Google AdWords is one of the most effective ways to reach consumers, either through search ads or display ads. Since 71 percent of all Internet searches are performed through Google and Google owns the world’s largest display network, it is unquestionably the best place to advertise your addiction treatment center to the people looking for services online.
However, due to concerns raised by the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP), addiction treatment centers were temporarily unable to advertise using AdWords. Because of how AdWords listings work, fraudulent centers were paying high dollars to promote services they were not providing. These ads targeted consumers with false or illegal claims and made it difficult for legitimate treatment centers with smaller marketing budgets to reach patients.
After working with the addiction treatment industry, Google has now re-opened AdWords with a catch—you have to get certified first.
Why AdWords Requires Certification
The certification process helps ensure that only bona fide, legal addiction treatment centers can advertise on Google. The certification helps protect patients from fraudulent services. They also prevent fraudulent centers from increasing the cost of advertisements.
How to Get AdWords Certified
The AdWords certification process is time consuming and costs about $3,000 for your first year. However, experts believe these costs will be offset by increased business.
To get certified, you need to work with LegitScript, a Google Partner that works to prevent predatory ad practices. LegitScript and the NAATP agreed on 19 certification standards that each treatment center must meet in order to advertise. These standards include:
Your business must be registered as a corporate entity in the state or jurisdiction where you offer services
You must comply with state legal and regulatory licensing requirements.
The domain name of your website must be accurate and transparent.
Your website must include the physical address of the place where services are offered and what services are offered there.
Your written polices and procedures must show dedication to best practices, patient recovery, and quality improvement as well as what treatments you offer (psychosocial therapies, medicines, specialized services, etc.).
You must submit resumes from the business owner, leadership, and treatment professionals on the staff, including a medical director or clinical psychologist.
You must prove facility locations with leases or ownership documents.
Your business must be in a professional setting, not a residence.
Business leadership and staff must submit to background checks and disclose any litigation.
You must include any physical properties or corporate entities under your control to which you refer patients.
You must have proof of insurance to operate an addiction treatment center.
You must comply with HIPAA and other privacy regulations.
You must not engage in any practices to deceive or defraud patients.
You must use only medicines that are approved by the FDA or other regulatory authority for the purpose they were approved.
You must include in your application any incentives you give patients to use your treatment center.
You must provide full and accurate information to LegitScript as requested.
You must not co-own or have a formal or informal business affiliation with lead generators who refer patients for profit.
You may not attempt to advertise without LegitScript certification on Facebook or Google.
You must allow LegitScript to conduct on-site inspections of your facility.
Around 100 treatment centers have received certification so far. You can begin the process of receiving AdWords certification by applying online. However, there may currently be a waitlist.
Once you achieve certification, you must maintain that certification over time by continuing to show proof of meeting these standards. Ongoing certification is expected to cost around $2,000 per year.
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