Healthcare & Medical PPC Case Study

In this case study, you’ll learn how we were able to reduce cost per lead by 60%+ in a highly competitive industry and scale the campaigns to $20k+ per month.

Want to know how we did it?

Let’s get into it!


This customer works in the drug and alcohol treatment sector. With in-stay therapies that run between 30 and 90 days, they assist patients in recovering from drug and alcohol addictions.

Although enrolling in one of these programs is quite expensive, insurance frequently covers a portion of the cost.

To give you a sense of the costs (and consumer value), a typical in-stay recovery program lasts 30 days and generates about $30,000, and a rehab center can make around $1,000 per night each patient.

In this case, we are still profitable even with a high CPA (Cost Per Acquisition).

They came to us in order to lower their cost per lead and produce a steady stream of leads.

Initial Market Research

We always begin each campaign with preliminary market and competitor research. This enables us to examine your target keywords (if you have any) and provide a ballpark figure for the cost of obtaining a lead.

We also learn a ton of additional information from alternate keywords, competitor offers, and themes that we notice across the entire sector.

This research process enables us to compete before we have even spent a dime.

Our initial knowledge of this being a competitive market was supported by our investigation.

Keywords & CPCs

In fact, the average CPC is $65 for high intent keywords.

When searching “Rehab Center” in Ahrefs. There were 162 domains and 375 ads at that time competing for that one keyword.

We knew our strategy was going to have to be strong right out of the gate.


Depending on the specialization, Google has a wide range of policies, and frequently, the more lucrative the niche, the more policies they have.

To ensure that we are able to run compliant advertising in every situation, we assist clients in navigating these waters. We frequently advise clients on the kinds of ads they can and cannot run as well as the best course of action.

Compliance is crucial now and in the future.

In this case, not only do we face a high CPC and a huge amount of competition but we also face some large restrictions from Google when it comes to Addiction Services.

We were able to help our clients navigate these policies and assisted in getting their “healthcare products and services certification” from Google.

We had to keep policies top of mind and triple-check everything. We’re very strict when it comes to following the policy. We didn’t want to see our ads get disapproved or worse the account getting suspended.

Campaign Themes

In our campaign research, we always perform competition research, looking at ads, keywords, landing pages, CTAs, and more.

We’re looking for “themes” to help hone in on what’s important in the industry.

For example, we saw common competitor themes throughout ads and landing pages:

  • Types of amenities that the center has
  • Compelling Imagery of the actual center
  • Details on Insurance & what is accepted
  • Availability of onsite staff (24/7)
  • Social Proof to build trust (logos of trusted organizations)
  • Reinforcing that the communication is safe & confidential

Given the fierce competition in this market, we were aware that we needed to create some really strong commercials and landing page material. That gave our viewers a sense of security and self-assurance and made it simple for them to take action.

Our landing page would need to contain more content than just a standard CTA (Call To Action) and company details. The on-site doctor’s contact information, an F.A.Q. section, a ton of social proof, and compelling copy that feels very private were all necessary.

The Audit

We also audit the Google Ads account if there is any history for insights.

We can often diagnose problems right from here, or gain valuable insight from what has worked in the past to use in the campaigns.

Here are some of the insights we uncovered:

Conversion Tracking

Having proper tracking is vital to measuring success with a campaign – If you don’t have it set up correctly, it’s impossible to optimize in scale.

We knew we had some questions to answer when we saw that some “conversions” had a cost of $23k per piece.

When we looked into this,  we found that when someone landed on their contact page, not even taking action that it was counted as a conversion.

When we set up conversion tracking – we’ll only be tracking confirmed leads or phone calls, so we know for sure the correct action was taken and can optimize for that.


The next big indicator that something was strange was the average CPC.

For these types of keywords and this competitive industry, the average CPC is ~$50.

In this case, this account was getting an average CPC of $9.41 which is quite low from our research, especially for an Exact Match keyword.

These keywords with this match type are usually much higher due to high competition in the marketplace.

Google Ads has tons of default settings that can rob you blind, and one of them is leaving on “Search Partners”

For most accounts, you’ll want to start with this default setting turned off. By default, Google will display your ads on hundreds of other sites than just Google.

This takes the intention of our keyword and practically flushes it down the drain. You’ll see cheaper clicks, but usually way fewer conversions.

The reason we spend more money on high intent keywords is that we know that traffic is looking for that specific product or service.

We always keep our search campaigns solely on Google Search platforms and always disable the Search partner’s settings at the beginning of a campaign.

You will even see below how Google is making you feel bad for turning off Search Partners and Display Network.

