Digital Advertising for Clinical Trial Patient Recruitment, Part 3

Henning Semat, Head of Online Marketing

Digital Media Buying

After you have invested in the research and listening described in our last post, the insights gained from monitoring those conversations will inform your media and social channel selections. Any online media source or social media platform that health consumers visit, and not just to seek health information can serve as a potential placement for a clinical trial recruitment banner advertisement.

Common media buying platforms for global clinical trials include Google (Adwords, GDN/Doubleclick), Bing Ads, Yahoo, AOL Advertising and Facebook ads. The act of digital media buying can seem intimidating, considering the proliferation of terms such as “programmatic buying,” and “retargeting,” or “CPC.”

Pay-per-click advertising is an option for target keywords when a short-term campaign eliminates the possibility of organic search ranking. Use of a longtail term to include “clinical trials” or “clinical studies” or even “clinical trials near me” is important to distinguish between patients seeking new treatments and those who are actively seeking nearby clinical trials.

Display Networks let you target using demographic attributes from the persona you created, such as age, gender, location and contextual information (topics and interests) to inform your media selection and targeted outreach placements. This is a very common and effective form of clinical trial advertising.

Programmatic buying is an efficient way to manage a recruitment campaign, as it can be applied across platforms or within a single channel. For example, Google Search and Display is an effective tool for clinical trial recruitment across many geographical regions. Programmatic buying automates your bidding and placement process based on the budget, audience or behavioral data (and other) criteria you set upfront. Campaign settings are automatically adjusted based on the best performance.

Remarketing/retargeting is the practice of tracking the people who visit your site, but do not complete the call to action. During later browsing sessions, your ad appears on other sites they visit. The frequency of impressions improves recall, and increases the chances of your audience taking action, or digital conversion. When used judiciously, avoiding excessive repetition of impressions, retargeting is a highly effective “reminder” tool to promote conversion.

As with so many things, we recommend starting small and scaling from there.

Additional resources:
Pay-per-click and Display:
Programmatic buying