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KEY TAKEAWAY: Biopharma DTC marketers should be using digital analytics to identify insights and optimize their marketing, but lack of staff and understanding is leading to wasted opportunities.

Digital marketing analytics have come a long way over the last couple of years, but with pharma companies cutting staff, it’s hard to find organizations that have knowledgeable people who can turn analytics into a story by identifying opportunities. As a consultant, I have seen this time and time again and it shows no signs of getting any better. Even simple analytics, like bounce rate and cost per action of search term are not being done because senior people don’t know what to ask for.

Here is an example of some work that I recently did for a company that markets MS drugs. The top path through the product site was the home page for safety information and the analytics indicated that only a small portion of visitors were going deeper into the site. Click stream analysis indicated that people were going to competitors’ sites and to general health sites along with MS social media sites. More importantly, there were pages that, although they had great information, were not being used by visitors. Clearly visitors were interested in the product side effects and wanted to know more, but other than the mandatory safety information there wasn’t anything available. My recommendation was to ass content, in the form of patient testimonials, and callouts to the page to get visitors to go deeper into the site as well as ask a thought leader to write some content around potential side effects. When we tested it, we hit a home run as patients said they were definitely more likely to read and have a more favorable impression of the brand.

One of my biggest pet peeves is launching a site without doing a usability study. Another client couldn’t understand why content, they paid for, was not being read by visitors to their site. In subsequent research, we found that the nav bar was too high and that the content was hidden for most users. In addition, people who did find the content were spending a small amount of time of the pages because the content was too long.

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These two examples are Internet Marketing 101 and pharma should be using analytics to continually learn and optimize but sadly in an environment of all day meetings and a myriad of approvals it’s just not happening enough. Your analytics person should not be reporting numbers, they should be telling you stories that present opportunities and get people to ask “what if..?”.


Originally published at on February 1, 2016.

Written by

Marketing contrarian with over 15 years of developing leading edge and award winning digital marketing initiatives.

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