should your pharma use pay per click advertising

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Should Your Pharma Company Be Using PPC Advertising?

Do you want to use pay-per-click (PPC) marketing to generate immediate qualified leads and grow brand awareness of your pharmaceutical brand?

Are you ready to target specific audience segments actively looking for solutions to their immediate health needs?

The pharmaceutical industry is a severely competitive niche. And for any drug on the market, there are tons of companies selling and advertising

Pay-per-click marketing is one of the cornerstones of online marketing.

And you would think that with their high market demands and competition, they would embrace online marketing and PPC advertising.

However, many pharma brands are not so much into PPC marketing because pharmaceutical marketing is a highly regulated niche.

Therefore, savvy marketers must balance handling regulatory compliance issues and adhering to the rules of advertising platforms.

In this article you will learn what PPC advertising is and its many benefits. You will also learn when best to use PPC advertising for your pharma brand. And finally, when should your pharma brand be using PPC advertising?

Let's dive in.

What is PPC advertising?

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is an online marketing strategy for generating clicks to your website by paying for them instead of earning them naturally.

In other words, it is a method of buying the visits to your website instead of gaining them organically.

Search advertising accounts for most of Google’s revenue, which amounted to a total of 256.73 billion U.S. dollars in 2021

And that HUGE ad spend is because advertising on search engines is one of the most popular forms of PPC.  

Marketers bid for ad placement in the sponsored links of search engines. 

And when someone searches on a keyword related to their search term, the sponsored ad appears. 

Have you noticed those sponsored adverts that frequently appear at the top of Google’s search results page? 

Those sponsored links are pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. You pay the search engine every time your ad is clicked on that sends users to your website. 

PPC advertising works.

For instance, in 2020, Alphabet (The parent company of Google) generated almost $183 billion in revenue. Of that, $147 billion, over 80%,  came from Google’s ads business.

Understand The Healthcare Paid Search Regulations

understand the healthcare paid search regulationss

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Just as healthcare is severely regulated, so are paid search guidelines.

The paid search guidelines of Google and Microsoft Advertising give clear and strict guidelines on the type of ad content permitted on their platforms. 

For instance, Google allows pharmaceutical manufacturers to promote over-the-counter medicines in the countries listed here

And manufacturers who want to promote their over-the-counter products can apply for certification on Google's Healthcare and medicines policy page.

In addition, Google prohibits pharmaceutical manufacturers from promoting prescription opioid painkillers or targeting locations where they are not licensed.

For quick access, you can use Google's drop-down menu to see which types of PPC ads are allowed in the country of your campaign.

Google’s healthcare paid search ad policies include regulations related to:

  • Restricted drug terms
  • Unapproved substances
  • Unauthorized pharmacies
  • Speculative and experimental medical treatments
  • Clinical trial recruitment
  • Addiction services

Get familiar with Google’s “health in personalized advertising” limitation on personal health content. 

Please note that even if you comply with its healthcare guidelines, Google can limit how often your ads appear based on the treatment your company is offering.

Get Familiar With LegitScript

According to LegitScript, their industry-leading certification helps you stand out from the crowd and stand up for the highest levels of commercial integrity.

They offer certification programs recognized by Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and others for merchants and providers in highly regulated healthcare markets.

And they offer the only certification program recognized by those platforms for the addiction treatment market.

If you are advertising r alcohol addiction services on Microsoft's platform, you must be certified by LegitScript first.

However, LegitScript takes a long time to get approved. You should have the certification before starting the campaign.

Also, you need a certification if you have any prescriptions on your site or addiction services. 

Microsoft’s healthcare paid search ad policies include regulations related to:

  • Invasive treatments and cosmetic surgery
  • Weight loss
  • Pharmacy and prescription-only medicine
  • Non-prescription medications and health supplements
  • Family planning

 It is good to read over the guidelines no matter your company's healthcare niche.

In that way, you will not develop a campaign that would be rejected or pulled. 

Please note that: Currently, Google classifies CBD under the “Unapproved pharmaceuticals and supplements” category.

That means that just the mention of it on your site gets it flagged and/or disapproved.  


Should your pharma company use PPC advertising to increase traffic to your website and generate more leads and sales?

The answer is YES.

And here are more compelling reasons why you should:

The Benefits Of Using PPC Advertising

benefits of pay per click advertising

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Whether you are trying to convince a client or even your boss about why Google Ads are valuable, there are compelling reasons you can present.

PPC can impact your pharma brand positively, and if you are not doing any PPC marketing, you’re likely losing out on valuable traffic and revenue.

Do you still need to make a case for PPC advertising?

Here are just 8 powerful benefits of using effective PPC advertising:

  • PPC Advertising Contributes To Your Business Goals.
  • PPC Is Measurable & Trackable.
  • PPC Advertising Draws Warm Leads. 
  • PPC Ads Lead To Positive ROI. 
  • PPC Data Helps Your SEO. 
  • PPC Offers Incredible Targeting Options.
  • PPC Provides Valuable Marketing Data.
  • PPC Offers You A Quick Entry.

