Pharmaceutical firms spend a significant sum educating and informing patients about new drugs as they become available. But for the most part, these companies must convince physicians to write a prescription in  the first place. These days, more physicians are spending time online and as they do so, they visit specific sites. The latest research shows that  pharma companies  may be able to increase sales by targeting physicians as they search for information online.

A new report  from comScore, Inc. and ImpactRx finds that physicians exhibit a variety of online behavior across site categories. When visiting health and wellness sites, physicians tend to arrive as a result of media, text or link referrals (banner or text ads) in 40% of cases. This group of professionals also uses natural search to find general health content at least 59% of the time. When physicians seek information on pharmaceuticals or pharma support, non-referred site visits are tops at 30% and 67% respectively. In this case, no-referred visits mean physicians are accessing through saved links or by direct URL address.

Further analysis into the search behavior of physicians reveals that when seeking information on pharmaceuticals, physicians use the following tactics:

  • Paid search 20%
  • Natural search 80%

John Mangano, comScore vice president of health marketing solutions remarks that  “[u]nderstanding the clear picture of their [physicians’] 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.” Search continues to be an effective way to reach physicians and pharma companies should employ both paid and natural methods to garner a top-of-list placement.

[Source: Physicians Most Likely to Reach Health-Related Content through Natural Search and Direct Navigation. comScore.com. 2 Mar. 2011. Web. 18 Mar. 2011]