Case Study - Do Facebook Ads Work For Addiction Treatment?

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Ever since we debuted our social ads campaigns to participating treatment centers last October, we'd strongly suspected we could get qualified leads, profitably, in the treatment niche.

We'd seen it work with our orthodontic and cosmetic surgery clients, so we rolled-it-out to the industry we'd been serving with Adwords: addiction treatment.

Six months and several pilot clients later, the results are in: our campaigns have succeeded in getting insurance-qualified leads, profitably and ethically.

Let's take the example of a southern California residential center we worked with recently.

The Situation

Our clients had seen the Adwords ban reduce their ability to reach people who needed their help, and, hence, their census.

They'd been experimenting with other forms of web advertising - in fact they'd been working with an agency for almost a year - but nothing was producing the results they wanted.

Here was the problem:

They'd spend money on campaigns, and agency fees.

Agencies would talk about "branding", and "site views".

They'd look at the leads that were coming in, when any came in at all, and they were 100% unqualified.

We asked them: "how many qualified leads does it take to get one admit?"

3-4 verification-of-benefits (VOBs), they told us.

To them, a VOB meant a conversation with someone whose insurance turned out, after verification, to be qualified.

The Solution

As with other clients, and our own campaigns, we knew getting leads would be the easy part. Indeed, we got handfuls in just the first week.

What's more, we knew how to get plenty more - just optimize the campaigns for more conversions, without segmenting for the type of insurance.

But every inquiry from a person without qualified insurance meant a sometimes-heartbreaking conversation, and a referral.

We knew we'd have to dig deeper.

When you cut all the jargon, there are only two ways to affect your ad performance:

  • Whom you're showing your ads to
  • What you're showing them

The former means audiences. We started with what we already knew was working, and utilized about half the ad budget on that. The remainder, we poured into a series of around five increasingly-granular experiments. The goal: to see which audiences were most likely to convert to qualified leads, and shift resources to those.

An example of our internal optimization tracking, coyly redacted for maximum intrigue and frustration

An example of our internal optimization tracking, coyly redacted for maximum intrigue and frustration

The latter means copy, and offers. I.e. what your ads say, and what your webpages say. As refinements to the audiences produced ever-more leads, we experimented with language, disclosures, and "consent gateways" (like the checkmark you have to check in order to purchase something in the iTunes store). The result was fewer inquiries at the bottom of the funnel, but a higher rate of pre-qualified insurance.

The Result

I'm going to show you exactly what we achieved, then explain how to interpret the results.

Below is a screenshot of the leads we produced for our client, in around six weeks, for around $4000 in ad spent.

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The red-tinted cells at the top are leads we considered insurance-qualified. Specific policies have been hidden.

In six weeks, for around $4000 in ad spend, our campaigns produced ten (10) insurance-qualified leads, among a total of 30 form-submission leads. (Not including a few calls.)

In order to count as a verification-of-benefits, a center needs to complete a conversation with a given lead, and the purported insurance needs to check out.

An average we've observed is something like 40-50% of the insurance pre-qualified leads turn into VOBs. We increase the conversation rate in two ways:

  • Disclosures and "consent gateways" on the forms
  • Follow-up protocols that we agree to with our clients

This may come as a shock to centers used to "buying calls"; a channel from which it often takes 20 conversations before a single one has qualified insurance.

What clients receive from us is far-more-curated.

Let's imagine the ROI of such a campaign:

$4000 in ad spend

Ten insurance qualified leads

4-5 conversations

Our clients tell us they admit between 1/3 and 1/4 of their VOBs

What's more, we typically see the cost-per-lead come down continuously during the first few months of a campaign, so the cost of the initial leads is different from the eventual cost-per-lead.

Want to see if we could do this for your center? Just click here to learn more.

PS - we'd also like to issue a good-natured challenge: Has any treatment center or marketing agency achieved similar, verifiable results? Shoot us an email at . We'd love to hear about it.