How To Set Up A Google Ads Campaign As A Therapist

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Let’s be real: online advertising and Google ads can seem complex and potentially expensive, especially for therapists looking to grow their practice. Google Ads effectively reach potential clients, but setting them up requires careful planning and strategic thinking. This article aims to simplify the process from start to finish, attempting to ensure that therapists not only understand Google Ads but also use them to their full potential.

Google Ads and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising can be powerful additions to a therapist’s marketing strategy. The benefits are substantial, from the ability to target specific demographics to the capacity to track the effectiveness of your advertising budget. However, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks, such as the financial commitment required.

Setting up a Google Ads campaign is a step-by-step process. It starts with understanding your client’s lifetime value (LTV) to make informed budgeting decisions. Then, you’ll set clear objectives and optimize your website for conversions. We’ll guide you through choosing the right campaign type, essential settings for therapists, and how to target the ideal audience through thoughtful keyword selection and ad scheduling.

Creating compelling ads is an art in itself. We’ll cover what constitutes effective ad assets and how to craft messages that resonate with potential clients. Managing your campaign effectively through Google Ads Dashboard, using tools like search terms reports and negative keywords, is crucial for ongoing success.

Finally, we will provide additional resources for those seeking further guidance, address common FAQs, and offer insights into maximizing the impact of your Google Ads efforts. Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or new to the field, this guide is designed to help you leverage Google Ads to enhance the visibility and reach of your therapy practice.

What Are Google Ads?

Google Ads is an advertising solution provided by Google that allows businesses, including therapy practices, to display ads on Google’s search engine and associated networks. It operates on a pay-per-click (PPC) model, meaning you pay only when a user clicks on your ad. This platform enables therapists to reach a broader audience by targeting specific keywords related to their services, appearing to potential clients precisely when searching for psychological support and counseling services.

What Is PPC (Pay-Per-Click)?

PPC, or Pay-Per-Click, is an advertising model used widely in online marketing, including on platforms like Google Ads. In this model, advertisers pay a fee when one of their ads is clicked. It’s a way of buying visits to your site rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically. For therapists, PPC offers a direct route to appear in front of potential clients actively searching for therapy services, providing a significant advantage in a competitive market.

What Are The Advantages Of Google Ads For Therapists?

Google Ads offers multiple advantages for therapists looking to expand their client base. First, it provides targeted exposure. Therapists can display their ads to potential clients based on specific search queries, geographic location, and even the type of device used for searching. Additionally, Google Ads includes tools for tracking the effectiveness of ads, allowing therapists to see real-time results and adjust their strategies accordingly. This data-driven approach helps maximize return on investment (ROI) by focusing on strategies that work, and pausing those that do not.

Are There Any Disadvantages Of Using Google Ads For Therapists?

While Google Ads can be very beneficial, there are also some challenges and disadvantages. The most significant is cost. Depending on the competitiveness of the keywords targeted, costs can increase quickly, and without careful management, they can become a substantial financial burden. Setting up and managing a Google Ads campaign requires expertise and time. If not done correctly, campaigns can result in low ROI, making it important for therapists to either develop these skills or hire professionals.

What Is The Lifetime Value (Ltv) Of Clients For Therapists?

Understanding a client’s Lifetime Value (LTV) is important for therapists using Google Ads. LTV is the total revenue a business can expect from a single client throughout their relationship. For therapists, calculating LTV involves analyzing session fees, the frequency of visits, and the average duration a client remains with the practice. This metric is invaluable as it helps therapists make informed decisions about how much to invest in acquiring new clients through advertising while ensuring profitability and sustainable practice growth.

To illustrate the concept of Lifetime Value (LTV) for therapists, let’s consider an example:

Imagine a therapist charges $100 per session and typically sees a client once a week. If the average client continues therapy for about 6 months, the calculation would look like this:

  • Number of sessions per month: 4 sessions
  • Session fee: $100
  • Duration of therapy: 6 months


LTV=Number of sessions per month × Session fee × Duration of therapy (in months)



In this example, the LTV of a client for this therapist is $2400. This means, on average, each client is worth $2400 in revenue to the practice over the course of their engagement. 

Understanding this value helps the therapist decide how much money they can reasonably spend on marketing efforts, like Google Ads, to acquire a new client while still making a profit. For instance, if the therapist sets a target to spend no more than 10% of the LTV on acquiring a new client, they can budget up to $240 per client for their marketing efforts.

How To Prepare Your Google Ads Campaign

By setting a solid foundation for your Google Ads Campaign, therapists can optimize their campaigns for better reach and effectiveness. Below, we discuss important factors to consider before launching your campaign and important steps to prepare your website for Google Ads.

