Healthcare Advertising in 2021 & Tips on Managing a Small Budget PPC Campaign

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Digital ads – they’re on everyone’s minds these days. Due to the pandemic, the average person’s screen time is up to nearly 8 hours a day, and we’ve seen 10 years worth of growth in eCommerce in just 3 months. The shift from traditional advertising began due to the increased amount of data you can get (where users are, what they looked up, what their age / gender / household income is…), but the shift is growing increasingly as companies’ audiences have begun to expect a digital experience. Google’s digital ads have consistently been the most utilized by companies for years, and their offerings have been getting leaner, meaner, and easier to implement.

But when you’re in a sector like Healthcare, there are a lot more hoops to jump through to ensure your digital ads comply with Google’s restrictions. These rules are ever-changing, and Google reserves the right to disapprove any ads it deems it falls under the broad category of “Health.” The field is also very competitive – one in 20 searches on Google are health related. This all adds up to a very complicated advertising journey. If you’ve got a small budget on top of that, you may want to think about hiring a professional who’s done healthcare advertising before.

Read on for some insights on the nuances of healthcare advertising and get some tips on how to run effective Google campaigns if you’re in the healthcare space.

Personalized Advertising

Personalized advertising is one of the most powerful tools a digital marketer can use. This encompasses interest categories, demographics, location targeting, remarketing lists, and more. But if you’re advertising anywhere near the health category, you may be restricted from using these tactics. Specifically the below is banned, but Google may automatically disapprove your ads. They always want to err on the side of caution when it comes to what they allow to be advertised, and sometimes getting a second review can take a while.

health in personalized advertising

Additionally, all advertisers are banned from using sensitive interest categories to target users, which includes personal hardships, identity and belief, sexual interests, and access to opportunities.

Prescription Drugs Advertising

Certain advertisers — such as online pharmacies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, health insurance advertisers, and others who use prescription drug terms  — need to apply for a Healthcare Products and Services Certification. This certification won’t lift the personalized advertising restrictions, so remarketing lists, affinity and other audiences, demographic, and location targeting are still off the table. If your company is an online pharmacy, you must be accredited by either the LegitScript Healthcare Merchant Certification and Monitoring Program, or the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). In order to advertise for recovery-oriented drug and alcohol addiction services, you must be certified as an addiction services provider by the LegitScript Certification program.

Covid-19 Advertising & Other Sensitive Topics

If you’re advertising on a sensitive topic, like the COVID-19 pandemic, you may get automatically disapproved. Advertising must not capitalize on sensitive events like civil emergencies, natural disasters, public health emergencies, terrorism, conflict, or mass acts of violence. At the beginning of the pandemic, there were many advertisers trying to jump onto digital advertising for their personal protective equipment, and these were quickly disallowed from the platform. While many companies have legitimate needs they are trying to fill, Google’s restrictions have little wiggle room. The only workaround is to remove all traces of the sensitive topic from your ads, and use long-tail keywords that mimic what your desired audience would be searching.

Small Budget Advertising

With pay per click advertising, you can really only pick one: small budget, bad website, or low management. You can have a bad website and low management if you’ve got a high budget (though we would categorically not recommend this!), but if you have a small budget you need to ensure that the rest of the equation is locked down. Your website can make or break your advertising, and leaving a campaign to run without any review can lead to overspend, inefficient budget use, and low clicks / conversions.

Your Website

Your website is the face of your business, and more than ever customers expect high quality, fast loading (under 2 seconds), and an easy-to-use experience. And if you’re running Google Ads, all of those qualities are even more important. Users will ditch your page if it took too long to load, isn’t working right, isn’t easy to use, looks like it’s fresh out of the 2010s, or if there are trust concerns. And when you’re paying per click, you’ve already spent money to bring them there!

An additional step that can increase your Google Ads performance exponentially is to use landing pages. These pages on your website are designed around a specific group of keywords you’re targeting, and have a streamlined design that encourages the user to follow a set path to conversion. This can include eliminating the menu, having only one Call To Action (CTA), and writing new copy with the targeted keywords.


Management of a PPC campaign can take 20 minutes a week to 2-3 hours, depending on the size of the account, the number of conversions you’re tracking, and what kind of targeting you’re using. No two businesses are alike, and so no two PPC accounts are alike. The main things you (or your agency) should be checking up on are the search terms and budgets. Search terms are what users actually type into Google Search, which are then matched with the keywords you’re targeting. These aren’t 1:1, and there may be some terms that you don’t want advertisements to show on.

For example, if you’re advertising on the more B2B-focused “medical supplier” keyword, you wouldn’t want your ad showing to someone searching for “home medical supplies.” There are also a number of things that can be tweaked, if you have more time. A/B testing the ad copy and landing page copy, analyzing competitors advertising, checking for broken links, finding new or trending keywords, auditing your bid strategy, adding new ad extensions like sitelinks or callouts, and more.

PPC advertising is quickly becoming many companies’ main form of advertising, and the trend reports say that there is no slowdown in adoption. 45% of small businesses are actively investing in PPC advertising to grow their business operations, and 74% of small businesses with more than 50 employees are investing in PPC advertising. If your health-related small business is looking to grow revenue or brand awareness, PPC advertising is the fastest, easiest, and most data-heavy way to do so.

If you’d like to know more or want to set up your own PPC campaigns, contact Bite Sized Media today.

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