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Effective Pharma Search Marketing in a Mobile World

Boost performance by addressing unique mobile and desktop audience behaviors


Mobile health searches now outnumber desktop queries by over 2:1, necessitating a wakeup call for pharma marketers. Smartphone and tablet users search with a purpose and are even more likely to click through from an ad. But unlike desktop users, smartphone users are less likely to engage with a site after clicking, requiring a different approach to conversion behavior.

The value of a click on a smartphone may outweigh the value of a click from any other device if the experience is tailored thoughtfully. Optimize the search and landing page experience across all devices and look to digital analytics to fine tune mobile ad copy and content.

Here’s how to use analytics by device type to more effectively tailor the pre- and post-click experience to the intent of the search:

Search Marketing for Pharma Marketers

According to Hitwise, 68% of all health searches come from a mobile device – and smartphones will doubtless continue to show strong growth in query volume. Importantly, mobile search ads also garner significantly better click-through rates than desktops, with tablet users engaging at a deeper level and converting at higher rates than smartphone users. Post-click, however, both smartphones and tablets still trail desktop in terms of site engagement.

Diving deeper into the post-click analytics, we can observe what happens between the click and conversion via on-site metric such as page views per visit.

Average pages per visit for patient and hcp audiences

Here, smartphones show poor performance relative to desktops. Smartphone users are less likely to stay on the site, moving faster and bouncing more often than desktop users who are more willing to engage with and seek out interesting content on a larger format device.

Looking deeper at searches and user sessions by device type reveals that traditional KPIs don’t translate for the mobile experience.  Both smartphones and tablets need a separate, unique set of KPIs.

What makes mobile device KPIs unique?

Mobile metrics should be tailored to its unique experience and environment. Conversion callouts for mobile devices (particularly for smartphones) should pop visually and be simple enough to make decisions quickly without having to navigate extensively.

Mobile KPIs for Healthcare and Pharma should answer questions like…

  • What does condition X looks like? (image, video, symptoms)
  • What is the dosage recommendation? (typical HCP search)
  • What is wrong with me? (symptoms, side effects)
  • Can I take drug X with Y? (drug interactions, side effects)
  • Where is the closest medical center? (searching for provider location)
  • When does the doctor’s office open today? (searching for a local practice)

Offer the right digital content for your mobile site visitors. For example, if they are looking for dosing information, make it easy to find.  Make driving directions simple and accessible. Factor in the inability or inconvenience of printing patient symptom tracker results in a PDF on a mobile device. Take the time to make the mobile user experience as positive and easy as possible, and your brand will reap the rewards.

Wanting more digital pharma insight? Access my whitepaper for examples of current best practices, case studies and anecdotes illustrating real-world applications of all 8 principals for digital pharma marketing success.

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