Please rotate your device

Subscribe to PHM Blog


A Sneak Peek: Five Themes to Expect at Healthcare Search Summit 2020

August 17, 2020
Posted by Finnian Saylor

The annual PHM and Google Healthcare Search Summit (HCSS) is just around the corner, but the event will look a bit different than years past.

Many of us at PHM often refer to HCSS as ‘Google Day,’ which will now transform to ‘Google Week’ for 2020. This annual day of search workshops hosted on-site at Google’s office in NYC will take shape in multiple, virtual learning sessions over the course of one week.

Participants and presenters spanning different time zones and cities will come together to hear from senior leaders at PHM and Google to discuss the future of paid search and healthcare, and to celebrate the hard work of the PHM Paid Search Team.

The events will take place from Monday, August 17 through Friday, August 21.

Looking ahead, here’s a list of five themes to expect at this year’s (HCSS) – and the things I’m looking forward to most:

1. A Vision for the Future of Marketing and Healthcare

The week will start with a look forward. Our very own Ray Rosti, PHM Chief Digital Officer, and Stefani Klaskow, Google’s new Director of Pharma and OTC, will deliver a joint-keynote about the future of healthcare and marketing’s role in health.

It’s not every day two major industry leads across companies come together to share their vision for the future, so I think it’s safe to say the week will start with a bang.

Later, Mike Yapp, Google Evangelist, will focus on wider innovations in advertising and tech.

HCSS gives the PHM team direct access to many influential leaders in our industry. And compared to other, broader search marketing conferences, HCSS will focus primarily on health.

I attended SMX East last year, a major US search conference focused on SEM and SEO. The sessions provided a wider viewpoint about the evolution of search and digital marketing among different verticals. Industries of focus included e-commerce, B2B, and travel. This fresh perspective challenged me to think about marketing possibilities beyond health.

HCSS will approach conversations about search and the greater marketing ecosystem through a healthcare and wellness lens. This structure allows its PHM attendees to dive miles below the surface and discuss the nuances and challenges we all face operating in a healthcare vertical.

2. A Peak Behind the Curtain

Those who have previously attended HCSS know Google will often share with PHM the latest and greatest in Google search automation, ad formats and measurement.

This year will be no different. Attendees can expect to hear from Google’s Global Head of Search Ad Formats, Rachel Auth Melgaard, who will give PHM a glimpse into the future of online advertising with Google.

I’m excited to take time aside from day-to-day tasks to think forward about our industry. As many search teams at PHM prepare for 2021 brand planning, HCSS will deliver fresh inspiration for the year ahead and may even inspire testing roadmaps for our brands.

3. A New, Virtual Format

Without a doubt, the virtual set-up will offer some advantages over the traditional, in-person structure.

Here’s why.

This year’s HCSS will feature Google speakers typically reserved for Executive Summits in Mountainview. In past years, presenters only included Google team members based in NYC. The online iteration of this event allows speakers to span locations, tapping into even more diverse viewpoints from Google.

With a growing team at PHM, physical rooms at Google used in past events allowed only 150 attendees. This year, the event has no attendance limit. The invite list will include many business units and capabilities at PHM, not just the paid search and SEO teams.

This virtual format boasts another HCSS first: With no limits on attendance, PHM extended an invitation for clients to join the keynote on Monday.

All events will be hosted via YouTube live stream, so listeners can submit questions in real-time via chat. Not to mention, all sessions will be recorded, living beyond the week’s events.

In short, the virtual format has quite a long list of pros.

4. A Strong Competition

As search marketers, we’re competitive.

HCSS will create a stage for the third annual PHM Search Team case study competition — “The EPICS Challenge.” The name ‘EPICS’ stands for Engaging Performance Informed Case Studies, and you bet the competition will deliver on that name.

This year, PHM teams submitted 30+ entries highlighting innovative, results-driven work.

Ultimately whittled down to just the top three submissions, these finalists will present their case studies live during HCSS.

The recipients of Best in Show will win ultimate bragging rights, not to mention a big, shiny trophy.

The competition is intense. I know firsthand. Teams spend countless hours perfecting their case studies in hopes of nabbing first place. I’m excited to see the top three entrants from this year’s competition. That way, I can view the smart work of my peers that otherwise, I might not ever see.

5. A Feeling of Togetherness (Even Though Apart)

Although I talk to many of my coworkers every day, I haven’t seen them in person since March. I can’t wait to take an hour each day during HCSS with my fellow teammates to be together, even if online.

At PHM, the search team created cross-agency pods called Peer Groups. We meet once a month in these pods to discuss hot topics in search and share day-to-day tips and tricks. HCSS will provide us some great conversation starters for our next touch-base.

But to really create a feeling of togetherness, the PHM Search Team planned three different virtual events before and during HCSS to bring the team together to have fun and raise money for great causes.

This initiative is aptly titled, the Healthcare Search Summit FUNdraiser.

Events include a search hack-a-thon, virtual scavenger hunt and Quizzo. Attendees who participate in these events can donate to three different charities: the NAACP, NAMI and Feeding America.

I know we’re missing one another these days, so it feels good to do something together in the name of these awesome charities.

For those attending Healthcare Search Summit 2020: Expect a jam-packed week of virtual learning, headed-up by senior leaders at PHM and Google. Although the format has been transformed to reflect the working-world of 2020, the content will be just as strong as ever.

See you there.

-Finnian Saylor

Paid Search Associate, HCSS 2020 Attendee


Connect with Finnian on LinkedIn and follow along on Twitter the week of August 17th for highlights of this year’s search summit.

For the latest news and updates, follow PHM on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Questions? Thoughts? Ideas? Contact us.

Let's talk!