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Accelerate Disease Education for your Brands

Revitalize Your Next Campaign with these Proven Paid Search and Social Tactics


Welcome to the first in our CPM series focusing on proven case studies in pharma and device marketing. Our goal is to share strategic media plans that resulted in exceptional metrics and happy clients, providing best practices along the way that you can apply to your own winning campaigns.

Content is King—and Context is Queen

Our client was a pharma company developing a portfolio of treatments for infectious disease. Patient education was a crucial component of conditioning the market, with the goal of building the implicit need for an otherwise unplanned health consultation between patient and HCP.

From the onset of strategic development, we worked in lock step with the brand team to ensure that the educational content was on message, health-literate, actionable, and ultimately drove to the point of care consult. Keeping your eyes on the prize is always vital.

Next step was the media mix. Starting with keywords indicative of each priority audience segment, we overlaid primary research and social listening insights and used the resulting message grid to identify hand-select ad placements on web pages most relevant to and frequented by the target audience. We then developed site-direct partnerships with trusted media vendors driving high performance and cost efficiencies.

Target the Right Patient in the Right Way                                                                                           

 The unique and highly specific mixture of patient-focused content and patient-embraced context will make or break your disease education campaign. But that’s only the beginning: Once ads are in-market, optimizing targeting is vital.

Targeting is based on identifying audiences based on select criteria. At its simplest, contextual targeting relies on engaging them where they go; behavioral target relies on engaging then based on who they are; and retargeting relies on where they’ve been.

So we tweaked our investment in each. All three drove superior click through rates (CTR)—but retargeting visitors to the unbranded site and the programmatic and display ads nearly tripled performance and lowered our costs per conversion (CPC) overall:

Case Study_Targeting Tactics

Engage the Right Message in the Right Channel at the Right Time                                               

We knew from the start that social channels were significant. Our preliminary research informed myriad decisions from peer-to-peer messaging down to targeting specific audience zip codes with the help of Facebook ads behavioral tools.

This provided a robust foundation and encouraged our measure-and-optimize strategic approach on a micro-level once we were in-market. A detailed analysis revealed that social content was primarily viewed on mobile devices, and in the evenings.

Case Study_Social OptimizationsArmed with these insights, we could immediately reallocate the budget to mobile-first placements and update the times ads were served. Prior to campaign launch, our research revealed that immersive content in the form of exclusive VR360 video would deeply resonate with our audience. This proved true, but the angel was in the details.

Post-launch, video composed 80% of top performing ads when measured by engagement and cost-per-view of $.02. These tremendous cost savings coupled with insights enabled us to create a rich database of highly effective new video content.

Results Talk and False Promises Walk

Based on our clients’ goals, extensive research into their audience’s demographics, media habits, beliefs and health goals, we optimized the media mix into a precisely effective plan across search, display, paid social, and video.

The chart below features results of the campaign’s final three weeks. Thanks to smart strategy and relentless measurement and optimization, we maximized click-throughs and minimized costs to boost the overall ROI of the entire effort:

Our team enacted numerous other optimizations which contributed to the success of this campaign, but the above implementations drove the greatest results. Stay tuned for more CPM case studies—and email me at with your questions and special requests!

If you’re looking to improve the performance of a current or future campaign, be sure to check out our other POVs – using paid search as a brand messaging lab, getting started with programmatic advertising, and why pharma marketers should embrace Facebook ads

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