Managing your PPC marketing can feel like a daunting task when your industry is as heavily restricted as drug and alcohol rehabilitation and addiction treatment services in Google, Facebook, and other advertising platforms. If you’re not routinely optimizing and keeping up to date on industry trends and best practices, it’s easy to fall behind the competition. Or, even worse, stop advertising on these platforms entirely!
Fear not, though—we’re here to help. In WordStream’s upcoming webinar presented in partnership with LegitScript, our very own digital marketing experts Emily True and Chris Panetta will share WordStream’s secrets to PPC marketing success in the rehabilitation and addiction treatment industry. And don’t worry if you’re not yet eligible to advertise on Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Microsoft Ads, or other platforms: LegitScript will be showing how to easily become LegitScript certified! Interested in learning more? Check out the preview below, and sign up to join us for the webinar—and learn all the secrets—on Jan 29.
How did we get here?
As I’ve already alluded to, addiction treatment and rehabilitation is one of the most competitive industries in the digital marketing landscape. Further compounding this are Google, Facebook, and Microsoft’s own policies around advertising for these services—especially with recent policy changes.
The goal of these restrictive policies isn’t to police advertisers; it’s to protect people searching for these services. The industry is fraught with shady or outright fraudulent companies, inadequate and ill-defined best practices, so Google, Microsoft, and Facebook banded together to change the addiction treatment and rehabilitation industry’s ability to advertise on their respective platforms. First and foremost, these advertising platforms all enacted a simple but exceptionally effective policy: You must pass an in-depth, third-party certification process that verifies the company and its employees are in fact properly trained and vetted to provide treatment and support, and that your company offers all services advertised. And that certification provider is LegitScript.
Want to make sure you get advice right from the certification provider? Sign up for our webinar now!
The immediate impact of these changes
The effects of these changes were immediate and reverberated throughout the PPC world: Advertisers became required to have a LegitScript certification to even be eligible to run ads on Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, which cut down on illegitimate businesses taking advantage of people. LegitScript certification was a necessary step to help regulate and legitimize the marketing of addiction treatment and rehabilitation services; however, it wasn’t the most impactful change. Updates to HIPAA drastically changed who was eligible to see addiction treatment and rehabilitation ads and, to a large extent, upended the digital marketing and PPC best practices within the industry. No longer were all users who made a search related to the addiction treatment and rehabilitation services shown ads. At one point, advertisers were showing up for 96% fewer total searches than they were previously eligible to show on, though since our initial study was published in 2018, Google has relaxed these restrictions slightly (but not by much).
Data: September through December 2017
With this new realization, digital marketers of addiction treatment and rehabilitation services scrambled to make up lost clicks, conversions, and, eventually, leads.
Why this matters now
You might be asking yourself, “But why are ads still important? Couldn’t SEO make up for this lost traffic?” And rightfully so. You would assume, with the massive dropoff in ads eligible to be shown, that organic links and SEO’s importance would skyrocket. And just as you can imagine, many advertisers switched their strategies and budgets to focus almost exclusively on SEO. While SEO is important, there’s one crucial difference between SEO and PPC efforts: It takes a long time to really see impactful changes and improvements from SEO.
But Google, Microsoft, and Facebook Ads’ new restrictions—though drastically reducing overall ad impressions and eligibility—do still allow ads to be shown to the users most in need of help, users these platforms have identified as legitimately in need of addiction treatment and rehabilitation services. This means that these users will still see ads above the organic listings for Google and Microsoft searches.
See those four ads—three text and one map ad—before the organic Google Maps listings? You may also notice the glaring lack of organic links, and that was intentional. On my 21” computer monitor this is what I saw before having to scroll down, which is where the organic listings start and the benefits of SEO could potentially be realized. PPC ads—in this example, Google text ads—and their importance cannot be understated. Users who are seeking help will likely not even get to the organic listings on a SERP if an ad draws their attention and subsequent click, so advertisers and marketers absolutely need to make and keep PPC an integral part of their marketing.
Want to make sure that your ads are getting that attention from searchers and taking up the valuable real estate on those SERPs? Register for our webinar and tune in on January 29 to learn more!