Google Ads is filled with little checkboxes like this that we meticulously crawl through and turn off to make sure the campaign performs at the highest level.

New Campaigns & New Systems – Fixing Old Campaign Issues

With all this research complete, we went into to set up the new campaigns.


Our preliminary investigation led us to a large number of potential keyword targets.

Working with the customer, we concentrated on a few keyword groups that we believed would be most effective.

We included a list of keywords that we thought were very relevant and competitive.

We eliminated a lot of unnecessary bandwidth right away by concentrating just on the Search network and not running our advertising on the Partners network.

Negative Keywords

Negative keywords assist you in preventing your adverts from showing up on irrelevant or unrelated terms to what you are selling.

Even before we start the advertisements, we conduct keyword research for unfavorable keywords. We refer to this as “pre-optimization,” because it significantly reduces our costs before we even begin.

We compiled a sizable list of unfavorable keywords using both our own research and historical campaign data.


We always split test 3 ads per ad group to see which headlines do the best.

To get a proper split test between all 3 ads to see which headlines work best. Be sure to set your ads to rotate indefinitely.

Message Match

You should always check for a “Message Match” across your keywords, ad copy, and landing page.

As a result, it is much simpler for the traffic to respond “Yes, this is what I was looking for” once they have found their solution.

According to our early market research, customers were curious about the location, the facility, its certification, and the kind of experience they could anticipate.

From the advertising to the callout extensions to the landing sites, these components are sporadically used throughout the campaign.


As noted in the original ad, they explain they don’t accept Medicaid or Medical insurance. This is very important for pre-vetting but we just placed this on the landing page to pre-vet leads.

Calls vs Form Fills

The following step in this campaign’s construction was “reducing friction” with regard to our landing pages.

We discovered through comprehensive competitive research that customers preferred options for getting in touch with the company; but, given the highly personalized nature of the industry, not all customers may be willing to opt-in and provide their information.

So, we included phone and form submission options on our landing sites.

The landing page was a huge improvement since there’s only one place on their website to click the phone number to call.

All of our numbers on our landing page are Click To Call enabled.


The other significant component we included was a seemingly insignificant but crucial component.

We asked you to “Verify Your Insurance” in our call to action.

This required much less time and effort, and also qualified leads by determining whether they would have the financial resources to pay for live-in therapy.

We believed it needed to be as straightforward and private as feasible for this sector. You’ll notice phrases like “Confidential & Judgement Free” and “Fill Out The Safe & Confidential Form Below” all over the advertisements and landing page.

When writing copy traffic might not read every word or every line but most users actually skim.

So it is important to keep your copy simple, straight to the point, and highlight points of trust.

Conversions Tracking

All tracking for our campaigns utilizes Google Ad Conversions, Google Analytics, and Google Tag Manager.

For these campaigns, we had three different conversions set up.

New Lead Generated Via Form Fill

This conversion is built using Google Tag Manager. When someone lands on the confirmation page, after opting-in, then a trigger is fired and the data is sent over to Google Ads.

If traffic outside of Google hits this confirmation page it will not register inside of Google Ad Conversions.

New Phone Call From Landing Page

For this conversion, we built it using a Click URL trigger through Google Tag Manager. When someone clicks our phone number URL.

I.e. tel:222-222-2222 then it will fire off as a new phone call from the landing page.

This call link will allow a user to make a call from mobile and desktop.

New Phone Call From Ads & Extensions

This was set up to track any calls from our Call Only ads and Call Extensions.

For these phone calls, you will be able to find the call details which show the time of the call, length of the call, if it was missed or received, and the area code.

This report is very useful to understand the quality of calls.

With the proper research done, campaigns in place, CRO-driven landing page in place, and proper tracking setup it is time to go to market.

Initial Launch

We started with a budget of $10,000 per month for this campaign per month and the campaign started in mid-October.

Within the first two weeks, we saw their CPL’s went from thousands of dollars down to hundreds of dollars in a matter of a few days.

This not only gave us good insight that our system was working but we also started seeing a large trend and opportunity to scale this campaign.

Optimization & Scaling

The fun starts here after we launch campaigns.

We carry out daily optimizations, taking into account negative keywords, which ads are generating traffic, what devices are effective, whether customers in this sector prefer to contact or fill out forms, etc.

We can scale the campaigns while keeping the prices where we want them by considering these aspects!

Search Term Report

Every work day, we examine and optimize every one of our campaigns.

Through this strategy, we were able to exclude unimportant traffic and concentrate our funds on crucial clicks.

We add a new search to the search phrase report for every click.

Every working day, we set out time to analyze the search term reports and add any low-intent or irrelevant phrases to the list of prohibited keywords.

Here is an example.

