Life science market research can be a tricky, and often expensive, endeavor. You need to find a suitable population that meets your study requirements, recruit individuals to actually participate in the study, and building the survey. You have to worry about introducing bias, sufficiently powering your study, ensuring your population is representative, and many other factors. However, there is one tool that can, in many situations, make your research easier, faster, and cheaper: AdWords.
Yes, that AdWords. Pay-per-click Google Adwords.
AdWords has many desirable qualities that one would want in a market research platform. It has a huge audience, and our in-house research has shown that it is overwhelmingly the search engine of choice within the life sciences. Google is used by a billion unique individuals every month. The audience is easy to segregate (albeit in limited ways: by keyword or by geography). It’s easy to reduce both population bias and question bias. With market research via AdWords, you often don’t have to even ask a question – the question is implicit rather than explicit since the unwilling participants are looking for information, products, services, or content. While you’ll be limited by language, in most places English is the language of science and users select themselves by using relevant keywords.
That said, AdWords is obviously not designed for market research and its capabilities as a life science market research platform are understandably limited. You only get to “ask” each participant a single question. The types of information you can gather are relatively limited. You can’t segregate the audience by job title or other useful demographic information.
Still, you can get insights on a surprising amount of questions. For example, the following information can often be reasonably obtained using AdWords:
• The relative popularity of a basket of products or brands
• Which prospective name for a new product would be better
• What method are researchers using more often
• What nations are most frequently using a particular method or type of product
• An attractive price for a particular laboratory product
• A fair deal more…
Note that some of the above information would require the use of Google Analytics (or similar) in conjunction with AdWords.
While not a fully capable replacement for traditional market research studies, a lot can be done with Google AdWords for as little as $0.10 per participant ($0.10 is the minimum cost-per-click in AdWords). Next time you’re looking for market data, especially if the data you’re looking for isn’t terribly complex, you may be able to save your life science company a lot of time and money by turning to the reliable old pay-per-click advertising platform.