LinkedIn Advertising

When it comes to cost per click (CPC) based advertising campaigns most healthcare and pharma marketers tend to focus their budgets purely on pay per click advertising across search engine networks like Google, Bing and Yahoo. However, if you want to specifically target a business audience, then you should consider running CPC campaigns across the LinkedIn network – here’s why…

According to, in the UK 35% of LinkedIn’s visitors are “regulars”. By Quantcast standards, that means a visitor frequents the site several times a month. 1% of visitors are considered “addicts” which means that they frequent the site 30 or more times a month. There are 101 million LinkedIn members worldwide, roughly 60% are male and 40% are female.

  • 20.9% are aged 18-24
  • 35.8% are aged 25-34
  • 36.3% are aged 35-54
  • 6.9% are aged over 54

The biggest users are North Americans – 47.9 million users and the second largest group are Europeans – 23.1 million users. Out of the 17 business areas listed on LinkedIn, the ‘Medical’ sector ranks number 4 globally in terms of the number of users tagged to that sector.

In the UK alone there are 148,870 members on LinkedIn that are tagged with a ‘Medical’ job function. From a targeting perspective you can narrow this down, so if you wanted to  just reach individuals that use the words ‘Doctor’ or ‘General Practitioner’ in their profile description, then your ads would still be seen by 21, 019 highly targeted members.

Profile Data You Can Trust

LinkedIn allows you to target ads based on user profile data. Because of the business focus of the site, LinkedIn states that the profiles of its users are ten times more accurate than many other sites’ registration data. In other words, people who create a LinkedIn profile to connect with their work colleagues or other business professionals are less likely to be deceptive in their profile data.  For us marketers, that means we’re working with highly accurate profiling data which helps to create a more targeted campaign and reduce budget wastage.

Ad Formats

LinkedIn Ads consists of these elements:

Headline (up to 25 characters of text)

  • Description (up to 75 characters of text)
  • From: (your name or any company)
  • Image: (50×50 pixel image)
  • URL (website people visit once they click on your ad)

The ads will be eligible to appear on a variety of prominent pages on the website and your ads may appear in various positions on any or all of the pages listed below:

  • Profile Page (when users view the profile of other LinkedIn members)
  • Home Page (the page that users see when they log in to LinkedIn)
  • Inbox (the page where users see messages and invitations to connect)
  • Search Results Page (the page that results when you search for a member by name)
  • Groups (on pages in LinkedIn Groups)

Your ads will only be displayed to LinkedIn members who meet the targeting criteria that you set. The targeting options include:
“Job Title, Job Function, Industry, Geography, Company Size, Company Name, Seniority, Age, Gender, LinkedIn Group”

Currently, LinkedIn only allow ads to be written in English. However, these English-language ads can be targeted and shown to LinkedIn members in over 50 countries including Europe.

So, next time you’re planning cost per click ad campaigns and you want to target business professionals make sure you consider the LinkedIn network because the precision targeting options that this social network offers will help you to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing budget.

How to Use QR Codes to Engage Your Audience

A QR Code – Quick Response Code – looks like this. QR CodeThey are becoming increasingly more popular as an easy way of storing different types of information like URL links, contact information and text that can be read and stored by a smart phone.

Why is this important?

When used in conjunction with more traditional forms of off line media they provide an extremely effective way of communicating specific information to your target audience and, at the moment, a relatively novel way of engaging your audience as part of your digital marketing strategy.

A study released on May 4th by Manhattan Research revealed 81% of HCPs are using smart phones between 1-2 hours a day to access the internet and this figure is growing rapidly. This means the smart phone is fast becoming the tool of choice for HCPs across the world making QR codes an increasingly effective way to interact with this audience.

By ‘reading’ QR Codes with a smartphone a number of different predetermined actions can take place. If the information contained within the code is a web address, you will automatically be directed to that website or if it is contact details, you will be prompted to add them to your address book.

