Google ads speculative and experimental medical treatment

Google Ads & Botox – Speculative and Experimental Treatments

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The Client

A medical aesthetics clinic in Ontario, Canada.

DriveTraffic was hired to redesign the website, drive organic traffic (SEO), paid traffic (Google and FB/IG Ads) for a medical aesthetics company in Ottawa Canada.

The Issue

Google Ads has a great deal of limitations and rules that apply to aesthetics advertising; in particular, there are rules related to:

  • Medications available by prescription only (e.g. Botox or Dysport)
  • Speculative and experimental medical treatment, cell therapies, and gene therapies

These limitations applied to the following services that our client offers:

  • Dysport (a Botox alternative) – used to prevent wrinkles in specific areas
  • Latisse (to help make eyelashes thicker, darker and longer)
  • PRP (Platelet-rich plasma) – used in facials and some types of hair loss

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Possible Solutions  

In the past we have had clients apply to be “online pharmacies” and were able to advertise on Botox once this was accepted.

In this case, Google asked our client to upload proof of education and certification. The ads were then approved for a short time and then disapproved again.

After this, a Google rep asked our client to register with some US website that regulated advertising in the pharmaceutical industry. The cost started at a whopping $400 USD! I stressed to the Google rep that we were in Canada and not targeting the US – but they insisted that this was the way to go.

Up to this point, one particular rep insisted on having phone conversations and never re-iterated this information in an email. Before shelling out $400+ for some website that may not even help us, I requested that our rep provide this information in an email. That email never arrived but all ads suddenly got approved… for a few days.

From working with previous clients in the injectables industry, we have learned that:

  • The term “Botox” must not appear in the keyword, ad text or landing page
  • There could not be a guarantee of success either in the ad or on the landing page

Through a more helpful customer service rep, we finally received a recommendation that allowed select Adgroups to run. They informed us that the words Dysport, Latisse or PRP could not be found on the website in any capacity.

So in order to advertise on Vampire Facials for example (which is allowed), the website cannot mention Botox, or any of the other prescription drugs.

Like most aesthetic companies our client could not remove these three services from their website. Left with only dead ends and wasted time we decided to look into competitors to see what they were doing. We found 4 potential solutions to try.

Trojan Horse Website

Some competitors set up duplicate websites (if set to noindex, would not interfere with SEO of the main site) to use for Google Ads.
The main website retains all existing content including Botox and/or other terms that cannot be used in advertising on Google, but on the mini website, the banned services would be removed.
In summary, you could duplicate your website and remove the few services that cannot be advertised – there may be some additional scrubbing required but a pretty efficient and low cost work around.

Edit Your Verbiage

A competitor removed Botox language from the website but mentioned injectables and fillers that “cannot be mentioned by name” and to call for more information and pricing. The drag here is that this business has just removed their opportunity for organic traffic by removing mention of the prescription brands.

Use Secondary Language

Our client wanted to try a third approach – we would not do Google Ads on the prescription terms and would rename them on the website. So Latisse as a service has been renamed Eyelash Improvement. So far, it is working but we have seen ads run for over a month before being shut down so if they do get shut down in future, we’ll have to revert to one of the other above mentioned techniques.

We have seen the recommendation to use terms such as “cosmetic fillers” or “injected fillers” – we are indeed running Adgroups on these types of keywords but the website still cannot mention the prescription terms listed above so this is not a full solution.

In the past, only the ad itself, your landing page and the keywords you bid on would be subject to such stringent testing. Google Ads has new rules in place as your entire website (every single page) will be checked for words, terms, phrases and images that don’t conform to the most recent policies.

Hire An Agency

We know you’ve probably heard this one before, however what business owner actually has the time to try all of these solutions? The unfortunate part of operating within a grey area of Google Ads policy is that these solutions require constant monitoring and follow ups due to Google Ads support being, well… not so great.

So if you want to save yourself a lot of time and money, click the button below and get in contact with us today!

If you’re more interested in a DIY route make sure you equip yourself with the right knowledge. Start it off right by learning about the importance of a diverse marketing mix.

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