What Should I Consider Before Starting My Google Ads Campaign?

Before starting your Google Ads campaign, therapists need to think about several important aspects:

  • Goals and Objectives: Define what you want to achieve with your campaign. Are you looking to increase bookings, promote a new service, or raise awareness about your practice? Your goals will guide all other aspects of the campaign setup.
  • Budget: Determine how much you will spend daily or monthly on ads. Remember to think about your clients’ Lifetime Value (LTV) to be sure that your investment is proportionate and likely to yield a profitable return.
  • Target Audience: Identify who your ideal clients are. Consider factors such as demographics, location, and the specific mental health challenges they face. This understanding will help in creating more relevant and appealing ads.
  • Competitor Analysis: Research what other therapists in your area are doing with their Google Ads. This can give you insights into what might work for your practice and help differentiate your services.
  • Tracking and Analytics: Plan how you will track the success of your ads. Setting up tools like Google Analytics and conversion tracking before you start your campaign will provide you with valuable data to optimize your strategy.

How Should I Prepare My Website For Google Ads?

Your website plays a crucial role in the success of your Google Ads campaign. It’s often the first detailed interaction potential clients have with your practice, so making a strong impression is key. Here’s how to prepare your site:

  • Optimize Your Website for User Experience (UX): Make sure your website is easy to navigate, visually appealing, and mobile-friendly. A seamless user experience reduces bounce rates and increases the chances of conversions.
  • Create Relevant Landing Pages: Design landing pages that correlate directly with your ads. If someone clicks on an ad about anxiety counseling, the landing page should provide detailed information about your anxiety treatment services, not just your homepage.
  • Load Time and Technical SEO: Improve your website’s load time by optimizing images, leveraging browser caching, and minimizing the use of heavy scripts. Additionally, be sure basic SEO elements like meta tags and descriptions are in place and optimized for relevant keywords.
  • Clear Call-to-Action (CTA): Each page should have a clear call-to-action, encouraging visitors to take a specific step, such as booking a consultation or contacting you for more information. Make sure these CTAs are prominent and straightforward.
  • Privacy Policy and Compliance: Be sure your website complies with privacy regulations such as HIPAA (for U.S.-based therapists) by securing patient information and providing a clear privacy policy. This not only builds trust but also aligns with Google’s advertising policies.

How To Set Up Your Campaign

Setting up your Google Ads campaign requires understanding the campaign objectives, choosing the right type, and tweaking the settings for optimal performance. This section will guide you through these steps to ensure your therapy practice effectively targets and attracts the right clients.

How Do I Choose The Right Campaign Objective And Type For My Therapy Practice?

Choosing the right campaign objective is important as it aligns your ads with your practice’s goals. Google Ads provides several campaign objectives, but for therapists, the following are typically the most relevant:

  • Leads: If your primary goal is to acquire new clients, selecting ‘Lead generation’ as your campaign objective is suitable. This objective focuses on gathering contact information from potential clients through form submissions, calls, or bookings.
  • Website Traffic: Choose this objective to increase the number of potential clients visiting your website. This is useful for therapists who aim to enhance their online presence and provide detailed information about their services.
  • Awareness and Consideration: This is ideal for new practices or those looking to expand their visibility significantly. It helps in reaching a broad audience to establish your name as a trustworthy therapy provider.

Once you’ve selected an objective, choose a campaign type that best fits your needs. For most therapists, a ‘Search’ campaign (where ads appear in search results) is effective, as it targets users actively searching for therapy services.

What Are The Important Campaign Settings For Therapists?

To optimize your Google Ads campaign, consider these essential settings:

  • Keyword Match Types: Utilize different match types (broad, phrase, exact) to balance reach and relevance. Start with a mix and refine as you gather performance data.
  • Ad Extensions: Include additional information through extensions like sitelinks (links to specific pages on your site), callouts (additional descriptive text), and structured snippets (highlights of specific aspects of your service). These can increase your ad’s visibility and effectiveness.
  • Device Targeting: Consider your audience’s device usage habits. If your potential clients are likely to search for therapy services on mobile devices, ensure your ads and website are optimized for mobile.

How Do I Set Location And Ad Scheduling For Optimal Reach?

Location targeting and ad scheduling are important in reaching the right clients at the right time:

  • Location Targeting: Set your ads to specific geographic areas where your client base resides or where you can provide services, such as your city or surrounding areas. You might consider a broader geographic reach if you offer online therapy sessions.
  • Ad Scheduling: Align your ad schedule with the times when potential clients are most likely to search for your services. If unsure, you can start by running your ads at all times and then optimize based on the performance data showing when conversions are highest.

