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900,000 People Googled ‘Heroin’ Last Year

If you ever want to know about the virality of a particular substance, look no further than Google. The famed search engine offers some interesting analytics when it comes to topics investigated within their network. And one term, in particular, led to a flurry of queries over the past year. Namely, heroin.

According to stats released on the One Zero website, more than 900,000 people Googled the term “heroin” in 2019. Of course, the context varied greatly within that group. But for the majority, it came down to three specific categories: those looking to try heroin, those looking to buy heroin and those looking to quit heroin.

Interestingly, the One Zero article was written from an advertiser’s point of view. Author Patrick Berlinquette described how a simple SEO keyword search led him to this revelation.

Berlinquette happens to advertise on behalf of a recovery facility. His goal is to reach the people typing in those search queries and serve them direct links to treatment centers.

“Every year, approximately 900,000 Americans tell Google they want to use, try, buy, or quit heroin,” Berlinquette wrote in his article. “I know this because I serve ads on Google to them. I buy keywords I imagine they might type into the search box. When my keywords match with their searches, my a shows up as their first result on Google. When they click the ad, their ad click data — which includes the exact words they type into Google — passes into my system.”

He then went on to share the actual terms most of these people type in to their Google bars.

As mentioned in the article, these terminologies are quite telling. You see people using Google as a way to score when they arrive in a new city (a la Las Vegas). There are also inquiries into how to smoke heroin and how to manage particular highs.

In our opinion, Google ads to recovery resources is critical when someone types in this kind of message. Whether or not they choose to get help during that exact moment, just getting it in front of them (and perhaps into their subconscious) can be quite valuable.

Berlinquette has even taken it one step further, tailoring ads to the type of searches people conduct. Those looking to hook up drugs may react best to a scare tactic type of ad, while those in the midst of difficult highs would respond better to something more sympathetic.

If you ask us, this represents the future of recovery targeting. One major way to win this battle is to reach people at the right time and in the right place.