Download free QR Readers for iPhone and Android phones.

iPhone logo   android logo

One of the most important benefits of integrating QR codes with a campaign is how, through increased audience engagement, they become an effective means of driving HCPs and/or patients to the next step in the marketing funnel where they can be provided with additional detail or sign up options.

How can you use QR codes

Here are 5 good examples of how you could use QR codes as part of your marketing strategy:

Product labels
One of these codes printed either directly on the product packaging or to the label attached to the product could direct users to a dedicated page on your website which contains all the product specific information.

By including a QR code as part of you eDetailing, you can save doctors time, directing them to information they need about a particular product on your website they can then reference at any point in the future.

Direct mail
You could add one of these codes to the end of each mailing which directs people back to a page on your website with more information. You could then encourage them to opt in to email rather than postal communications.

Leave piece
A QR code printed on any product literature will make it easy to direct individuals to the right area on your website without having to navigate menus to find information. Once there, you could encourage them to perform another action like sign up for product updates.

Introduce a QR code as part of your stand design allowing interested individuals to store your contact details directly to their smart phone, engaging them and making it easy to contact you in the future. Future event appearances can also be stored direct to their calendar.

QR Codes are already being used by many Medical, Healthcare and Pharma companies to provide quick and easy access to their latest information. If you’re not using them, it’s time to consider it!

2011 Top 5 Web Design Mistakes

Designing and developing websites can seem easy but getting it right is not. Below are our top 5 mistakes that could be affecting your website right now.

1. Incorrectly Using Adobe Flash

This one’s been around for years but is still a major problem. Adobe Flash allows the use of animation on the web. It can be used for something as simple as a blinking button to something as complex as an entire website. Flash is rarely needed in 2011 with new technologies capable of reproducing its functionality across more platforms than Flash supports.

  • Search Engines try to understand Flash but it will never be as readily indexed as standard text. That means your audience will be visiting your competitors site because they simply won’t know yours exists.
  • Flash doesn’t work on the iPhone or iPad, both of which are increasingly used in the Medical, Pharma and Healthcare industries.

Why it’s important: Mobile web browsing is increasing exponentially. If your site can’t be seen it’s not worth having.

2. Ignoring Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) should be considered for every site but is hugely important when patients and medical professionals are involved.

  • 75% of consumers use the Internet to search for advice about health, medicines or medical conditions
  • 81% of physicians use search engines like Google to research medical related info

Basic SEO can be achieved using a few simple techniques that can make the difference between you or your competitor being found by a potential or existing customer. For starters:

  • Always use a page title that accurately describes the purpose of the page. This is what will show up in Google so keep it short (max 70 characters) and appealing (to encourage people to click it!)
  • Always include accurate, concise headings. Headings not only help the search engines understand the nature of the page they also help users find the information they need quickly.
  • Always use plain text. Plain text is what the search engines understand so don’t be tempted to use images, PDF files or anything else instead.

Why it’s important: Your competitors are in Google. If you’re not, you’re losing business.

3. If It’s Broke, Fix It!

This really covers a multitude of sins but essentially boils down to sites not being maintained properly and becoming out dated.

The 404 error (techno speak for a missing page) can be a major irritant for site visitors who expect to find what they’re looking for without having to jump through hoops. Most often, 404 errors occur because a site has been redesigned or restructured and the content has moved. By using ‘redirects’ a 404 can be avoided. A redirect is a hidden instruction that automatically routes a user to the correct location when they try to visit an outdated page. Redirects should be implemented every time a site is restructured or a page is moved. And just to cover all eventualities, use a ‘friendly’ 404 page that recognises the error and advises on what to try next.

Out of date information can be equally damaging, particularly if it’s medical related. Ensuring a site can be readily maintained by using a powerful yet simple Content Management System can help avoid this.

Missing pictures, broken downloads, slow loading pages, duplicate pages, contradictory information, doesn’t work in an old web browser, doesn’t work in a new web browser, doesn’t work full stop! There are plenty of things that can go wrong with a website so good reporting and a comprehensive maintenance routine are essential.

