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Lost in Pharma Marketing Translation: How Audiences Really Speak

Paid search insights benefit all pharma marketing efforts

Most pharma marketers already have audience research that they don’t even know exists. They are paying for SEM campaigns that deliver value in the form of website traffic and engagement, but these campaigns also provide a wealth of insights at no additional charge. Search query data gives us audience insight that can be leveraged in many other facets of pharma marketing.

Your Audience’s Exact Words, Straight from Their Fingertips

Do prescribing physicians speak about a condition as “recurrent,” “residual,” “frequent,” or “chronic?” The term used within the halls of your company might not be the one used in exam rooms.

We can listen to doctors as they ask Google questions they don’t have time to look-up elsewhere. We can also listen to patients as they ask Google questions they are too embarrassed to ask their doctors. Seeing exactly what they ask and the language they use when asking can make all the difference in understanding your audience.

The Search Terms Report (which a lot of SEM vets still call the “Search Query Report”) presents all the queries that have resulted in paid clicks in their entirety.

Ads are triggered by keywords, but the actual queries that matched those keywords are often different. Let’s say one of our keywords is simply [condition]. A user can trigger an ad by searching for “[condition].” They could also trigger one by searching for “recurrent [condition]” – their decision to include the term “recurrent” didn’t stop our ad from showing on the plain keyword “[condition].” Browsing the Search Terms Report tells us the exact terms users have searched for because it presents the entire query.

We may find that “recurrent [condition]” appears in the Search Terms Report five times more often than “chronic [condition],” as they were both triggered by the simple keyword [condition] (even if neither variation was one of our approved keywords). If we learned that “recurrent [condition]” is the preferred term out in the wild, then an extremely valuable audience insight has just been revealed to us. We hear their lingo.

With that knowledge, we can speak to our audience with the same language they are already using. If they prefer to say “recurrent” instead of “chronic,” then we can engage them on their own terms and connect in a way that’s impossible when a translator is needed. Imagine how this could benefit future ad creative and content creation.

This is one simple example for illustration. Browsing a Search Terms Report will affirm that people type the darndest things into search engines. Tapping into this data can yield the darndest audience insights – that can be had in no other way, and at no cost beyond the money already spent on SEM.

A great question that astute pharma marketers can ask their agency partners is: “What does the Search Terms Report say about our audience?” The answer just may be one of the best free tips you’ve ever heard.

Search Terms Reports can be found in the reporting sections of each engine’s user interface:

Google AdWords

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Bing Ads

Bing Ads

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