healthy pets.

What Doesn’t Work?

Sales pitches. February is is National Pet Dental Health Month and it seems that everyone and their brother is posting about it and offering discounts. Oddly enough, a post about your practice’s sale won’t get much traction as there is too much competition. However, changing the focus to the importance of dental health to a pet’s overall well-being will likely get you more traction than the sales post itself. (You can still add in the post that you’re having a sale, but that shouldn’t be the primary focus on the ad.)

Building Followers Quick

Alas, we’ve come to our last tip. Here is my last nugget of information:

We all know that more likes equals more trust which equals more purchases and conversions, right? Here is a quick pro tip to help you build your followers quickly.

Likes are great and all, but if they aren’t quality likes, does it really matter? Yes, it looks great for trust, but when it comes to actual conversions (which is where the money is at), you will want quality likes. In addition to running “page likes” campaigns and what not, you can also acquire new likes by inviting people who’ve engaged with your posts to like your page. This is where the pro tip comes in… any post you boost, you will have the prime opportunity to invite qualified and targeted candidates to like your page.

Here’s how:

  1. Visit Page: Go to your business page on Facebook.
  2. Find Boosted Post: Find a post on your business page that you’ve boosted.
  3. View Engagement: Click on the area of the post that shows how many people have reacted to the post.
  4. Invite: You will see the list of people who have reactive to the post and which of those people have already liked your page and which ones you are able to invite. Scroll down and invite each person who has engaged with the post.

Hopefully, within a few days, all the people you’ve invited to like you page will follow through and become new followers, which will not only expand your company’s reach, but help build trust with other users as your follower count grows.

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  • https://divibetech.com/index.php/2017/08/24/veterinarian-clinic-leads-facebook-ads-case-study/
  • https://www.jashleypanter.com/the-power-of-facebook-wizardry/
  • https://www.jashleypanter.com/how-to-build-a-facebook-ad-from-scratch/
  • https://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/make-facebook-social-media-work-for-your-veterinary-clinic/
  • https://snoutschool.com/basics-of-facebook-ads-for-veterinary-hospitals/

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