LegitScript Certification for Drug Rehabs – What’s the Deal?
Whether you’re a seasoned addiction treatment biz owner or new to the industry, social media marketing is essential to get your name out there, build some credibility and create a following. But the rules of that game have changed. You can’t get a paid presence on social channels the way we used to because of something call LegitScript. The deal is, if you want the privilege of advertising your drug rehab on Google and Facebook you have to get LegitScript Certified. And it comes, of course, with a price. Now moving forward, LegitScript certification for drug rehabs is the only way to go.
The Reason Behind LegitScript Certification for Drug Rehabs
Trust doesn’t come easy in the drug rehab space and social media outlets, without stricter guidelines, created an easy forum for unscrupulous players to taint our industry. The reason Google and Facebook implemented this new third party verification system is because too many third party marketers abused the Google Adwords pay-per-click (PPC) platform for drug rehabs. Before LegitScript, PPC ads could misrepresent their products, services and more, often sending patients to rehabs that did not exist or were misleading, and often duplicating the same ill-practices on landing pages. Not cool.
Social Media Won’t Get You Far If Your Roadmap Is Short-Sighted
If you look at the internet superhighway as an interstate, consider LegitScript as a tax on your rehab that allows you to get impressions in front of influencers and families looking to purchase your addiction treatment services. While we understand the underpinnings of why Google and Facebook instituted the verification process, you have to know this still does not begin to get you to the “promised land” as far as advertising is concerned. But it’s the gate you have to go through to get you there.
Addiction Treatment and the Cost of Doing Social
If you want to advertise on Google (specifically) be prepared to spend $5,000 to $15,000 PER PATIENT – PER MONTH – PER ADMISSION. And that’s for a 30-day residential stay for a PPO policyholder, though this estimate pretty much holds true for inpatient detox as well. But here’s the biggest problem: If you are “in-network”, you’re basically out of luck as far as paid advertising goes, especially on Google. Now there are exceptions.
Some rehabs have been publishing information on their websites for a long time and have built a lot of trust with web users and with Google. This being the case, their cost per admit can range in the $500 to $2,500 range but don’t expect this unless you have at least a six-year history in the rehab space with Google.
What Are the Benefits of Adding a LegitScript Certification to Your Drug Rehab?
Without a LegitScript certification, drug and alcohol treatment owners, operators and marketers limit their options on driving traffic to their website.
- ONLY GAME IN TOWN – At this point in time, there isn’t any other solution or platform available (“LegitScript is the only independent certification organization that is recognized by Google and Facebook for this purpose.”) that gives you the greenlight on PPC adwords and keywords on the Google or Facebook platform.
- AVOID DISRUPTIONS – Without LegitScript, your PPC will get shut down until you get reinstated and certified. However, chances are, you won’t ever be able to advertise on social anyway without being certified. This is kind of like setting up a booth in the Jacob Javits Convention Center in NYC for a trade show; you have to pay for and use their unions, sorry no alternatives. With social marketing and PPC, the same holds true.
- GOOGLE MAY LOOK FAVORABLY ON YOUR WEBSITE – This is a maybe. What we do know is that trust icons used throughout the internet add trust to websites, adding credibility in the eyes of your site visitors. In addition, because LegitScript is a trusted partner with Google and Facebook, this certification could likely give you an edge on your SEO, from Google’s standpoint. We don’t think they will force you to advertise with them.
There is a fine print to the certification. (Of course there is.)
Not All Addiction Recovery Businesses Are LegitScript Criteria
LegitScript prohibits “recovery residences” from its certification. In other words, if you are a sober living, halfway house, continuing after care program NOT providing any clinical care, you cannot advertise. However, don’t sweat it because you won’t be able to afford the same keywords as the rehabs that are getting reimbursed for residential out of network PPO for 30 day admits.
At this point, all we know is that there are only dozens of the some 300 companies have been approved for the LegitScript platform that are advertising. However, this may have changed at the publishing of this article.
If you choose to move forward with a LegitScript certification for your drug rehab or alcohol addiction treatment facility, we can assist you with integrating some simple steps to help make the process easier, such as changing your domain from private to public (a LegitScript requirement). In fact, it’s easy to see who owns the domains by going to GoDaddy’s Whois link. Once there, you’ll see that rehabs are required to list ALL of their domains, not just the ones that they are going to set up advertising accounts with.
In our opinion, the LegitScript roll out will begin to keep a lot of our industry players honest. However, who is going to enforce this by calling all the 800 numbers on the internet and making sure that they are linked to the right places? It’ll be interesting and it’s definitely a step in the right direction.