Why it’s important: You have seconds to engage a visitor. A badly maintained site = a lost visitor.

4. No Call To Action

So you’ve ditched the Flash, optimised the site, got bang up-to-date information and the visitors are coming. Now what? One hot topic in web design right now is Conversion Optimisation which is the technique of encouraging visitors to perform goal oriented tasks. The task could be downloading a brochure, placing an order or completing a contact form for example.

Without setting specific goals and having calls-to-action that channel users toward those goals you risk wasting a visitor. If someone comes to your site, finds the information they’re after and then immediately leaves they’re far less valuable than if they go on to volunteer their contact information.

Having a call to action and making sure it’s optimised is key to a successful modern website.

Why it’s important: You’re wasting budget if you’re not getting the most from every visitor to your site.

5. No Tracking

You ditched Flash, optimised, informed and converted. Or did you? Tracking, reporting and analysis is hugely important in understanding not only how your site is currently performing but how it can be adjusted for improved performance.

There are many reporting options available but the one which has quickly become the standard is provided free by Google. Google Analytics is a web based service which requires a small amount of code to be added to every page on your site. At it’s most basic it can tell you how visitors arrived at your site, the search terms they might have used, which pages they viewed, where they exited, how long they stayed, the most popular pages and much more.

By monitoring site analytics, and making use of the more advanced options to track online marketing campaigns, you can identify patterns in visitor behaviour that allow you to introduce changes to help increase your chances of converting visitors into customers. Furthermore, you can more easily identify which areas of your online marketing activity are delivering the highest quality of visitors and focus more budget on those activities thus reducing budget waste.

Why it’s important: To improve your site you have to know how it’s performing.

Bonus item: Ignoring Mobile

According to research, half a billion people accessed the internet using a mobile device worldwide in 2009. Usage is expected to double within five years as mobile overtakes the PC as the most popular way to get on the web. If your website doesn’t accommodate mobile users you could well be cutting off a significant proportion of your audience.


There are lots of mistakes that can be made when developing websites, the list above is just a few that we think are paramount right now. It would have been easy to write a top 10 but we’ll save the rest for when we talk to you!

More people using the internet for health enquiries

More and more people are now prepared to share personal health information online in order to achieve a diagnosis and help.

According to new research by Simplyhealth, the private health insurance provider, more than half of people say that they would rather look up their health issues on the internet than immediately seek help from a healthcare professional. Information to be noted by companies wanting to sell healthcare products using digital marketing channels.

A total of 55% of those surveyed said that they would be prepared to submit information about their symptoms online, whilst half of respondents said that they would be happy to give basic information about themselves, such as their age.

The survey showed that nearly a third of people (31%) in the UK use the internet to find out if their symptoms warrant a visit to their GP, with 59% using Google to find out what’s wrong. The results show that younger people are often more comfortable with communicating over the internet, and are more likely to disclose personal information. 79% of 18 to 24s say they would give information compared to 63% of over 65s. Just under a quarter of those surveyed said that they would give details about their medical history online.

The research follows another recent survey, also by Simplyhealth, in which people saw the internet as a viable alternative in their search for help with their health in the face of long waiting lists at NHS healthcare providers.

Raman Sankaran, a spokesperson for Simplyhealth, said: “The internet, social media and instant messaging feature strongly in the results of our survey.

“All of this suggests that there is a shift in the way people want to access health advice and interact with healthcare professionals now.” This will have useful implications for the marketing of healthcare products to consumers.

Internet and smartphone-based nursing can help diabetic patients

Nursing via the internet and smartphones can be an effective way to help patients with uncontrolled diabetes to manage their care.

According to a new study conducted by McGill University, Canada for the Public Health Agency of Canada, tele-monitoring is also increasingly seen as a workable way of delivering care to patients with chronic conditions who live in remote places, or who require monitoring on a long-term basis.

