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Google Ads for Therapists: Budgets & Strategies for Success

More and more people are turning to online searches when seeking mental health services. But how do you, as a therapist, reach these potential clients and make sure your practice stands out? Google Ads can be a powerful tool to connect with people actively looking for therapy. In this blog post, I will guide you through the steps of setting up Google Ads for therapists, as well as the budget you should spend on.

Why Google Ads for Therapists?

In the digital age, reaching out to potential clients and making your services known can be a challenge. This is where Google Ads comes into play. Here’s why therapists should invest in Google Ads:

Increase visibility in search results

When potential clients are looking for therapy services, the first place they often turn to is Google. By using Google Ads, therapists can ensure that their services appear at the top of search results, increasing their visibility to those who need their help the most. This increased visibility can lead to more clicks, more website visits, and ultimately, more clients.

Target local clients actively seeking therapy services

One of the major benefits of Google Ads is the ability to target ads based on location. This means that therapists can specifically target potential clients in their local area who are actively seeking therapy services. This level of targeting can lead to higher quality leads and a higher conversion rate, as the people seeing the ads are those most likely to require the advertised services.

Control advertising costs by setting a budget

Google Ads operates on a PPC (pay-per-click) model, meaning therapists only pay when someone clicks on their ad. This, combined with the ability to set a daily budget, gives therapists control over their advertising costs. Therapists can set a budget that suits their financial capabilities, ensuring that they do not overspend on advertising.

High return on investment

Therapists can see a significant return on investment (ROI) from Google Ads.  Considering the average client attends 9 sessions at $150 per session, a new client equates to roughly $1350 in revenue. Google Ads can deliver referrals for $200 or less, meaning a therapist can potentially earn a profit of $1150 per client acquired through this advertising method.

Track the effectiveness of your ads

Google Ads provides detailed analytics that allows therapists to track the effectiveness of their ads. They can see how many people have seen their ad, how many have clicked on it, and how many have taken a desired action after clicking, such as calling the office or booking an appointment. This data can provide valuable insights that can be used to tweak and improve future ad campaigns.

How to Use Google Ads for Therapists?

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use Google Ads for your therapy practices to connect with those who need their services most.

Bidding on the high search intent keywords

Choosing the right keywords for your private practice and mental health services is vital for an effective campaign. When it comes to Google Ads for therapists, here are some nice and juicy keywords that will probably work well for therapy ads:

  • therapist
  • therapy services
  • online therapist
  • cbt therapist
  • therapist in [location]
  • therapist near me
  • psychotherapist
  • mental health therapy
  • mental health services
  • couples counseling
  • counseling in [location]
  • counseling near me
  • online therapy
Google ads for therapists_Keywords

When planning a therapist Google Ads strategy, you must consider what people are looking for when they want a therapist. Try to think about what you would “Google” if you were looking for a therapist.

A free keyword research tool that is useful for conducting keyword research, and offering insights into keyword ideas, search volumes, and cost statistics is the Google Ads Keyword Planner. This keyword research tool is integrated within Google Ads and can be accessed via the menu located at the top of the Google Ads dashboard.

Craft ads that offer hope and support

When someone searches for therapy online, they’re often in a vulnerable state. They might be feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or lost.  Your Google Ads can be a beacon of hope and support during this crucial time. Here’s how to craft ads that resonate with potential clients seeking therapy:

  • Headlines that resonate: Use the first 30 characters wisely to address common concerns like “Feeling Overwhelmed? Therapy Can Help” or “Anxiety Relief – Start Today”. You can also flex about your achievement to increase your credibility, like in this example.
Google ads for therapists_Headlines
  • Descriptions that offer solutions: Expand on your headlines in the description (90 characters). Mention your specialties, approach to therapy, or unique offerings (e.g., sliding scale fees).
  • Warm and welcoming tone: Avoid overly clinical language. Use a compassionate and understanding tone that conveys your ability to help.
  • Clear CTA: Tell potential clients what to do next! Examples include “Schedule a Free Consultation” or “Learn More About Our Services”.

Set up location targeting

To ensure your ad reaches the right people, you should target people who are normally in your location radius. This will filter out people who are outside your target location radius but are searching for your keywords. Such a setting will enhance the efficiency of your Google Ads for therapists and reduce unnecessary ad spending.

