Google To Lose Millions From Restricting Addiction Treatment Search Ads

Advertisers spent about $78.1 million for desktop search ads based on 157-related keywords for addiction treatment and rehabilitation from September 2016 to September 2017, according to data released this week.

AdGooroo Director of Marketing Jim Leichenko admits the number may be a bit high, because some of the spend comes from 501(c)(3) nonprofit groups, which are eligible to receive $10,000 of advertising per month through the Google Ad Grants program. "It's still in the tens of millions of dollars," he said.

Last week, Google began pulling ads and restricting the use of some keywords for search ads related to addiction treatment centers, citing the rise in the overuse of opioid-type drugs in the United States. The change will not affect organic search.

The cost per click is high on average for many of these keywords, Leichenko said.

The top cost per click for substance abuse-treatment keyword during this period was "drug rehabilitation," at $36.96 with an average click-through rate of 3.9%. About 480 advertisers bid on these keywords.



"Alcoholics anonymous" generated more than $16.4 million on an average cost per click of $8.51. Three other alcohol abuse-related keywords made the top 10 ranking, including "alcohol withdrawal" at $2.3 million, "alcohol detoxification" at $1.6 million and "alcohol detox" at $1.5 million.

The average cost per click for all 157 keywords was $19.26, with the average CPC for some keywords more than triple. Florida seems to be a hotbed for these types of ads. The most expensive term AdGooroo found was "drug rehab in florida." About 380 advertisers paid an average of $64.99 per click during the 12 months that were analyzed.

This is not the first time Google has given up revenue based on moral reasons. Leichenko estimates Google lost about $35 million from regulating payday loans on the desktop.

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