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Five top tips for pharma webinars

1. Make the most of tools available to engage and understand your audience

A recent benchmarking report on webinars for the life sciences makes for interesting reading. Not least around the use of engagement tools. While 77% of life sciences webinars offered attendees a Q&A session, only 53% offered resources for download. What’s more, surveys were a part of just 25% of these webinars. Polling was used just 23% of the time. It’s a missed opportunity, because these tools can help you to find out more about the interests of your audience and better understand them. In turn, you can develop a more personalized approach to the content you deliver in your own pharma webinars. 

By using polling, you can gain a quick insight into some aspect of your audience. You could ask at the start of a webinar why they are attending and what in particular they are hoping to learn or gain from doing so. You could also ask short multiple-choice questions. These could enable you to discover views of a particular drug, therapy or device. As long as presenters are comfortable thinking on their feet, the results can be shared with the audience right there during the webinar. Acknowledging the audience’s familiarity or otherwise with the subject matter and picking out other key poll findings will help to engage those who are watching remotely on a screen.

2. Offer resources for download

The report also noted that only 53% of webinars offered resources for download. We can contrast that with the 72% of healthcare professionals (HCPs) reported in an Ashfield report (The Science of Healthcare Professional Meetings) saying they expect such materials to be available. Worse still, 54% said they failed to even properly access to such presentations or other content. Organizers may face a challenge in unilaterally providing materials for all guests, but offering appropriate material for download during your pharma webinar is a great opportunity.

As noted above, it can help you meet audience expectations. But beyond that, offering downloads, you can easily track what is downloaded and by which attendees. This allows you to gauge your HCP audience’s engagement and give you actionable insights into specific areas of interest.

3. Deliver your webinar both live and on-demand

Of the total views for webinars the average percentage of ‘live’ views was only 59%, according the report. By contrast, ‘on-demand’ views accounted for 36% of the total. Clearly, if you only ever deliver a live version of your webinar to those registered who can attend at the exact time you dictate, you are missing out on a huge uplift of potential viewers.

Make sure you provide on-demand versions of your pharma webinars – it’s quick and easy to do and can hugely increase your ROI.

4. Repackage your pharma webinars for on-demand viewing

The report notes that the average viewing time for a live webinar as 63 minutes but for on-demand it drops to only 32 minutes. This is some five minutes less (for both live and on-demand) than the average across all industries. It seems life sciences audiences have less time – less willing or less able – to dedicate to watching online content.

Of course, any pharma webinars you run should not be any longer than they need be. However, interesting Q&As sessions, or extended discussions may mean it runs a little longer than initially planned. As such, you may benefit from creating an edited version for on-demand viewing. Based on the above, the optimal length would appear to be no more than 30 minutes.

When you create any edited version, you may well need to get it reviewed for compliance. You must ensure you include all necessary information and present it clearly. One technique that can help is to create ‘chapter’ slides to separate different parts of the on-demand content. This will enable on-demand viewers to move between the chapters to view the most relevant parts of the content. You may also wish to create short ‘bite size’ pieces of content to put on your website, in emails, or social media, to tempt people to watch your on-demand recording or to promote your next event.

5. Extend your reach using ‘as-live’ events and additional languages

If you have an important guest presenter for your webinar, you may only have limited access to their time – and they may not be able to present multiple times across time-zones, or repeat webinars. One way to extend the reach is to record the presentation and play it back ‘as-live’ at your choice of alternative dates and times for other audiences. In this way, your important presenter – or other experts – may be able to simply attend for a Q&A session at the end. Of course, you will need to check that your content is valid and compliant for all the territories you pan to reach. The advantage of this is that you will not only save time but also make cost efficiencies in producing only one live webcast recording.

You can also use simultaneous translation services to deliver the webinar live in additional languages. If well-briefed, particularly over specialist or niche terms, you will find specialist interpreters are able to do this.  Share marketing assets and content with colleagues in other countries to increase the reach of your event and in due course, to increase the number of touch points with your target HCPs. On-demand recordings can even offer a choice of subtitles in different languages.

About the author

Melodie Hindmarch has over 20 years’ experience in technology marketing and communications with leading technology brands including Apple, Adobe, Dell and Microsoft as well as several niche players. With varied global and EMEA roles involving product development through to the creation and execution of marketing and communication strategies and campaigns, Melodie thrives working with teams around the world in the fast moving technology sector. Melodie has looked after product marketing for Digital Events at the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd. (formerly Arkadin Cloud Communications) for the past 4 years and is passionate about how digital technology and data insight can help to drive engagement with audiences and collaboration with colleagues.

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