How life science companies can make the most out of PPC

07 August 2015| by Craig Townsend

July has always been a particularly exciting month for me. Not because of the slight pause in grey British weather or the promise of an upcoming holiday, it’s because July is the time when agency researchers and statisticians around the world publish their half year PPC reports!

It’s no surprise to see insurance and professional services topping bid prices and impressions, as they have done for the past seven years (FYI you can now expect to pay £50 per click if you work in insurance and £45 if you’re a legal firm). What is surprising is the low cost and lack of competition surrounding the scientific tools market; a market where PPC has the potential to help companies generate a high number of high quality leads (well, if it’s planned strategically and carried out effectively).

What is PPC advertising?

PPC is a method of digital advertising where you pay to have your website favourably positioned on search engine results pages. Not only is your advertisement positioned in an area of high exposure, you only pay when customers click through to your website. This means that if you produce a highly targeted ad using compelling copy directly linked to what you’re offering, most of your clicks are likely to be from people genuinely interested in the product, service or content you’re promoting.

For example, let’s say you sell microscopes and you would like to promote your latest model. With PPC advertising, you create an advert that reads, ‘The most powerful microscope, with image resolution half the size of an atom’. You add some keywords (words you think people will search for if they’re interested in purchasing a new microscope) like, ‘microscope, resolution, buy, lens’ and within 24 hours an advertisement for your new microscope will be at the top of page one on Google. Each time someone clicks on your advert link, they arrive at your website on your microscopes product page. The product page will then need to convert that visitor in to a lead. As soon as the visitor lands on the product page, you pay Google a small fee – a fee for bringing an interested purchaser direct to your website. To better understand your audience you can use keyword analysis tools to gain this information (if you sell microscopes, what do people search for?). Below is a recent report on term matching when searching for microscopes:



Avg. monthly searches

electron microscope




transmission electron microscope


buy microscope


high resolution microscopes


microscope lens


microscope for electronics



PPC is the single fastest way to achieve global exposure overnight, particularly to a B2B audience. If you combine quality ad copy with strategic product landing pages, you can expect to see an influx of high quality prospects.


Why aren’t more people using PPC effectively?

PPC is a very simple method of generating large volumes of quality traffic to your website in a very short amount of time. So why is it that more business don’t appear to use PPC at all? As you can see from the second paragraph in this article, PPC can be expensive – really expensive – but that’s only the case if you don’t approach PPC in the right way.

In our previous example we were advertising microscopes and identified that a sales prospect would be searching for the terms ‘resolution’ and ‘buy’ amongst other key words. First of all, these two terms taken out of context have nothing to do with microscopes. When combined with the word ‘microscope’ as part of a phrase, it’s very likely a prospect will discover your ad and potentially become a warm lead. But if someone searched for ‘high resolution digital camera’ using two of the same keywords we have previously identified, you have just paid for a click from someone very unlikely to buy. This is where broad, exact matching and negative keywords come in to effect.

Suppose you’re selling a piece of lab equipment and there are a number of competitors running AdWord campaigns averaging £1.00 per click. If you sell your equipment for £1000, you only need to sell 1 in 1000 in order to break even on the ad. Let’s say the keyword for your equipment becomes more competitive and you don’t evolve your PPC campaign. Your ad now costs £50 per click (much like the current pricing in insurance), meaning you would have to sell to 1 of the 20 people clicking on your advertisement. This is why keyword analysis, constant monitoring and quality scoring is so important.

Finally, you have purchased an ad and used your keyword in order to find prospects. Your advert, ‘The best solution to your problem is product X’ is at the top of Google and your website looks appealing to a prospect. But after clicking on your advert, the prospect arrives on your home page where you sell thousands of different pieces of equipment, all at varying prices with various applications. Your prospect clicked through as your ad sold them on a particular product, but now they are overwhelmed with information and decide to hit the back button in their browser. This is why a dedicated landing page is a necessity.

 shutterstock_113117689Image: Vadim Georgiev/

PPC in the life science sector

Great PPC managers will explore keywords that competitors may have overlooked; terms that have a high search volume, but aren’t glaringly obvious. To prove a point, I decided to explore some keywords that felt pretty obvious to me in order to highlight how only a selection of organisations are embracing effective PPC advertising.

As an example, search Google for ‘glass labware’ and you’ll notice some ads for companies selling sample handling equipment (as you would expect). Let’s assume you’d now like to advertise your glass labware. After the Google search, you find 11 ads from 11 competitors, leading you to feel competition is rather high. However, this isn’t a true picture. Have a look at the following:














glass beaker




boiling flask




erlenmeyer flasks




laboratory glassware




lab glassware




chemistry glassware




lab bottles




volumetric flask




distilling flask




round bottom flask





This report was generated this morning. There are a number of terms: average monthly search numbers, competition (0 being no competition, 1 being high competition) and a suggested bid amount (how much on average you should pay for a click through).

For as little as £0.74 per click through, your products could be exposed to 8100 new customers every month. Combing effective ad copy with a great and suitable call to action to a relevant and specific landing page, you could then convert these new prospects into customers.

It’s worth noting that all of these terms are the highest cost keywords and we are only exploring the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to PPC, but hopefully this provides an indication to the sheer power of pay per click advertising.

The life science sector is embracing PPC and it’s a channel where companies that really focus their marketing efforts could dominate the market. Bid pricing is low on high scoring keywords across the sector, from diagnostics and lab equipment through to biotechnology and medical devices, meaning a low investment could be generating a high number of quality prospects.

To learn more about how we could help your company make the most out of PPC to capture high quality leads and boost sales, get in touch.

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