SEM’s cool cousin offers exceptional PPC opportunities
Paid search has long earned its place as a priority channel in most pharma media plans. Not only does it capture an audience actively looking for information or services, but it’s also highly cost effective as you pay only for exposures that spark engagement. The benefits of PPC advertising are now available across many channels and platforms, offering pharma marketers more opportunity to effectively scale, but few offer more impact than our beloved social mammoth— Facebook.
With an unprecedented world of insights, demographics and reach, targeting patients and caregivers through Facebook ads only makes sense. Facebook is an ideal supplement to SEM ads as you can influence a highly targeted audience even when it’s not actively looking for your information. Even the most niche of groups can be reached using the platform’s 10,000 data points for ad targeting – the first core benefit of our focus.
Facebook targeting is based on four categories (location, demographics, interests and behaviors) which lend themselves to highly specialized targeting. For instance, you might introduce a new disease education website about juvenile arthritis to stay at home moms of young children living in the U.S. active in support groups. If you have a database of caregivers who have opted in to receive information, Facebook’s advance targeting tools allow you to remarket to them as well as those who’ve already visited your disease awareness website. You can also target people who are similar to your current enrollees using Lookalike Audiences. After selecting your criteria, Facebook estimates the reach of your ad based on your budget.
A variety of visual formats further elevates Facebook from traditional SEM. Unlike SEM’s text-based ads, Facebook offers multiple media formats, such as carousel images and video, to support richer messaging and drive deeper engagement. For pharma scenarios, Facebook’s cost per click is also generally lower than that of SEM, making it a strong contender for media investment. Both offer retargeting and we recommend it as a PPC tactic where it aligns with medical and regulatory guidelines.
Beyond the network’s capabilities, remember that your prospective patients spend time on Facebook every day – 40 minutes, to be exact, if they resemble the average American. Platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter also provide PPC ad opportunities and may be worth a test based on your campaign goals and audience makeup. But if you’re new to the game, start with Facebook. Build a foundation in your social community with an unbranded campaign and slowly build to branded visibility (keeping MLR and guidelines and industry best practices top of mind). Facebook ads cater to a range of marketing goals and needs, so no matter where you begin, your campaign can grow and evolve.
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Facebook carousel ad courtesy of Canva