Our Call Only ad for “Rehab Centers” showed when a search for “what is the veteran hospital rehabilitation center” was made.

Google still considers “Rehab Centers” to be a close variant even though we have it as a phrase match term.

We go through them and add these keywords to the negative keyword list every day because it is obvious that Google is abusing its discretion in this case and displaying our advertisement on a non-optimal search phrase.

One of the main ways advertisers waste money is when people skip this crucial stage in optimization, which is something we frequently observe.

Negative keywords are therefore crucial for your everyday optimization.

By doing this, you will be able to attract the greatest amount of irrelevant traffic, maintain a low cost per conversion, and attract qualified visitors that has the proper intent.

I added the terms “veteran hospital” and “hospital” as negative keywords for this particular search.

When we scaled, we noticed that as we improved our negative keyword list, our conversion rate rose and our CPL fell.

Scaling Up Month 2

The client requested that we increase the budget to $20,000 USD in the second month.

Our current search campaigns’ first launch phase was constrained by budget (meaning that there was more traffic out there if we had the budget for it).

In order to receive more phone calls, we increased our campaign expenses and introduced a Call Only campaign.

There is a good probability that your conversion rate and cost per lead could fall if you double your budget so quickly.

We scaled this budget by increasing our daily budgets incrementally every day while monitoring the results.

Since our average CPC was $50-$65 this didn’t “Rock” the boat too much and we didn’t see a negative effect on our CPL’s.

Out of all of our campaigns, we saw that Call Only was the clear winner from a metric standpoint. It had a lower CPL and a higher conversion rate.

With our ad spend increasing so did the number of clicks.

Keyword Expansion

With this campaign, we added more relevant keywords while maintaining our original phrases.

One of the most crucial measures when scaling an account is to elaborate on keywords. You can find fresh keywords using a variety of techniques.

if an existing campaign is generating leads. So instead of a tool, my main attention is on our data.

To locate competitors that are bidding on your terms, use the Auction Insights. The Search Term report will also give you a lot of inspiration.

Tip: When looking at Auction Insights, you now see your competition’s sites, see what keywords they’re bidding (Inside Ahrefs or similar tool), and much more.

Tip: When looking at the Search term report review by the searches that did not convert at all. In the screenshot above I see a large trend of people typing in competitor’s name plus rehabilitation center. Now I can research them, look into new ad angles, and also add a plethora of negative keywords.

After reviewing that data you can plug it into Google Keyword Planner, Moz Pro, SEMrush, or other tools.

CTAs For Call-Only Campaigns

If you’re utilizing Call-Only campaigns. Your Call To Action needs to be focused on them calling your business. Make sure you’re getting creative with your CTAs and give them a reason to call you.


Call Headline: Call 222-222-2222 (Standard by Google. You cannot change this)

Headline 1: Luxury Rehab In XZY

Headline 2: Verify Your Insurance Now

Call Headline: Call 222-222-2222 (Standard by Google. You cannot change this)

Headline 1: Luxury Rehab In XZY

Headline 2: 100% Confidential Calls

During this time we saw Call-Only campaigns caught some traction and grew our campaigns to great heights.

We increased the conversion rate by 2.26% and dropped our initial CPL of $404.24 down to $329.69.

We saved $74.55 per conversion during the month of November.

We drove in a total of 55 calls that month and also 16 form fills.

When analyzing this trend from a higher point of view we’re seeing that many people are much more comfortable calling about this sensitive situation compared to giving up their information.

It is very important to split test your CTAs during your campaigns.

You will be surprised in which way people will contact you, the quality of leads from calls vs form fills, and even the CPL.

Scaling Up Month 3

During December we soaked up the budget leftover from November and used our trending data to guide us home to end the year with a BANG!

We added more budget to our Call Only campaign and actually pulled back on the search campaigns.

This once again proved to be the right step since we were able to drop our CPL for the third month in a row.

  • CPL: $315.01
  • Conversion Rate: 17.91%
  • Conversions: 67
  • Phone Calls: 61
  • Form Fills: 6


We were able to significantly enhance the results for this account with our streamlined methodology, lowering the initial cost per lead by more than 67% and expanding to more than $20k per month financially.

This was all made possible by our thorough approach, which considers every area of lead acquisition, including market study, account auditing, keyword research, and pre-optimization. It also includes proper tracking, landing pages, optimization, and scaling.

A successful campaign involves a number of different factors.

Are you prepared to use PPC to launch and expand your business?

Nationwide healthcare facilities and fitness businesses have come to us for website optimization, PPC advertising setup, and increased web traffic. Learn more about the services we offer.

Simply book a call with us to discuss your business.