Best Practices for Advertising to Life Scientists: Online and in Print

life science advertising best practices

BioInformatics, part of the Science and Medicine Group, newest report Advertising to Life Scientists details the different perceptions life scientists have to advertisements. Below you will find a summary of three insights into trends based on age, preference, and usage:

Amount of Time Spent Reading Research-Related Material: Mobility and Online/Print Publications

Scientists are spending an increasing amount of time reading research-related material online (over 16 hours per week) than product and service–related content (almost 5 hours per week). Accessing research related content on smartphones and tablets has increased significantly within the last two years. While smartphone preferences have nearly doubled, desktop and laptop use remains higher. Therefore, mobile accessibility and compatibility across all devices are important factors to consider when creating online advertisements.

On average, a life scientist reads 5-6 of the online publications and 6-8 different print publications are received monthly. Ads that appear on popular publication sites and print publications can greatly benefit from the high amount of traffic.

Effect of Print and Online Ads:

While online advertising is the most preferred method for informing life scientist of products and services, integrated print and online advertisement can be more effective at raising awareness of products and improving vendor name recognition. When obtaining product information, the majority of life scientists find scientific print articles to be highly useful. Print advertisements still have a receptive audience and ads within these publications can gain many views. Over half of life scientists locate product information online due to print ads. This shows that print ads increase online traffic to vendor websites and can expand customer engagement to include other forms of advertisements. Many life scientists believe the result of print advertisements is to raise product awareness and vendor recognition. This implies that print ads can impact brand value and create customer interactions with other vendor products.

Generationally, millennial life scientists use print and online advertising more frequently when making a purchase decision than any other age group. However, online ads are still more important than print ads for informing life scientists of products and services. Boomer life scientists see product awareness as the most likely effect of print ads while millennials view vendor name recognition as the most likely effect. This implies that Millennials value brand image and this may impact their purchasing decisions. Also, Xennials and Gen X life scientists are more likely to see direct product sales as an effect of print advertising.

Regionally, life scientists in Asia Pacific find online advertising to be more important in informing them of products and services and more influential than print ads when making product purchase decisions. Print advertising still has a stronger influence on their purchasing decisions than on scientists in other regions.

Retargeted Ads:

While many life scientists would prefer not to receive retargeted advertisements (they find them to be intrusive or annoying) they can still be a powerful tool if used correctly, especially among millennials. It is important to critically evaluate the use of retargeted ads and to determine whether it will be significantly beneficial to use and is worth the risk of potentially generating negative reactions. Suggested content is the most preferred type of retargeted ads for most life scientists, across all age groups who are receptive to retargeted ads.

About the Report: 

First published by BioInformatics in 2003, Advertising to Life Scientists is the indispensable guide to reaching your scientific audience. Improve the effectiveness of your advertising by understanding the messages and media that scientists consider most useful and appropriate.

This Advertising to Life Scientists explores the preferences, opinions, and impact of print and digital advertising on life scientists. This report provides substantial data and insights on how scientists search for information, what types of advertising appeals to them the most, and which attributes might influence them to click on sponsored content.

A life scientist’s customer journey consists of 4 stages:

Awareness – when the customer discovers a need for a product/service

  • Uncover how life scientists view life science advertising
  • Overall receptivity to these ads and to various life science brands
  • Assess the awareness and usefulness of 20+ leading life science publications: online and print

Search – where the customer goes to look for solutions and what tools they use in their search

  • Determine which devices scientists are using to read/view web content
  • Value of major types of sponsored content: online and print
  • Use of product-related search terms
  • Use and perception of sponsored links by region and age

Consideration – when the customer researches/evaluates different product and brands

  • Understand the different online vs. print advertising preferences
  • Preferences by age and geographic region
  • Usage of multiple types of print and online ads

Purchase – when the customer decides to buy the product

  • Customers’ experiences and opinions concerning how well life science advertising informs them of the products and services that they use
  • Learn which type of ads scientists are responding to most: print vs. online
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