Five Myths About Mobile Advertising To Doctors

When the iPad Mini came out in November, some of its first praises were sung by medical professionals, who noted that it fits perfectly inside their 8.5” x 7.5” lab coats, making it an ideal mobile device to tote between exam rooms and on hospital rounds.

While the official adoption rate of the iPad Mini among doctors has not been calculated yet, nearly two-thirds of healthcare professionals are now using the traditional iPad, and more than 80% of them own smartphones. There’s no doubt that today’s modern doctor is the king of the mobile device, and that they use them daily in their practice: conducting research, diagnosing patients, billing, etc.

Yet few opportunities exist in mobile for pharmaceutical marketers. There are plenty of HCP vertical advertising networks, but most are still focused on desktop, with the claim that the same reach and scale are impossible to achieve on mobile. It's simply not true.



That's just one myth about mobile advertising that is circulating among pharma marketers. Here are five others, debunked.

1. The screen is so small -- there’s not enough space to fit the necessary legal text.  

Yes, the screen is smaller than what you’re used to on television or in print. But when compared to desktop, mobile actually has comparable ad units. True, a 320x50 ad unit is smaller, but many pharma clients use that banner as an unbranded banner to launch a full-page 320x416 ad unit that provides plenty of space to meet FDA guidelines. In fact, the mobile 320x416 is larger than the desktop 300x250.

2. Doctors won't click on mobile banners.

Not true. In fact, click-through rates in mobile are often significantly higher than those online -- we've seen click-through rates (CTR) up to 5 times higher on mobile than online. It's due in part to engaging rich media units, but the big difference comes from better targeting. Pharma ads on content that directly faces medical professionals, as they are doing their job, are highly effective.

3. We need a mobile site before we start doing mobile campaigns.

This is one of the biggest (and most dangerous) myths. Many pharma marketers are steering clear of mobile because they are waiting for the development of their mobile-optimized site, with the attitude of “don’t drive traffic to something that’s not ready.” But you don’t need a mobile site. You don’t even need a mobile landing page. With self-contained (tap-to-expand) ad units, you can include all of the information and calls to action that you would normally have on a mobile landing page, such as download report, click to call, or email for samples.

4. We won't be able to target and achieve scale at the same time.

Ah, the classic excuse. You need to hone in on a particular segment -- rheumatologists, for instance -- and you know there are only the equivalent of a “handful” of that specialist in the U.S. (In this case, 4,900 of them.) But even using just mobile, you can still reach 57% of that group. With mobile-only networks that specialize in aggregating all of the best content that specialists consume, you can still achieve enough reach for a high-impact campaign.

5. I don't have the budget -- or time -- to create mobile banners for app AND mobile Web.

Most banners, especially those built using HTML5, can run on both mobile Web and apps. This is important to know, because a mix of mobile Web and apps allows for the best of both worlds when reaching physicians.

Mobile apps, for instance, often don't have the volume: 20% of brand apps reach 1000 downloads, and just 1% reach 1 million downloads. Mobile Web sites, on the other hand, are deeply trusted by the medical community. When working with your creative agency, be sure to let them know that you need banners that run on both mobile Web and in-app. If they can't provide that for you, you may need to look for another resource.


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