Why PPC Shouldn't Be Your Digital Trial Lifeboat

PPC life boat

In a pinch, PPC can help rescue clinical trial recruitment efforts. But taking a more proactive approach may enable a campaign to reach its full potential.

When faced with costly delays, many clinical trials turn to digital marketing to boost patient recruitment at the eleventh hour. However, from choosing the right keywords to creating a landing page that converts, executing an optimized PPC (pay-per-click) campaign can be a complex endeavor.

Many CROs and sponsors are surprised to find that it can take about two months to pass regulatory and get a digital marketing initiative off the ground. For clinical trials, this delay in recruitment can be very expensive. In fact, clinical trials may lose as much as $8 million for each day a trial is delayed.

Studies show that over half of patients find out about clinical trials online — meaning that incorporating digital marketing late in the game may result in lost opportunities. While it’s true that PPC and other initiatives can help bring in patients at any stage of the process, these campaigns are most effective when implemented well before a trial begins.

Finding the Right Strategy Takes Time

PPC may sound simple at first, but a lot of thought goes into building high-performing campaigns. For example, while it’s easy enough to choose your first set of keywords, landing on the right keywords involves some more trial and error. You may have to test a few options, then refine your terms as you learn more about searcher intent.

The same is true for ad messaging. Trials first need to gain familiarity with Google Ads best practices, including how to write effective headlines and body copy. Then, it’s essential to pinpoint what draws your audience in — whether it’s financial incentives or the possibility of relieving a particularly difficult symptom — and craft ad messaging around that topic. A/B testing can reveal a lot about the effectiveness of your messaging, too; if your clinical trial runs those tests now, it won’t have to during the crunch of a study rescue.

When it comes to optimizing PPC campaigns, conversion tracking can help determine what’s working and what isn’t. This can be a time-consuming project as well, but it allows clinical trials to devote valuable resources to the initiatives that are truly delivering. Without tracking metrics, trials run the risk of missing important data that could help them recruit patients more effectively.

The Benefits of a Properly-Executed Campaign

A well-crafted and strategic PPC campaign can help speed-up patient recruitment at the beginning of a clinical trial, as well as help troubleshoot later on in the process. Once an initiative has been set up and approved, it can be reactivated at any time. For example, if someone drops out of a trial, a reinstated PPC campaign can help recruit new patients at any time.

PPC ads can also be readjusted should a trial’s needs change. If your study is missing patients from a certain geographic area or demographic, you can tweak your parameters to target those audiences. In this way, existing campaigns can serve as an effective plan B or safety net for your other recruitment efforts

While PPC and other digital marketing initiatives can help boost recruitment throughout all stages of a trial, it’s most effective to start a campaign before research begins. With the time to plan and test different PPC strategies, clinical trials can help avoid costly recruitment delays.

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