Google has a new rehab ad policy. Since Google is the search engine of choice for those searching drug and alcohol treatment, this change affects the rehab market. When the tech giant stopped rehab and addiction marketing, all providers and facilities in this space quickly noted a severe decline in search ad reach for certain key terms.
The Rehab Ad Policy Change Was To Stop Body Brokering
The company said it was restricting addiction treatment ads because some of the facilities that were advertising through AdWords did not provide services that people with drug use disorders needed to recover successfully. The move came after an undercover investigation by The Times U.K. found that Google was making more than $200 a click from patient brokers who get significant commissions for getting patients into private rehabilitation facilities and sober homes.
Ad Policy Change Created Keyword Confusion
To correct the problem, Google placed restrictions on drug rehab marketers. However, though Google restricted ads for some search terms, such as ‘drug rehab,’ it was not restricting all ads. In fact, searching the term ‘drug recovery’ could still net you a whole list of ads at the top and bottom of your search result pages, as could terms like treatment, counseling, and addiction. This led to a lot of confusion for high-quality treatment facilities that had never misled patients and potential patients with their ads.
To improve the quality of search results while preventing brokers from taking advantage of unsuspecting patients, Google created a new path for all qualified addiction treatment facilities and professionals.
Google Gets Legit(Script)
All addiction treatment centers that want to advertise on Google will need to apply for certification through a company called LegitScript. This certification will ensure that when you search for rehab or addiction treatment, the results you see are legitimate facilities. These facilities must:
- Have properly trained and certified staff
- Be transparent regarding the services they offer
- Be compliant with best practices and local laws
Facilities that are eligible to seek certification through LegitScript include inpatient, residential, and out-patient programs that offer in-person clinical drug and alcohol addiction treatment; crisis hotlines that provide remote support, information, or assistance; and non-clinical support networks and forums. LegitScript will not certify sober homes, affiliate agencies, lead generators, or facilities outside of the United States.
Be aware; certification isn’t cheap. Qualified facilities and professionals will pay a $995 application fee followed by a $1,995 annual certification fee. And while this fee could present a marketing barrier for some facilities, it may ultimately reduce AdWords marketing costs for the industry.