How To Select The Right Therapist Keywords

Selecting the right keywords is crucial for the success of any Google Ads campaign. For therapists, this means identifying terms that potential clients will likely use when searching for mental health services. This section guides you through choosing effective keywords and understanding match types to optimize your campaign’s performance.

What Should I Know About Keyword Match Types?

Google Ads offers three keyword match types that control how closely the keyword needs to match a person’s search query for your ad to be considered for display. These are:

  • Broad Match: This default setting uses any word within your keyword phrase in any order. It includes misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant variations. While a broad match reaches the widest audience, it may also attract irrelevant traffic, leading to higher costs and lower conversion rates.
  • Phrase Match: Phrase match offers a balance between reach and relevance. Your ad will show only when a user’s search includes the exact phrase or close variations of that phrase. This match type helps ensure that your ads appear for searches that are more specifically related to the therapy services you offer.
  • Exact Match: This match type allows your ad to show only when the search query exactly matches your keyword or very close variations with the same meaning. Exact match gives you the most control over who sees your ad but limits the reach.

Understanding these match types is very important as they significantly impact your campaign’s effectiveness and efficiency. Combining these can help you better target your desired audience while controlling costs.

How Do I Choose The Right Keywords For My Therapy Services?

Choosing the right keywords involves understanding your target audience and what specific services you offer. Here are steps to guide you in selecting effective keywords:

  • Brainstorming Session: List all relevant terms potential clients might use to find your services. Include different aspects of your practice such as types of therapies, problems addressed (like anxiety, depression), and therapy formats (e.g., individual, couples).
  • Use Keyword Tools: Utilize tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner, ahrefs, or SEMrush to find keywords related to your practice. These tools can also provide amazing insights into each keyword’s search volume and competition, helping you prioritize them based on potential effectiveness.
  • Consider Long-Tail Keywords: These are longer, more specific phrases that are less competitive and more likely to attract clients closer to a conversion. For instance, “cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety in Miami” could be a valuable long-tail keyword for a therapist specializing in this area.
  • Analyze Competitors: Look at the keywords your competitors are targeting. This can provide insights into what works in your market and help you identify gaps in your keyword strategy.
  • Continuous Optimization: Keywords should not be static. Regularly review the performance of your chosen keywords and adjust your strategy based on which terms bring in the most qualified traffic and lead to conversions.

How To Create An Effective Ad

Creating an ad for your Google Ads campaign involves combining compelling content with strategic use of ad assets. This section explains the components of a high-performing ad, discusses the role of ad assets, and outlines how to set a budget and review your campaign’s effectiveness.

What Are Ad Assets And How Can They Improve My Campaign?

Ad assets are headlines, descriptions, images, and extensions that make up your ad. Each asset plays a role in attracting and engaging clients. 

Here’s how they can improve your campaign:

  • Headlines: These are the first things a searcher will see, so make them attention-grabbing and relevant. Including keywords in your headlines can improve your ad’s relevance and click-through rate (CTR).
  • Descriptions: Use this space to provide more details about your therapy services, highlight unique selling points, and include a clear call-to-action (CTA). Descriptions should complement the headlines by providing additional reasons for a potential client to choose your service.
  • Images and Videos: For Display and Video ads, visual assets can significantly enhance engagement. High-quality, relevant images or videos can help potential clients understand your services better and form a positive first impression.
  • Extensions: Ad extensions expand your advertisement, making it more appealing and providing more value. Sitelink extensions, call extensions, and location extensions are particularly beneficial for therapists as they offer direct links to more information, a way to contact you immediately, or a map to your office.

These assets can increase your ad’s visibility, improve engagement, and increase conversion rates.

How Do I Set A Budget And Review My Campaign?

Setting a budget and regularly reviewing your campaign is necessary to control your advertising spending and maximize your return on investment. 

Here’s how to approach these tasks:

  • Setting a Budget: Start by determining the maximum amount you are willing to spend per month based on the expected Lifetime Value (LTV) of a client and your overall marketing budget. Use Google Ads to set daily spending limits to be sure you do not exceed this amount. Starting with a moderate budget and adjusting based on campaign performance is wise.
  • Reviewing Your Campaign: Regularly review your campaign’s performance using Google Ads reporting tools. Focus on metrics such as CTR, cost per click (CPC), conversion rate, and cost per acquisition (CPA). These metrics will help you understand what’s working and what’s not.
    • Optimization: Use the insights from your reviews to make informed adjustments. This could involve tweaking ad copies, adjusting bids, refining target audiences, or revising keyword strategies.
    • A/B Testing: Regularly test different versions of your ads to see which elements perform best. Change one variable at a time, such as the headline or the CTA, to accurately measure the impact of that change.

Effective budget management and continuous review keep your costs in check and drive incremental improvements in your campaign’s performance, making sure that your Google Ads efforts contribute positively to your therapy practice’s growth.

How To Manage Your Campaign

Managing your Google Ads campaign is very important for maximizing its impact and making sure of a healthy return on investment. This involves understanding the Google Ads dashboard, utilizing search terms reports, and incorporating negative keywords. Let’s explore each of these areas to optimize your campaign management.

How Can I Manage My Google Ads Dashboard?

The Google Ads dashboard is your central hub for monitoring and controlling your advertising campaigns. Here are key practices to manage it effectively:

  • Customize Your View: Change the dashboard to show the metrics that matter most to your therapy practice, such as clicks, impressions, click-through rate, and conversions. This customization helps you quickly access relevant data.
  • Set Up Alerts: Configure alerts for significant changes, such as spikes in cost per click or sudden drops in impressions. These alerts can help you respond swiftly to changes in campaign performance.
  • Use Built-in Tools: Leverage Google Ads’ tools like the Keyword Planner for researching keywords or the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool to see how your ads appear in real search queries without accruing additional impressions.
  • Schedule Regular Reviews: Make it a routine to review campaign metrics at a regular interval—daily, weekly, or monthly, depending on the size and scope of your campaigns. This consistent check-in helps you stay on top of performance trends and identify opportunities for optimization.

What Is A Search Terms Report, And How Do I Use It?

A Search Terms Report in Google Ads provides insights into what search queries triggered your ads. This report is amazing for understanding how relevant your keywords are to the actual searches being made by potential clients.

  • Identify Successful Queries: Look for search terms that are performing well, leading to clicks and conversions. These can offer opportunities to expand your keyword list.
  • Spot Irrelevant Queries: The report might also reveal queries that are not a good match for your services. Identifying these can help you add effective negative keywords.
  • Refine Match Types: Analyzing how different search terms perform can help you adjust your keyword match types to better target your desired audience.

Why And How Should I Use Negative Keywords?

Negative keywords prevent your ads from showing particular search terms that are not a good fit for your therapy practice. This targeting refinement is great for focusing your advertising spend on more qualified leads, improving your campaign’s efficiency.

  • Identify Irrelevant Terms: Use the Search Terms Report to find irrelevant terms that have triggered your ads. For example, if you specialize in adult therapy, you might want to add “children” or “pediatric” as negative keywords.
  • Set Levels of Negatives: You can apply negative keywords at the campaign or ad group level depending on how broad or specific the irrelevant queries are.
  • Continuous Update: Regularly updating your negative keywords list is essential as new irrelevant search terms can always emerge. Make this a part of your ongoing campaign management.

How To Optimize Your Campaign

Optimizing your Google Ads campaign constantly requires continuous monitoring and adjustments to be sure of peak performance. This involves setting clear conversion goals, tracking them effectively, and implementing best practices for ongoing improvement. 

Below, we detail these steps to help you refine and enhance your campaign’s effectiveness.

How Do I Set And Track Conversion Goals?

Setting and tracking conversion goals are important for measuring the success of your Google Ads campaign and making informed decisions. Here’s how to do it:

  • Define Conversion Actions: Decide what constitutes a conversion for your therapy practice. This could be booking a consultation, filling out a contact form, pressing a call now button, or signing up for a newsletter. Your goals should align with the overall objectives of your campaign.
  • Use Google Ads Conversion Tracking: Activate Google Ads conversion tracking by adding a code snippet to your website. This code tracks when a user completes a specific action (like submitting a contact form) after clicking on your ad. This data is important for understanding the effectiveness of your ads and keywords.
  • Set Up Google Analytics Goals: For a more comprehensive view, set up goals in Google Analytics to track user interactions on your site. This setup can provide deeper insights into user behavior beyond the initial ad click, such as how long they stay on your site or the number of pages they visit.
  • Review and Adjust: Review the data from these tracking tools regularly to see if your ads are meeting your defined conversion goals. Use this information to make informed adjustments, like reallocating the budget to higher-performing ads or refining your targeting options.

What Are The Best Practices For Tweaking And Improving My Campaign?

