Remarketing is a powerful tool for advertisers. It allows you to follow prospects and customers where they go on the internet, serving them ads as a reminder of your brand, to visit your website, complete a purchase or buy again. Remarketing is effective because it offers a 2nd, 3rd, etc. touchpoint to your website visitors who didn’t convert on their 1st visit.

However, the biggest challenge that healthcare advertisers are now facing is remarketing restrictions that have been recently rolled out across the two largest advertising networks – Google Ads and Facebook Ads.

Google Ads

Following updated HIPAA rules and regulations, Google changed its policies about personalised and healthcare advertising in February 2022. This change means that Google will not allow healthcare marketers to use remarketing tactics for their business. Google Ads has not specifically banned the use of remarketing, but the restrictions in place demonstrate that they have effectively ruled out the ability to use it.

This is clear in communication that we have received at Splice, alongside more frequent disapprovals and restrictions to search ads. If health conditions are mentioned on a target website, Google Ad accounts associated with them are unable to use remarketing. 

What happens if you try to use Google Ads remarketing for healthcare? 

If you still try to use Google Ads remarketing for a healthcare business, there is a chance that audience lists will be disabled, but there is also a more concerning chance that your account would be suspended permanently due to violating Google Ads policies. 

Google Ads Personalised Advertising Policy:

Google Ads Healthcare and Medicines Policy: 

NOTE: Google considers COVID-19 to be a sensitive event, and any ads mentioning covid will be restricted: 

Google Ads Alternatives to Remarketing

At Splice we are all about adaptation and innovation. We have been exploring alternatives to remarketing to achieve clear success despite this change. Here are some of the tactics we are implementing across our healthcare client accounts given these recent updates.

Call & Leads Form Extensions 

A call extension enables you obtain and track conversions by placing the phone number of your business directly into your Google Ads – this allows prospective customers to simply click on the ad in order to call you. This should increase click through rates while also boosting customer engagement. 

A lead form extension is similar, except it places a form into your ad, allowing people to fill it out within the ad itself. This is convenient for lead generation and is particularly useful for clients who use contact or self-referral forms on their website. For those clients, we would highly recommend a trial lead form extension ads.

Call-Only Campaigns 

A call-only ad campaign replaces the hyperlinked URL with a phone number to click on and call your business directly. There is no need to stress about missing calls as you can choose when to show these ads and make sure that they are only run when you have the ability to pick up the phone and wow potential leads.

We would suggest utilising call-only ads in two situations:

  • Main search campaigns demonstrating poor performance for conversions
  • You are aiming to generate calls for your business during certain times

Performance Max Campaigns

A performance max ad is a goal-based campaign. It is heavily automated and works to target customers who are most likely to convert across multiple channels, including YouTube, Maps and Gmail. It will use information such as your conversion goals, then use Google’s technology to automate bidding, audiences, attribution and more – set and forget.

Dynamic Remarketing Ads – More for General Physio, Wellness, Massage (where a specific health condition is not mentioned on the website or ads)

Dynamic ads include video, image or text that is customised to your website visitors. You can show them personalised content based on what they have interacted with on your website. 

For example, let’s say you run a physio clinic. A prospect visited a page specific for Sports Physio. You then can create a dynamic ad that features that service and shows it to your page’s visitors.

However, there’s still potential that the ads would not be approved. You would need to be very determined to use this style of advertising and they would need to be super-generic, ensuring wording and exclusion of any personal conditions are compliant. 

It is not going to work for practices that target specific conditions like breast cancer surgery, mental health, disability services, disease or specific health condition treatments, pharmaceuticals or medical equipment. They could work for more generic healthcare categories like physio, chiro, health clubs, fitness, massage, generic dental health.

YouTube Remarketing Ads – More for General Physio, Wellness, Massage (where a specific health condition is not mentioned on the website or ads)

We know that video is a powerful marketing tool. Video ads can be served for remarketing, however restrictions apply as they do for Display ads. They are better suited to general health businesses rather than specialists in specific medical conditions. 

Facebook Ads

Facebook is also heavily regulated, presenting a challenge for healthcare advertisers just as Google does. 

Facebook utilises cookies to determine “Custom Audiences”. There is also an option to target customers based on information such as their emails. It’s essential to note that these violate HIPPA regulations as you can’t target patients you already have for further use of your services. This includes marketing on your own page, as most of your followers will be patients.

On Facebook, advertisers are unable to post ads that mention any health conditions.

However, you may target audiences based on attributes, to make sure you’re reaching the right people. You can use general factors such as location, age or interests to market your services, because this kind of marketing doesn’t particularly target your own existing base of patients. This way it is HIPPA compliant while still effective.

For example you cannot say things such as: “Come check out this new treatment for Diabetes!” or “Do you have Type 2 Diabetes?” or “Are you tired of taking insulin?” 

To avoid suspension of your advertising account on Facebook, avoid using pronouns – and phrase your questions generically, such as “Want to learn more about Diabetes?”.

It’s also worth paying attention to other potentially controversial topics that Facebook may not approve of. For example “COVID: and “pandemic” seem to come under Facebook’s Controversial Content Policy: Ads containing these words are not likely to be shown.

The most significant challenge with Facebook is that you never know where you stand or when you’re going to get disabled. So, at Splice, we like to play it safe. Instead of using “Retargeting” on Facebook, it’s normally best to use “Targeting” for healthcare on Facebook. 

Here are some useful policies to refer to when marketing on Facebook:

Facebook Personal Attributes Policy: 

Facebook Unsafe Substances Policy: 

Facebook Personal Health Policy: 

Facebook Ads Alternatives to Remarketing

Facebook Lead Generation Campaigns

Lead ads allow customers to fill out forms while staying on Facebook and Instagram, increasing successful conversion rates because customers don’t have to leave the app they’re currently using. It’s a good way to build up databases of information such as emails which can be used for future EDM campaigns. You could exchange their information for a benefit such as a discount or an ebook.


The AdRoll platform provides a range of services that are intuitive and uncomplicated. It is very popular in the US and is growing in the Australian market. It has clear policies regarding what you can advertise as a healthcare marketer. Their policies are strict, and remarketing on AdRoll has similar restrictions to Google Ads and Facebook. 

It is not suitable to market for personal health conditions, pharma, marijuana products, surgery, or disease/condition specialists.

Feedback from clients has been mixed, and its suitability should be assessed on an individual basis.

AdRoll Sensitive Interest Policy: 

AdRoll Healthcare & Medical Content Policy: 

AdRoll Illegal Products and Services: 


Need Support

With all these updates, do you need the extra support with your pay per click advertising on Google or Facebook?

When you hire Splice Marketing, you’re hiring a team of healthcare marketing experts who are up-to-date with what is happening in the industry, know how to keep your advertising compliant and are agile enough to pivot quickly when things change.

To arrange a free 30-minute consultation and a digital diagnosis of your current online presence, click here