by Brad Witbeck April 10, 2017

How to Use Facebook Ads to Grow Your Addiction Recovery Center

If you’re running an addiction recovery center, one of your biggest challenges is getting new patients in the door. Your center saves lives, but if people haven’t heard about you or what you do, they won’t know where to go for help.

Unfortunately, an addiction recovery center is a business, so you have to be smart about how you get the word out. Conventional channels like the yellow pages, radio, tv, or billboards will get a message out to everyone. But not everybody is in need of addiction recovery, so a lot of money gets wasted on people who aren’t really interested in what you have to offer.

On the other hand, paid search will make it so people who are seeking out your services online can find you, but many of your potential clients don’t realize that they need your help, so they probably aren’t googling “addiction recovery center near me”.

This is where Facebook Ads comes into play.

Facebook Ads strike a middle ground between paid search and conventional advertising. They let you target people who might not be actively seeking your service, but may still need it, while targeting specifically the type of people who will most be in need of your services.

Everyone is on Facebook

Chances are, your future patients are on Facebook right now. Facebook reported in December 2016 that they had 1.86 billion monthly users. Of that mass of users, 1.23 billion of log onto Facebook daily.

To put that into perspective, the internet is used by 87% of Americans. Here’s what their demographics look like on Facebook:

  • 82% of adults ages 18-29
  • 79% of adults ages 30-49
  • 64% of adults ages 50-64
  • 48% of adults age 65+

Do your potential clients fit into one of these groups?

I bet they do.

Generally, in the marketing world, when you can advertise where tons of potential clients will be found every single day, and even spend an average of 50 minutes a day there, we call that a golden opportunity.

What’s more, unlike billboards or television, Facebook Ads gives you the ability to specifically, affordably target the people who truly need your help (and their loved ones), allowing you to get the word out about your center in the most effective way possible.

Targeting Your Potential Clients

Can you imagine being able to put a billboard in front of only the people who are likely to be interested in addiction recovery?

If you set your Facebook Ad campaigns up right, that’s basically what you’ll be doing. Here’s how:

1.  Targeting Specific Audiences

The most basic targeting option on Facebook is audience targeting. Audience targeting uses Facebook’s internal data to assign users into categories that advertisers can then target.

Facebook’s algorithms do a pretty good job of putting together basic audiences for you, so you can use Facebook audiences to get fairly good results.

Here are some of the targeting options you have available:

Location Targeting

If you have an addiction recovery program that meets locally, you might be able to make really good use of this option. This lets you target whatever level of location targeting works for you, like city, state, zip code, country, etc. so that you can target anyone within a radius that works for you.

Age & Gender

If you find certain ages or genders are more relevant to your type of addiction recovery program, then you can adjust this setting to ensure you’re only showing ads to those relevant demographics.

More Demographics

There’s also a “More Demographics” section that lets you target people based on their demographic data they provide. You can use this to find people within certain income brackets and even changes in relationship status.


These “interests” are determined based on what people have liked on their Facebook profile. This could vary in usefulness depending on how alike people are that you’re searching for, and on what they are willing to like on Facebook.


The last segment is behaviors, like purchasing behavior, job role or other sorts of actions users take while they’re on Facebook.

You’ve probably already got an idea of which of these will work for you. Some of these will be more relevant to your particular program than others. And don’t worry if you’re feeling like you might not have enough options yet, because there are more!

2. Use Retargeting to Build Your Audience

Another great way to get your Facebook audiences build out is through use of retargeting. This works about like any other kind of retargeting, but with one perk that makes it markedly better: you can use the specifications of people you’re retargeting to through lookalike audiences.

3. Building Lookalike Audiences

Facebook builds lookalike audiences either from the retargeting you’ve done, audiences that are working well, or even lists of emails.

If you’ve got a good sized email list, Facebook can take that list and find the profiles associated with the emails on that list. You can make these into custom audiences you can start targeting.

This means that if you got people filling out forms on your website, but not responding to email outreach, you can still reach them. You can show up on Facebook for them when you’re using this feature.

But that’s not all it can do.

There’s another feature called “lookalike audeinces” that Facebook uses to find other users that are similar to your email list. You can use it to make another audience to market to, built out of people who are like the people who have given you their email addresses.

This is a surprisingly effective algorithm, which basically lets you market to hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people who have a ton of similarities with people who are already interested in what you do.

Additionally, you can add retargeting to your lookalike audiences and get even more focused in marketing to people who are more likely to respond to your ads.

Here at Disruptive, our experiences with lookalike audiences have been phenomenal. They’ve given great results to our clients, and us. From what we’ve experienced, this is one of the most effective ways to target ads on Facebook.

Where You Should Send Your Clicks

Once you’ve got good ads, people will be clicking through your Facebook Ads, but you don’t just want to be sending them to your homepage. You want your ads to be specific, and you’ll want to send people through to a landing page specific to that ad.

You might have a great homepage, but homepages tend to have a lot of needs, making it difficult (if not impossible) to make a homepage that also functions as a high converting page that matches the messaging of all of your ads.

Rather than using your homepage to attempt to do this, try making different landing pages for each ad campaign. This will increase the effectiveness of your ads, helping you really get the most out of your clicks on Facebook.

When you’re making your landing pages, consider what you know from your Facebook Audiences. If your primary demographic is in their middle ages, maybe don’t use pictures of 60+ year old women. Use pictures of people who fit your demographics you’re aiming at.

Really, this is a best practice that makes or breaks your Facebook ads. If you’re not willing to make the specific landing pages for your ads, then Facebook Ads might not be worth it for you. You’ll get traffic, but sending all of your good traffic to pages with low conversion potential will ultimately just waste money.


So, should you invest in Facebook Ads? To be honest, that’s going to depend on your program and what will work for the addicts you’re trying to help. At this point, you should hopefully have a good feel for the options, strengths, and limitations of Facebook Ads.

If you were reading through, getting excited and thinking this seems right for you, you should give it a shot. If you were thinking instead that this seemed really useless, this might not be your best option right now.

In our experience here at Disruptive, we’ve seen Facebook Ads work quite well for addiction recovery centers, so if you’re curious to see what Facebook Ads can do for you, let us know here or in the comments. We’d love to help!

  • PPC

  • Social Media

Brad Witbeck

Brad Witbeck

When he's not heading up Disruptive's Video Advertising efforts, you can usually find Brad on a video shoot somewhere, writing a new comedy routine, or studying more acting and writing techniques with his drop-dead gorgeous wife.

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