To continuously improve your Google Ads campaign, try these best practices:

  • Test Ad Variants: Create multiple versions of your ads with different headlines, descriptions, and calls to action. Use A/B testing to determine which variants perform the best and refine your ads based on data-driven insights.
  • Adjust Bidding Strategies: Evaluate your bidding strategy regularly. If your campaign goals are not being met, consider switching between automated and manual bidding to see which yields better results for your specific needs.
  • Optimize for Quality Score: Google’s Quality Score affects ad placement and click costs. Improve your Quality Score by increasing your ad relevance, landing page quality, and click-through rates. Regular updates and optimizations to your ads and web pages can lead to better performance and lower costs.
  • Explore Advanced Targeting Options: Refine your targeting by using demographic data, interests, and behaviors to reach specific segments of your target audience more effectively. Adjusting these parameters can help you better match your ads with the right users.
  • Use Seasonal Trends: If certain times of the year lead to increased demand for therapy services (such as during the holidays or after major events), adjust your campaigns to capitalize on these trends.

What Should I Do If I Don’t Have A Website For My Therapy Practice?

Not having a website does give you challenges in using Google Ads, as having a landing page is important for converting ad clicks into client engagements. 

Here are steps to address this issue:

  • Create a Landing Page: Services like Unbounce, Wix, or Squarespace allow you to create effective landing pages without needing a full website. These can serve the basic purpose of capturing leads from your ads.
  • Use Social Media Pages: If setting up a website immediately isn’t feasible, consider using your practice’s social media profiles as landing pages by linking them in your ads. This is not ideal but can be a temporary solution.
  • Develop a Simple Website: A basic, professional website can be developed quickly and cost-effectively. It should have important information about your services, contact details, and a strong call to action.
  • Google My Business: Setting up a Google My Business account can also provide a platform to gather reviews and provide basic information about your practice, such as your location and hours, which can be linked in your Google Ads. See our blog on how to rank higher on Google Business Profile As A therapist for more information.

Final Thoughts On Setting Up A Google Ads Campaign For Therapists

Setting up a Google Ads campaign as a therapist requires a nuanced approach that balances understanding technical aspects of ad management with a deep insight into the therapeutic needs and behaviors of potential clients. By following the structured guidance provided throughout this article, therapists can not only launch but also maintain and optimize a Google Ads campaign that is efficient, cost-effective, and most importantly, effective in reaching and helping more clients.

  • Planning: Begin by setting clear, measurable goals based on what you hope to achieve—be it increasing client bookings, promoting specific services, or raising awareness about your practice. Understanding these goals will help direct all other aspects of your campaign, from budget allocation to keyword selection.
  • Understanding Google Ads: Grasping the basics of Google Ads and PPC advertising is foundational. Familiarize yourself with different campaign types, ad assets, and the significance of keywords. This foundational knowledge ensures that your ad dollars are spent wisely, attracting clicks that convert to client engagements.
  • Keywords and Targeting: The selection of keywords and the setting of targeting parameters are pivotal. Choose keywords that potential clients are likely to use when seeking therapy services. Use geographic and demographic targeting to refine your audience, ensuring your ads are seen by those who are most likely to need your services.
  • Budgeting and Monitoring: Set a realistic budget based on the lifetime value of your clients and keep a close eye on your spending. Regular monitoring and adjustment of your budget and bids are crucial to avoid overspending and to refine strategies for better returns.
  • Website and Landing Pages: Ensure that your website or landing page is optimized to convert visitors into clients. It should load quickly, display well on mobile devices, and provide all the necessary information a potential client might seek. Strong calls to action and easy navigation are crucial.
  • Ongoing Optimization: A Google Ads campaign is not a set-it-and-forget-it tool. Continuous testing, analysis, and refinement of ads, keywords, and settings are necessary. Utilize the Search Terms Report and add negative keywords to exclude irrelevant traffic. Regularly updating ad copy and revising landing pages based on performance metrics will help maintain a fresh and engaging user experience.

Leverage Professional Help! If the process seems difficult or if you find that managing an effective campaign is beyond your current capability, consider hiring Mental Wellness Marketing. We offer Google Ads and PPC services to therapists who would rather spend their time doing what they do best: Helping clients.

Does Google Ads Work Effectively For Therapists?

Yes, Google Ads can be highly effective for therapists, as it allows them to target potential clients actively searching for mental health services. Properly managed campaigns can significantly increase visibility and attract more clients to a practice.

Is Investing In Google Ads Worth It For A Therapy Practice?

Investing in Google Ads is worth it for a therapy practice if managed well, as it can substantially increase client inquiries and appointments, provided the advertising spend is aligned with the practice’s budget and client acquisition costs.

Is Google Ads Free To Use?

Setting up a Google Ads account is free; however, using Google Ads is not free. Google Ads operates on a pay-per-click model, meaning you pay each time someone clicks on your ad. However, you can control your spending with flexible budget settings and only pay for actual results in terms of traffic.

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