During the pilot project, diabetic patients in four regions of Quebec submitted their blood sugar readings to a nurse every day using a secure website.

Patients also answered a series of questions online about their exercise, diet and food care.

Their nurses then monitored their responses, providing appropriate advice as and when required. If a patient’s readings were a cause for concern, then they appeared in red text and triggered an alarm.

Nurses also emailed their patients educational material to help them manage their conditions.

Antonia Arnaert, professor of nursing at McGill University, said: “Patients with chronic diseases like diabetes, or who have gone through surgery, often have lots of questions and the doctors and nurses don’t always have the time to answer them.

“With tele-nursing, whether using video-conferencing or text-messaging, patients say they feel they get lots of attention from their nurses, because they know that they have their full attention for an hour.”

“They said that tele-monitoring provided them with a sense of confidence in their ability to manage their diabetic condition themselves.”

Travellers’ medical records now held on USB sticks

Individuals who are travelling abroad will now be able to carry their medical records on a credit card-sized USB device.

The Crosscard personal medical record card stores the data in two areas – an emergency area that contains information that is publicly available and a protected area that can only be accessed by entering a password.

The Crosscard has been invented by Advanced Health & Care (AHC) and will be rolled out by InterHealth, a specialist medical charity that provides health services to major international agencies involved in humanitarian relief and poverty reduction across the world.

The card will be rolled out over the next few months on a trial basis and will be made available to private GP and occupational health provider patients.

Each card will enable its holder to access and share their medical records from anywhere in the world. Key medical data held on the Crosscard can also be accessed by emergency services personnel should the cardholder become ill or unconscious.

Crosscard can hold medical information including blood group, blood pressure readings, details of any allergies or medical conditions, medication being taken and test results. To update the card details, the card plugs into a PC or laptop’s USB port, enabling key medical information to be accessed and updated within seconds.

Nearly all young adults connected via social networking sites

A total of 91% of young adults in the UK are connected to social networking sites.

According to new research from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), half of all web users are also accessing the internet via their mobile phone.

The ONS opinions survey also reveals that 45% of internet users have accessed the internet via a mobile phone at some point this year.

The survey also shows that surfing on the move is a growing trend.

In total, 4.9 million people connected to the internet via wireless hotspots in 2011 – double the numbers from last year.

The ONE research also shows that social networking is becoming more and more popular.

A total of 57% of adult internet users have used online social networks this year – a figure up from 43% last year.

Younger surfers make up the bulk of people using their phones to connect to the internet. Just over 70% of 16-24 year olds use their phone to access the internet, whilst a massive 91% use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The smartphone boom is largely responsible for the huge growth of social networking sites. Facebook and Twitter are now better optimised for mobile use than ever, whilst even LinkedIn, the business networking site, has just launched its very well received smartphone app.

Pharma social media sites get own Wiki

More and more pharmaceutical companies are realising the importance of digital marketing and are establishing a presence on social media websites. With so many organisations taking part on the online pharma revolution, it can be difficult to keep track of who is online and where.

An American blogger has come up with a way to help keep track of what’s going on.

Jonathan Richman, who writes a blog called ‘Does of Digital: Improving Healthcare Through Digital Technology’, has listed a compendium of all of the pharmaceutical companies with pages on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. It’s called the ‘Pharma and Healthcare Social Media Wiki’.

Although US companies are heavily represented, international companies appear on the list too – including those with a strong presence in the UK such as AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

The Wiki also includes listings of pharmaceutical companies on YouTube.
Each listing contains a description of the organisation’s social media presence along with a link to it.

Introducing the Wiki, Richman writes: “With a growing number of pharma companies testing the waters of social media, an intrepid few have tried to keep track of every site, YouTube video, Twitterer, Facebook page, and so on.

“It’s become a daunting task and no one list seems to have it all, so we created the Pharma and Healthcare Social Media Wiki.”

Richman is taking submissions for the Wiki. To submit your company’s social media profile, or to view the Wiki itself, visit: