Creating Life Science PPC Campaigns That Convert

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How much business would you generate if you were top of Google for your target keywords?

If you want your website to appear at the top of search engine results pages, you have two options: play the long game with life science SEO, or pay your way to the top of the results. 

PPC is one of the most effective ways to reach people straight away and in a targeted manner. If you have a budget, and can accommodate a sudden increase in leads or product sales immediately, then this is a strategy for you to consider.

So, for this blog post, I want to outline some of the advantages of implementing life science PPC, and what it takes to do so successfully.

What Exactly is PPC?

PPC (Pay-Per-Click) is a model of online advertising where you display your ads on third party platforms, paying only for clicks rather than impressions. This works on a CPC (cost per click) model, where you bid on the cost you are willing to pay for a click, assigning a budget within your bidding limitations.

This pay-to-play strategy can be an impactful tool for visibility and lead generation, and when done correctly you are likely to benefit from the following:

  • Rapid Visibility & Immediate Results: Generate immediate visibility by showing your ads in the most prominent search results positions
  • Flexible Targeting: Focus on specific audiences, ensuring that ads reach professionals, researchers, and patients as needed
  • Real-time ROI Measurement: Generate real-time data and continually adjust strategies instantaneously for optimal performance
  • Digital Competitiveness: Get seen alongside your competitors and be accessible for search queries they are also targeting

And behind every life science PPC campaign are keywords; the search terms that your audience is using to find the solutions that your business offers. 

But not all keywords have the same impact on ad performance.

The Right Keywords For Your Audience

The right keywords for your audience will form the basis of your campaign. 

Do you want to generate brand awareness? Increase the number of leads for your sales team? Or get scientists to purchase directly from your website?

It doesn’t matter whether you want to do one, or all of the above. What does matter is that you carefully research and plan how these keywords will fit into your overall goals.

Finding Keywords

When working with a life science PPC specialist, they will be able to give you a long list of potential keywords from an initial list of seed terms, or through an understanding of your product and/or audience.

Combined with a budget, they will be able to help you predict how many clicks you can generate, and an estimate on the number of goal completions you can therefore achieve.

But before you start discussing ad campaigns, it can also be incredibly useful to look through keywords for yourself.

Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is a tool connected to Google Ads to help you kick off your PPC keyword research.

I recommend starting off with some broad keyword searches –  “secondary antibodies” versus “highly cross adsorbed secondary antibody” – for example – within your target locations. 

Here you can start to learn information about the estimated search volumes, competition and lower to upper bid ranges. And by finding keywords that are of interest, you can quickly estimate how many people you can reach, and the associated costs.

With most campaigns, there will usually be a period of testing – where you target multiple keywords to understand the actual number of clicks and the actual cost – across a wide range of variations.

But creating an effective PPC campaign isn’t about the right keywords at the right price, you are also going to need to consider other elements of an ad too.

Components of a Successful Life Science PPC Campaign

Keywords are only the start of a PPC campaign.

You then need to encourage people to take action to click your ad and visiting your landing page. Then you need them to take further action to complete the goal action, whether that be to make an enquiry or complete the purchase, for example.

To do this, you need to craft high quality ad copy and landing pages that are designed to convert into action.

Creating Ad Copy

Take this example for “bioinformatics tool”.

See how ad copy has been optimised accordingly for the keyword, and the ad has been created in a way that takes up a large proportion at the top of the screen through the inclusion of additional sitelinks.

Compare this to the result that is shown directly below it. Whilst the copy is well crafted, notice how the sentence has been truncated and doesn’t convey the whole message of the ad:

Finding what works and what doesn’t is a matter of trial and error. Like all good scientists, it’s useful to apply your lab skills – hypothesis, test, analyse and repeat.

But ad copy is just the first half of creating a successful ad. This landing page is where you encourage users to take action to maximise the potential of the CPC you have just paid for.

Optimising Your Landing Page

The following example is a landing page for the keyword “ELN software”.

Here you have three different call-to-action buttons, clear advantages and benefits of the tool being shown, and even social proof in the form of award badges. Even further down the page (not shown) there are more CTAs, additional information and different options and considerations in line with the user’s expectations.

You can view the page for yourself here.

For the same search query, here is another landing page that I encountered:

For some reason, I have been shown the Japanese version of the landing page – even though I have never tried to search for, or interacted with any Japanese search queries or pages in my browser.

Although this is most likely a simple mistake – rather than a poorly crafted landing page – is an example of where you can create unwanted user friction and turn a potentially successful campaign into an unsuccessful one.

But even if you can nail the basic components of a PPC campaign, there are still some considerations to be taken into account.

But Be Careful

Like any digital marketing tactic, there are downsides too. These shouldn’t be factors that immediately write-off your consideration for PPC, but should be accounted for accordingly.

Generally speaking, PPC has the following disadvantages:

  • Cost: PPC can become expensive, especially when bidding on highly competitive keywords with a high CPC
  • Continuous Investment: Unlike organic SEO, where you might reap benefits long after the initial effort, PPC requires ongoing investment. Once you stop paying for ads, your visibility diminishes
  • Complexity: While setting up a basic PPC campaign can be straightforward, proper optimisation requires PPC knowledge and experience
  • Potential for Negative ROI: Without proper management and optimisation, it’s possible to spend more on ads than you get back in profits
  • Click Fraud: This is when competitors or malicious individuals repeatedly click on your ads with the intention of draining your budget
  • Ad Blindness: Some users have become so accustomed to online ads that they instinctively ignore them, a phenomenon known as “banner blindness” or “ad blindness”.
  • Platform Restrictions: PPC platforms have strict guidelines and policies. Ads can be disapproved, or accounts can be suspended if they violate these policies.
  • Competitive Marketplaces: For certain industries and keywords, PPC can be incredibly competitive, making it hard for your ads to appear without significant investment

Whilst all of the above apply to PPC in just about any industry, when it comes to advertising within certain aspects of life sciences – or more specifically within pharmaceuticals – there are additional factors that can prove a hindrance:

  • Regulatory Constraints: Adherence to regulations, especially for pharmaceuticals, is non-negotiable
  • Keyword Competition: Competitive life science industries can prove incredibly expensive and competitive
  • Technical Language Balance: Striking a balance between technical jargon and audience-friendly requires expertise that typically scientists would only appreciate

Despite the hurdles in implementing PPC, it is important to put time and effort into continually optimising your campaign for maximum success.

How to Determine If PPC Is Working For You

Determining the success of a life science PPC campaign goes beyond mere clicks or impressions. It’s about ensuring that those interactions lead to meaningful engagements and desired outcomes, keeping in mind the specificity and dynamism within the life science industry. When determining if your life science PPC campaign is successful or not, here are some important aspects to consider:

  1. Define Clear Objectives: Outline the goal(s) of your campaign and ensure everything you do is aimed at reaching and exceeding your goals
  2. ROI (Return on Investment): It goes without saying that you should be earning more than you spend, but maximising your ROI should always be the priority
  3. Click-Through Rate (CTR): A high CTR indicates that your ad is resonating well with its intended audience
  4. Conversion Rate: As well as a good CTR, your landing page should have a good conversion rate to goal completions
  5. Quality Score: Platforms like Google assign a quality score based on the relevance of your keywords, ad copy, and the quality of your landing page. A higher quality score often leads to lower costs per click and better ad positions
  6. Cost Per Conversion: Assessing the cost you incur for every conversion offers insights into the overall economic efficiency of your campaign
  7. Monitor Engagement Metrics: Metrics like average session duration, pages per session, and bounce rates can reveal if visitors are genuinely engaging with your content after clicking on an ad
  8. Competitive Analysis: Benchmarking against competitors can provide insights into how your campaigns fare against industry standards

If you haven’t already gathered from my repeated mentions already, it is crucial that you continually review your ads performance over time to maximise goal completions at a lower conversion cost.

Finding a Life Science Specialist to Guide You to PPC Success

In the world of life science marketing, ensuring that your campaigns stand out and resonate can be the difference between groundbreaking success and missed opportunities.

As an experienced life science digital marketing consultant, I work with life science companies to elevate digital campaigns that make an impact on your business. If you are looking to maximise the performance of your next life sciences PPC campaign, reach out to me to see how I can help.