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How to Reach and Engage Niche Audiences – Part 2

As we saw in Part 1, pharma marketers need to reach and engage increasingly hard-to-find audiences. Google Ads is an incredibly powerful tool to target them based on their own behaviors and user habits.

While search remains the mainstay for healthcare marketers, social media has evolved into a transformative channel in its own right. In this second part we take a look at Facebook Ad Manager to get our messaging to where millions already go.

Part 2: Activate Unique Patient Groups with Facebook Ads Manager

I often find that other industries, especially B2C, are a few steps ahead of pharma when it comes to social advertising. Yet when partnering with a media team proven capable at compliance and fair-balance, adding social media to your media plan can prove both safe and effective, particularly when it comes to Facebook.

Much like Google Ads, Facebook Ads Manager offers sophisticated options to engage unique audiences across Facebook, Instagram and the Facebook Audience Network (FAN) that are too good to pass by. The variety of targeting options and overall platform intelligence ensure even the most niche patient segments can be effectively reached.

In this post, we’ll review Ads Manager’s three core targeting options and how they can be precisely applied to reach your audience.

Ads Manager targeting options boil down to three dynamic selections:

  1. Core audience:
    Reach individuals based on their location(s), behaviors, demographics, and interests
  2. Lookalike audience:
    Reach new individuals who meet criteria highly-similar to those most engaged with your ads
  3. Custom audience:
    Reach and reengage your existing audience (website visitors, email subscribers, and/or those engaging with your social channels)

If your site or campaign is relatively new, Core Audiences are an ideal starting place. This is where to input known demographic data and other relevant behaviors and interests. For instance, if wanting to spread awareness about a promising new clinical trial for breast cancer patients, you could test serving ads to those meeting the below criteria:

Women, ages 55 – 65+ living in the United States, who are interested in Clinical Trials, Health& Wellness, Breast Cancer Awareness, ClinicalTrials.gov and Breast Cancer Action or Breast Cancer Care

Ads Manager, in turn, updates your audience size based on the criteria and shares estimated daily results based on your ad objective and targeting criteria. Using the “Exclude People” or “Narrow Further” options further refines criteria. In general, aim for the sweet spot between specific and broad for optimal results.

With a Facebook Pixel embedded on your site prior to launch, engagement will becaptured in your ad account and it is this data which allows you to create Lookalike and Custom Audiences. Create these audiences in the Assets Library of your ad account and, prior to investing spend in a particular Lookalike or Custom Audience, you can track how certain audiences are growing under Audiences in the Asset Library:

The above list are actual audiences created by our Social Media Manager at the onset of a campaign. Creating such groups in advance allows us to track size and whether these audiences are ready to use. Custom and Lookalike Audiences can also be created via social activity, like those who’ve engaged with your Facebook Page or Instagram, or from a list of email subscribers.

With all three key audiences in place, guesswork is removed as you see exactly how groups are engaging in your content, which are taking the desired action, and how to best facilitate action in the other groups. While we relentlessly optimize all content, ad objectives and ad delivery, optimizing audiences is foundational to success and will enhance all other campaign tweaks.

Thanks to digital tools such as Google Ads and Facebook Ad Manager, pharma marketers and their expert media partners have unprecedented visibility and power into increasingly nuanced target segments. Is your partner experienced? Most importantly, do they know the FDA and OPDP guidance necessary to ensure regulatory compliance for pharma brands—especially orphan and black box drugs?

Is your media team social-savvy? At CPM, we specialize in social advertising catered to pharma. Have a question or idea to bounce off us? Reach us here.

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