M.Ad has the privilege of managing dozens of accounts on behalf of practitioners in the United States and Canada who offer services that help people struggling with addiction and mental health. We say it’s a privilege because we’ve managed these accounts for years and we can see the tremendous good their services are doing to communities across North America.
Mental Health Services Should be Permitted to Reach Audiences in Need Through Advertising
Alas, in the advertising world we’re all at the mercy of the big advertising platforms: Google, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. In August 2018 an update went out on Google that, intentionally or not, wiped out many practice’s organic rankings and disallowed advertising particularly where it was concerned with addiction and mental health. We received numerous requests for insight and eventually published a post outlining how to salvage and move forward with the update in consideration.
Since the update, we’ve helped many regain ground and we’ve learned a lot about how to advertise services to those who are struggling with addiction and mental health.
Here are three things to consider if you’re staring at an account full of disapproved ads.
- Understand Why the Regulations are There in the First Place
- It’s easy to demonize ad platforms that are making it difficult to run ads for your services especially when it seems unjust. However, cooler heads always prevail and it’s more constructive to understand where the ad platform is coming from and how to alleviate their concerns as much as you can.
- Avoid Using ‘Trigger’ Keywords in Ads
- Indirect keywords are the best way to ensure your keyword targets and the ads you’re running on them get approved. In this particular niche, ‘drug’, ‘rehab’ and ‘addiction’ are direct or ‘trigger’ words (in the sense that they often trigger an ad disapproval). Specific drug names: ‘cocaine’, ‘heroin’ etc. are also good search terms to stay away from. Other terms are less black and white, these include keywords related to mental health indications like depression, suicidal thoughts and anxiety.
- The Content of Your Ads and on Your Website Matter More than Ever
- When you’re forced to be indirect with your keyword target and ads, the content that is included needs to be more strategic than ever. Try to find a way to communicate your service offering clearly without including any trigger keywords. For example, instead of describing your facility as a ‘Drug Rehabilitation Center’ in an ad perhaps ‘Substance Abuse Treatment Center’ could still communicate the purpose of the facility clearly while still getting approved.
- ‘Limited Ads’ are Still Active Ads that Reach People in Need
- ‘Disapproved’ ads will be clearly flagged in your ads accounts and you’ll receive regular notifications to fix or delete them. Formally disapproved ads should absolutely be revised or removed or they’ll threaten the account overall (your account could even be suspended). On the other hand ads labelled ‘Approved (Limited)’ are still active ads that are reaching your target audience. This flag technically means the ad “complies with policy but is limited in where and when it can show”.