Google ads for therapists_Set up location targeting

I highly recommend a radius of about 15 miles or less around where your therapy office is located. This is because most patients don’t want to drive too far to an appointment so I recommend not going higher than 15. You can adjust the size of your radius based on the size of the city your office is located in.

While location targeting is helpful, prioritize user privacy. Google Ads offers options to exclude specific demographics or interests to avoid reaching users who might not be comfortable with online advertising for therapy services.

Use ad extensions

There are different ad extensions (or assets) in Google Ads and I recommend using as many as possible in your Google Ads for therapists campaign. When using assets, remember that not all assets will appear together every time your ad is shown. Here is a list of the 5 main types of ad assets I recommend therapy clinics use in their Google Ads:


Sitelink extension gives users a one-click option to the potential answer of whatever the searcher is looking for. Every site link will feature a headline and a description. Suppose a user is looking for therapy services; you could display four sitelinks under your ad, each representing a different product type. Each sitelink would have the type of product in the headline and a description of the features of each product below.

Google ads for therapists_Use sitelinks

Location extensions

This feature enables you to connect your Google My Business account with your Google Ads account, allowing your physical address to be displayed right below. This is particularly beneficial for local businesses like therapy clinics, and it’s highly recommended to incorporate this extension in your ads.

Google ads for therapists_Use location extensions

Call extensions

This feature showcases your contact number directly in the ad text on desktop devices. For mobile users, it adds a “click to call” button to your ad. This extension is especially beneficial for therapy clinics as it can help attract new patients. Not only does it provide a quick way for potential patients to call, but it also offers them the option to send a direct message if they prefer that mode of communication.

Google ads for therapists_Use call extensions

Consider hiring a professional

If you’re new to Google Ads or if you’re not seeing the results you want, consider hiring a professional agency, like Mega Digital. As Google’s Premier Partner agency, we’re here to help you navigate these guidelines and run effective, compliant Google Ads campaigns.

How much should you spend on Google Ads for Therapists?

Our experience with hundreds of therapists suggests starting with a daily budget of $20. This equates to a monthly budget of approximately $600. I recommend testing this budget for 2-3 months.

Getting a Google Ads account up and running is a quick process, and you can have an ad showing as early as the next day. However, immediate performance is not guaranteed. The first month often serves as an experimental phase, where you gather data on the effectiveness of your initial ads, targeted keywords, and locations. This data then informs necessary changes to your ads, targeting, or landing pages.

Consider, for example, targeting an area with high ad competition where the average cost-per-click (CPC) is $5.00. With a daily budget of $20, this allows for 4 clicks per day. Given this budget and click cost, it will take some time to collect enough data for optimization, including data for different days of the week.

Also, it’s important to understand a crucial yet often overlooked metric when running ads, especially in the therapy industry, which is the average Lifetime Value (LTV) of a client. This is the total revenue you can expect from a client throughout their relationship with your practice. Knowing this value can help you make informed decisions about your Google Ads budget. For instance, if the lifetime value of a client is significantly higher than the cost of acquiring a new client through Google Ads, then the investment in advertising could be well worth it.

Things to Keep in Mind When Running Google Ads for Therapists

Comply with Google’s personal hardship policy

Google’s personalized advertising policy prohibits ads that exploit users’ personal struggles, difficulties, and hardships. So, how can you run Google Ads for therapists while still complying with this policy?

The key is to avoid any personalized targeting with your ads. Instead, focus on location and age groups only. Run search campaigns and bid on keywords like “counseling near me” or “couples therapy”. By doing this, your ad will be in compliance with Google’s policy and still reach the people who need your services the most. Remember, the goal of your business is to offer support and help, not to exploit their struggles for ad statistics or anything else. 

Do not ignore your ad leads

When reaching out to you by clicking an ad, mental health-concerned patients need your support as soon as possible. In case your ad is generating too many leads to the point where you cannot keep up, you can pause the ad. You never want to get hit with bad reviews because you’re not calling prospective patients back.

Wrap up

In conclusion, running a successful Google Ads campaign for therapists requires a deep understanding of your target audience, careful keyword selection, compelling ad copy and ongoing management. With these points in mind, you’ll be well on your way to attracting more clients and growing your practice.

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