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SSCG Media Group Study: The Rule of Three

Written by: | | Dated: Thursday, March 30th, 2017


SSCG Media Group Study Finds “Rule of Three” is Most Effective in Reaching Physicians with Pharma Advertising



NEW YORK, March 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — How can pharma advertisers best engage physicians? A leading pharma-focused media company went straight to the source to find out that the answer is the “Rule of Three.” 

Today, SSCG Media Group – the industry’s leading pharma-focused strategic media planning and agency network – revealed findings from its MAP MD survey of physicians regarding their preferences on advertising and other content they access each professional day.

A key finding, the Rule of Three, is that physicians require three views of a given pharma ad to ensure recall. Specifically, nearly half (47%) of physicians reported that after seeing a pharma ad an average of three times, they feel aware of the information. Further, after the third view of the same ad regardless of where it is seen, 37 percent would read some of the ad and 13 percent would read the full ad. It is important to keep in mind that it may take numerous exposures of an ad before a physician actually “views” the ad, validating the need for purchasing multiple impressions based on your brand’s digital media objectives.

“Physicians are driven to engage with information, whether on a dedicated site or advertising message, that will help deliver better outcomes for patients,” said Debbie Renner, President, SSCG Media Group. “As physicians have limited time in their professional day to seek important insights that can impact their clinical decisions, it’s crucial that we consider their distinct media preferences in order to maximize engagement and ultimately address their needs.”

The results further revealed numerous insights with respect to physician preferences regarding digital advertising and other content:

  • EHR Messaging – Of the 20 percent of physicians who are able to receive ads via their electronic health records (EHR) platform, nearly 60 percent are most satisfied with dosing information; nearly 45 percent with formulary information, coupons and vouchers; and nearly 40 percent with ads that provide clinical information and patient information/education tools.
  • Online Resources – The proliferation of digital resources has given physicians numerous options in finding professional information. Overall, 76 percent rely on between two and five healthcare sites on a given day for professionally relevant information. These core sites can vary each day by physician as the type of content they seek largely drives the site selection.
  • Topics – Nearly 75 percent of physicians are most likely to engage with condition specific or disease state content that appears on a healthcare site. News updates pique the interest of 55 percent, while nearly half engage with content that discusses product or prescribing information.
  • Messaging – When it comes to physicians’ expectations of pharma advertising message content, nearly 60 percent reported they are most likely to engage with an ad that discusses efficacy. Ads that discuss products with a new indication or are new to market are favored by 54 percent of physicians, while over 40 percent expressed high interest in ads focusing on new study data and dosing and titration.
  • Call to Action (Digital) – Eighty-five percent of physicians reported clicking on ads to see more information about a given product. “Learn More” is the most likely call to action (39%) that would result in a click, followed by “Find out More” (33%). “Click Here” was the least popular call to action with just under 15 percent.

Added Renner, while digital resources continue to increase, it’s important to keep in mind the factors that are most important to physicians from both content and messaging perspectives.  “As the results revealed, physicians have specific interests in content and messaging. Thus, the key to a successful campaign is dependent on providing physicians what they want, and where they want it, without over delivering.”

Additional insights around print journals, electronic health records, on demand resources such as podcasts and online video, virtual reality and social media are available in a full report entitled “The Rule of Three: Mapping Physician Engagement Through Message Content, Message Type and Message Frequency” based on findings from this survey, which is available upon request.

SSCG Media Group used its custom research offering, MAP MD, to survey and analyze results from approximately 2,100 physicians across 15 specialties, including cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology/oncology, orthopedic surgery, obstetrics & gynecology, ophthalmology, pain management, pediatrics, primary care, psychiatry, pulmonology, rheumatology and neurology. The survey was fielded online from December 2016 through January 2017. The survey questions were motivated by the need for a better understanding of site content and messaging preferences of physicians when receiving ads from pharmaceutical companies.

About SSCG Media Group
SSCG Media Group ( is the healthcare media center of excellence within Omnicom Health Group. With a network of four separate media agencies, managing more than 150 top pharmaceutical and medical device brands, SSCG is one of the industry’s largest multichannel media strategy, planning and buying agencies focusing exclusively on healthcare providers and their patients. MAP MD is SSCG Media Groups’ proprietary primary market research offering, providing the opportunity to gain deep insights around the preferences and motivations of health care professionals (HCPs) related to engaging with media and advertising messaging across channels. MAP MD gives clients direction and understanding around the mind-set of HCPs, thus helping to strategically achieve specific media objectives.

About Omnicom Health Group
Omnicom Health Group ( is a global collective of communications companies with more than 3,200 dedicated healthcare communications specialists. It provides marketing services to the health and life-science industries through a combination of specialized agencies, customized client solutions and collaborations with other Omnicom network agencies. Organized around four customer groups—healthcare professionals; patients; payers; and medical, evidence and regulatory stakeholders—Omnicom Health Group serves more than 100 clients in over 55 offices worldwide.


SOURCE Omnicom Health Group


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