Marketers seeking to attract the attention of physicians may do well to heed the results of a recent comScore and ImpactRx study: By the time a physician logs on to the Internet, they usually know what they’re looking for.

Unlike some patients, the study points out, physicians typically know what sites they trust and wish to utilize when tracking down information in the health world. For example, the physicians monitored in the study overwhelmingly plugged in the exact Web address for categories such as pharmacy services and pharmaceutical support.

Even in cases where the provider didn’t know the URL offhand, a natural search via a traditional search engine was the most common way for physicians to track down sites — especially for physician-locator sites and general health-content sites — rather than relying upon ads or paid searches.

The pharmaceutical industry seemed to be the only health care group making headway on the paid-search front, accounting for one out of every five referred visits by physicians — though still just a 7% total overall.

Interestingly, despite the name recognition of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and others, more than half of physicians searching for health-related information on social media sites did not head to the site directly, but were guided there — primarily by ad networks, links or other media.

John Mangano, comScore’s vice president of health marketing solutions, said in a release that the survey revealed important physician tendencies for marketers to understand when trying to reach these providers digitally.

“Physicians have very different browsing behaviors than patients when it comes to accessing health information online, as they generally begin a session with a clearer picture of what they’re trying to achieve,” Mangano said. “Understanding the clear picture of their distinct browsing patterns can provide marketers with the insights they need to ensure they’re pulling the appropriate marketing levers when their target audience is health care professionals.”

Adam Gaub is the lead editor of SmartBrief for Health Care Marketers.

Image Credit: 18percentgrey, via iStock Photo

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