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Fish where the fishes are

The latest research from the National Medical Readership Survey (NMRS) shows us that only 15% of GPs find pharmaceutical company websites useful.

However, when asked about journal websites and other medical sites or resources this increases to 74% and 69% respectively. Unsurprisingly the trend is the same for secondary care doctors. 

With click-through rates notoriously low from banner advertising, how can pharmaceutical companies get doctors to engage with their content online?

At Health Media we believe the answer lies in native advertising. We define native advertising as 'a form of paid-for media where the ad experience of the end user is similar to the usual editorial function and format of the environment in which it is placed'. In essence it is the online equivalent of an advertorial. 

Formats for native advertising include promoted videos, images, articles, commentary, and other media. Consumer examples of the technique include search advertising (the ads you see when you search in Google which mirror the usual search experience), Twitter with promoted tweets, trends and people, and Facebook's promoted stories.

But how can pharma take advantage of native techniques when targeting healthcare professionals? The truth is that most healthcare publishers have been offering this for a while. 

The pharmaceutical industry’s preferred online route is to build potentially costly destination websites with the aim that HCPs will visit in vast numbers. With the use of these traditional ‘build and drive’ online marketing techniques, it seems the HCP numbers are far from vast. The truth is that 40% of websites on the internet have no traffic. And whilst building a website is the relatively easy part, creating an audience and driving engagement with content is difficult, resource-heavy, and expensive. Understandably this has left the pharma industry disillusioned and sceptical about the benefits of build and drive techniques. 

The good news is that pharmaceutical companies are awash with great content. Often being used through other channels (e.g. face-to-face sales and meetings), and all of which can be repurposed for use within the online environment. A big opportunity exists to take this content and extend its reach by placing it within trusted healthcare environments.

Some great examples of healthcare environment native advertising include:


Why wouldn’t you want to align your product or company with a credible and trusted brand like the BMJ. The BMJ now allows content to be hosted within and targeted promotion across the site to drive content engagement with audiences. Assets such as video and PDF downloads can all be incorporated. If you have developed a website with some great online assets and are struggling for traffic, why not replicate parts of the site within to extend their reach. 

ClinAlert & ClinTalk from M3 (

These products are specifically designed to disseminate approved text (ClinAlert) and video (ClinTalk) to your target audience, in a style and format familiar to and well received by the members of ClinAlert can be particular effective for updating doctors around things such as new licences, price changes and top-line trial results. ClinTalk is also particularly good for utilising those KOL videos from congress that you need to extend the life of.

The great thing about these approaches to content deployment is that both of these publishers have such faith in their audiences that they will guarantee certain KPIs – such as number of unique visitors or page views – so you can understand exactly what you’re paying for in advance, and even compare cost-effectiveness to other channels, in terms of the cost-per-contact.

We know how much hard work and investment goes into generating these assets and we can make sure that they have the maximum reach that they deserve. 

If you would like to make your existing assets work harder and are interested in discussing a content mapping exercise, then please get in touch.

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