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Advertising Mental Health Services with Pay-Per-Click Campaigns

In the wake of a global pandemic and economic uncertainties, the demand for mental health services providers is rising. According to a 2021 survey by the American Psychological Association, psychologists experienced a significant increase in patients managing mental health challenges. In this environment, the equation for advertising mental health services has changed as well.

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Advertising Mental Health Services with Pay-Per-Click Campaigns

In the wake of a global pandemic and economic uncertainties, the demand for mental health services providers is rising. According to a 2021 survey by the American Psychological Association, psychologists experienced a significant increase in patients managing mental health challenges. In this environment, the equation for advertising mental health services has changed as well.

It’s a sensitive equation. As demand continues to rise from patients experiencing anxiety and depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorder, and other mental health issues, 41% of psychologists reported that they could not keep up with demand.

If your practice isn’t experiencing that same demand, the problem may be connected with your mental health marketing strategy. Healthcare marketing is complex and requires careful planning and execution. The quickest and, in many ways, most effective way to attract your target audience is to integrate Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads into your strategy.

Just how that integration happens, of course, matters just as much. Join us for a deep dive into mental health advertising, and how to leverage PPC marketing strategies to consistently attract new patients.

What is a PPC ad?

Put simply, PPC advertising refers to digital ads for which the advertiser only pays when a member of their target audience clicks on it. It’s the most common way of running advertising campaigns on most digital channels today.

Think of it this way: a potential patient searches for a term like “help with my mental illness.” On the Google results page, the first few results will be text-based ads from local mental health providers that have targeted this or similar keywords with language that answers the implied question. An advertiser only pays when that patient clicks on their ad to learn more.

PPC ads contrast with Pay-Per-Impressions (PPM) ads, the other common way digital ads charge marketing budgets. In PPM marketing campaigns, the advertiser pays every time 1,000 members of the audience see the ad, regardless of whether or not they take action on it.

In most cases, PPC is the preferable option simply because you pay only when your audience finds your ad relevant enough to take action. Until someone clicks, the ad is free. When someone does click, the budget charged has already proven itself to be effectively spent.

However, there is one exception: marketers that have run PPC ads for a while can identify individual ads that are known as high-performers. In that case, switching to PPM can run your highest-performing ads on a more budget-friendly campaign.

How to Advertise Mental Health Services Online

Building an effective health marketing strategy is a comprehensive process including your website, paid search, display, and social media ads. Let’s dig into the details.

Start With Your Website

Before investing in PPC, it’s vital to consider the entire user experience. What does your target audience see after they click on your ads? Your medical website design, and especially the landing pages your PPC ads link to, have to be built specifically to convert visitors into leads.

Optimizing your website alongside your PPC ads is especially important because of what Google calls its Quality Score. Ads that closely match the web page they link to in language and context will improve both the ad placement and cost, with a potentially significant performance impact. Other PPC ad networks, like Facebook, have similar measures in place.

Paid search refers to any ads that appear in the results of search engines. These ads are text-only, appearing at the top of search results in the same format that other results appear. Google, with its 90%+ search engine market share, tends to be the biggest focus for advertisers, but mental health campaigns on alternatives like Bing can also be effective.

Paid search is especially relevant for users who are looking for context-specific information about their mental health journey. For example, potential patients may be searching for specific information about treatments related to their concerns and providers of those treatments within their geographic area.

Display Ads for Mental Health Services

Also known as digital banner ads, display ads are static or animated images that can appear on the margins of websites across all categories. Rather than being placed individually on website, they’re centrally managed through ad hubs like the Google Display Network, which partners with more than 200 million websites around the world.

Display ads are a great tool to raise initial awareness of your practice or services. For example, your display ad campaigns can target keywords and mental health-related websites that your target audience may browse to learn more about their condition or concern. Display ads are also effective when used as part of a retargeting campaign with focused mental health marketing campaigns prompting action among potential patients who have visited your website but not scheduled an appointment yet.

Facebook Ads for Mental Health Services

As the world’s largest social media network, Facebook is a natural space for mental health advertisements. And it’s not just about placing ads in your audience’s newsfeed. Through the Meta Audience Network, advertisers can create marketing campaigns that push out to websites and mobile apps, increasing the chances of reaching potential patients where they spend their time online.

The broad scope of ad types available through Facebook makes this a versatile fit throughout the user journey. But it’s perhaps at its most effective when looking to not just promote your services, but to provide value. For example, a mental health awareness campaign can go a long way towards building credibility that can pay off with increased demand in the long run.

Instagram Ads for Mental Health Services

Owned by Facebook’s parent company Meta, Instagram offers many of the same ad and targeting opportunities as its larger cousin. The difference: video and image ads on this platform are almost entirely visual. That makes Instagram a perfect fit if you’re looking to grab your audience’s attention and enter your practice’s name into the conversation surrounding their mental health journey.

For example, you might have a video or before-and-after photos from a consenting patient showing the impact your services can make in your audience’s lives. Alternatively, you might want to show visual statistics and infographics as part of a larger campaign during mental health awareness months. In these visual cases, Instagram ads tend to be the perfect fit.

What is the Return on Investment for Mental Health Advertisements?

When built in an integrated fashion and in concert with your website, the ROI of mental health PPC advertising can be immense. Ultimately, though, it depends on the expertise of the people behind it.

A badly designed ad and landing page will likely have a negative ROI, no matter how well the campaign is managed. On the other hand, a well-designed ad and website matters just as little if the advertising campaign manager is inexperienced in optimizing the targeting and bidding.

It might be natural to assume that creating and managing your own ads is more cost-effective, because it requires less upfront investment. But it also guarantees a lower ROI than would be possible with a more experienced marketing professional and ads manager by your side.

How Much Does Advertising Mental Health Services Cost?

One of the biggest benefits of digital advertising compared to non-digital channels is the budget flexibility. There is no set minimum cost; instead, it depends entirely on how quickly you want to attract new patients, and how well your ad and website channel ecosystem is integrated.

You can run low-cost marketing campaign even if your website is poorly designed and managed. But your cost per click and conversion will rise drastically, making a lower impact on advertising your mental health services than might be expected.

That’s what makes optimizing your website such an important first step. Once your website management is up to par, consider investing at least $1,000 per month into PPC ads that span social media networks and search engines like the ones we’ve outlined above. That cost is all-in, including the price of outsourcing your ads management.

But of course, before deciding whether to invest in PPC ads, you need to know how much revenue you might be missing out on in your local market. That’s possible by taking census information for your zip code and surrounding zip codes, then extrapolating audience trends from Google search volume results.

The good news: you don’t need to do it manually. If you’re looking to evaluate the effectiveness of advertising mental health services in your area, you can get a free local market analysis from DoctorLogic.

Published on
Sep 02, 2022

Written by
DoctorLogic Employee