Google will restrict regenerative medicine doctors’ ads starting 10/1/19.
Google recently announced that, as of October 1, 2019, practices will be prevented from promoting many regenerative medicine treatments through its ad services, including YouTube and banners it places on third-party sites. Stem cell therapy, cellular therapy, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), and gene therapy are all affected by this update.
Reactions from the regenerative medicine community writ large have been, so far, mixed. On one hand, the thinking goes, it protects patients from shady practices and untested therapies that have done real harm in the past. But on the other, it punishes the many upstanding doctors who help patients treat and recover from serious conditions without misusing terms or making false claims.
Predictably, some of our clients in the regenerative medicine field have expressed concerns about Google’s ban on their advertising capabilities. Chiefly, how will it impact their marketing strategies? And what should they be doing to protect themselves?
There’s good news: As unfair as this new policy might seem for the legitimate pioneers and thought leaders in regenerative medicine, our clients in the field stand to be largely unaffected by this change in Google’s policy. Here’s why.
1. As of today, the Google policy will not impact your SEO.
Google’s new advertising restrictions will not change what you’re doing on the SEO front for the time being. You are still able to optimize keywords like “stem cells” or “PRP” on your website free from any Google penalty so you stay at the top of local search results and reach patients who are looking for specific treatments or procedures. Additionally, Google now actually allows you to list your specialty on your Google My Business page and provide an in-depth business description (up to 750 characters), helping you get in front of more of the right patients.
2. Ads placed through Doctor.com on Healthgrades and featured listings on our vast partner network will continue to run normally.
Outside of Google, if you’re promoting your practice on Doctor.com’s premium partner Healthgrades, your ads are in the clear. This change in Google policy doesn’t impact our vast network of high-trafficked websites where the bulk of patients are searching for information about providers. Doctor.com will be able to maintain your regenerative specialties and procedures listings, banner ads, videos, and procedure-specific reviews on Healthgrades without incident.
3. In the end, Google Ads aren’t that effective for outreach or awareness anyway.
Now, we know this might be a hard pill to swallow. But even though Google controls the lion’s share of search, its ads, for what it’s worth, do little to convert. In fact, 80% of people ignore Google-sponsored ads, signifying a decline in the effectiveness of paid ads in search results. Instead, patients are turning to third-party sites where they can see doctors’ ratings, read objective patient feedback, and learn about the practice on their own terms. That’s great news for the regenerative medicine providers who work with Doctor.com on expanding, securing, and uplifting their online presence and reputation.
The field of regenerative medicine has made huge strides in recent years and seen consumer sentiment skyrocket, according to a first-of-its-kind report conducted by Doctor.com earlier this year.
We are confident that this marketing ban won’t hinder your efforts to reach and attract new patients, and we are excited to partner with you to help implement new creative ways to focus your advertising dollars outside of Google Ads.