#1. PPC Advertising Contributes To Your Business Goals

Many marketers consider this the most compelling reason to use PPC advertising.

It can help you achieve many of your business and marketing goals.

And some of these goals are high-level brand exposure, thought leadership, hot lead submission, or an increase in revenue generation.

You can use this marketing strategy to align your website traffic drivers to your end goals.

Additionally, it helps you nurture and serve the middle of the funnel through advertising content downloads, newsletter signups, contest entries, and pharma app downloads.

PPC supports many parts of the sales funnel, from awareness to becoming a customer.

#2. PPC Is Measurable & Trackable

One of the main benefits of PPC Google PPC Ads is that it’s easy to measure and track.

Google Ads tools and Google Analytics make it easy to measure and track your Google ads.

These tools help you see your ads' high-level performance details, like impressions, clicks, and conversions - based on defined business goals.

Stats are at your fingertips and can readily show you how well your campaigns are performing in terms of website traffic. 

And what kind of traffic and results do they drive for your budget.

If you send your PPC traffic to dedicated landing pages, you can track it to conversion using Google Analytics. 

And you can see what you spent and what it drove in terms of your end goals.

#3. PPC Advertising Draws Warm Leads

PPC advertising draws warm leads

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PPC is a highly effective advertising strategy for pharma brands attracting warm online lead generation.

PPC lead generation often is best suited for generating leads with a target audience.

The benefit of PPC for lead generation is that its many targeting methods allow you to narrow a large audience pool down to those who match your target audience.

The advertising lead generation targetting methods include keywords that determine which search results from your ads show.

Also, demographics comprise age, gender, parental status, and affinity audiences. 

The ultimate goal is for a pharma marketer to close the deal so that the company gains a new customer.

The lead generation process starts with obtaining basic information, like a name and email address.

Then it progresses to get more detailed information about the prospect.


Every lead goes to the top of the funnel, then works down to an eventual conversion.

The challenge for pharma marketers is how to get the initial leads at the top of the funnel.

However, with PPC ad generation, you can instantly appear on page one and be in front of people searching for your solution to their pain points.

So whether your target audience is on desktop or mobile, a well-timed ad can turn people into valuable customers.

#4. PPC Ads Lead To Positive ROI

ROI is simply the net result of any marketing and advertising campaign period. It measures whether your advertising campaign is effective or not.

Wikipedia defines it as: 'Return on investment (ROI) or return on costs (ROC) is a ratio between net income (over a period) and investment (costs resulting from an investment of some resources at a point in time).

A high ROI means the investment's gains compare favorably to its cost'. 

It is important to note that your PPC advertising is not a perfect strategy.

That means that you don't get an iron-clad guarantee that you will get a positive ROI. 

However, if PPC is used with ROI in mind and gradually tweaked for more effectiveness, you can get great value from the strategy.

There is a strong correlation between ad spending and ROI.

Check out these statistics from Valve+Meter

  • Ad spending is increasing. According to SocialMediaToday, 72 percent of marketers are spending more on social ads in 2018. And 60 percent of marketers are spending more on text ads and mobile ads in 2018.
  • 40 percent of brands want to increase their PPC budget, indicating that this is an effective and lucrative tool for marketers (SocialMediaToday).
  • According to Formstack, PPC ads are one of the top three generators of on-page conversions.

By making PPC evaluation and optimization a top priority, you can easily and accurately measure the ROI of your PPC campaigns.

You can have a better-optimized campaign if you measure a few important metrics and know which red flags to look for.

#5. PPC Data Helps Your SEO 

With PPC advertising, you gain valuable data on your website, including how people are searching.

Your PPC pharma marketer can use this data to improve their PPC advertising campaigns and improve your pharma SEO marketing strategy.

How to make your PPC campaigns work together with SEO efforts:

  1. Identify the keywords that convert the most by analyzing your PPC campaigns. This exercise helps you focus on the web pages that generate the highest revenue. 
  2. The best and easiest way to attract your target audience is to use paid advertising. You get better user behavior metrics when your target audience clicks through your valuable ad and find the solutions to their pain points on your website. And because this website traffic results in lower bounce rates and longer session durations, search robots interpret those as positive signals. Those positive signals from your PPC campaign impact your SEO and result in high organic search engine rankings.
  3. If your website shows up in paid and organic searches, you have a better chance of a user clicking through on one of the search engine results. However, some brands bid on the branded keywords of their competitors. So, if you don’t want to send your prospects to your competition, bid on your branded keywords too.

#6. PPC Offers Incredible Targeting Options

PPC advertising offers incredible targeting options

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PPC offers incredible targeting options through its many layers of marketing tools.

For example,  you can target specific search keywords, and set specific perimeters on the geographic locations, user demographics, and times and dates in which your ads will be active.

All in one campaign.

Not only that, but PPC also offers dynamic retargeting. That means that you can track visitors to your website and shows them ads specific to the page or pages they viewed.

Making available metrics like users' age, locations, and interests, makes it easy to target specific pharma customer profiles locally and globally.

And even better, you can experiment with PPC campaigns.

And as you do, you’ll be able to see what kind of users respond to your campaigns.

Also, you will be able to see what platforms those users use.

This provides added advantage of hyper-targeting different audiences on platforms where they convert best.

#7. PPC Provides Valuable Marketing Data

pharma PPC provides valuable marketing data

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PPC pharma advertising provides a wealth of valuable information that goes far beyond PPC.

It tracks metrics like impressions, clicks, and conversion data for each keyword. 

The data can complement a robust SEO strategy and many content marketing efforts.

Besides, you can also take advantage of the built-in keyword planner and display planner tools to research where your audience is.

Additionally, you can also use third-party SEO tools to cross-reference where your competition is.

This exercise will help you understand the strength of your competition and what market share you can gain.

Also, by manually looking at the search results, you can gain insight into what the searchers will see.

PPC helps you test your keyword strategy before committing to long-term SEO strategies.

Whereas organic keywords are not visible because of privacy, there is no such restriction with paid search.

That means you can get an overview of the keywords that convert and at what percentage and cost.

In other words, all PPC keyword data is valuable in organic search marketing (SEO).

It is can also useful in optimizing existing metadata, headlines, and keywords.

Using PPC campaigns, you can improve all your website content without waiting for your content to rank organically.

#8. PPC Offers You A Quick Entry

Even if your pharma brand is more than 10 years behind your competitors in PPC marketing, you can get up and running quickly with Google Ads within minutes of launch.

This is a HUGE contrast to starting an SEO strategy, which demands a lot of time, tools, learning curve, and blogging before getting traction.

And when compared to email and organic social, you get the advantage of targeting people not aware of your brand.

Additionally, you are not limited to just your existing followers or customer lists.

PPC provides you with an incredible online platform to quickly cast a wide net to find new prospects and customers.

Moreover, creating and implementing the ad is done within the PPC advertising platform, from the research to campaign build-out, to writing ads.

That means that you can get up and running quickly with minimal involvement from your development teams.

Besides setting up conversion tracking and any desired landing pages.

When Should Your Pharma Brand Use PPC?

when should your pharma brand use PPC ads?

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Should your pharma brand be using PPC advertising? when should you use PPC marketing?

Below are some circumstances when PPC would prove highly beneficial for an online business.

  • When you need to get results quickly - Your pharma brand should use PPC over organic SEO because organic SEO takes a fairly long time to get results. On the other hand, PPC is more instantaneous. Within minutes of your ad being active, you can see your target audience clicking on it. Therefore, PPC works amazingly well with product launches. It also works well with squeeze pages, CPA marketing, and affiliate marketing involving high converting offers. PPC also works pretty quickly on joint venture projects, seasonal promotions, event-focused marketing, and analogous online business campaigns.
  • When you need targeted traffic - PPC marketing makes it easy to narrow down your target audience based on their demographic data. Ads on social media platforms permit you to promote your ad based on age, gender, income bracket, education level, and even marital status. Facebook goes even deeper by allowing you to target your prospects based on their hobbies. With these many targeting options, you can reach a narrow band of people your business needs and lead them to your web pages.
  • When promoting a time-sensitive offer - It is not always easy to promote products, services, or events with an expiration date. If you depend on SEO strategies for your campaigns, the results might not come on time. PPC marketing would be a perfect time-sensitive offer. 
  • When your website is not optimized for SEO                           Effective SEO strategy requires that your website has high-quality content that is regularly updated. In that way, you can let the search engines know that your website is relevant. Also, your site is an authority in your niche. However, some websites are not optimized for this. For websites such as these, PPC ad campaigns generate the best traffic.
  • When you want to dominate search results with your keyword category                                                                                       PPC results are displayed higher than the organic search results. That means that up to 50% of the search traffic goes to the top 3 sponsored links. If your brand is not among those sponsored PPC ads, you’re conceding the loss of all those clicks to your competitors. You must use PPC advertising when you want to maximize your click-share of available searches for keywords relevant to your business.

Afterthoughts About Your Pharma Brand Using PPC Advertising

PPC advertising can be part of your online marketing strategy, either as a stand-alone strategy or combined with a search engine marketing strategy.

The campaign effectively can boost traffic to your website and increase sales for your business.

Because of the easy-to-use tracking features, you can even learn from your Google PPC ad mistakes by seeing which targeted keywords result in conversions and which do not.

Also, Pay Per Click advertising allows you to set the budget. It makes it easy for you to set the priorities and pay only for measurable results.

Get in touch for your data-driven, result-oriented, PPC advertising campaigns that generate leads and skyrockets sales.

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