Leading pharma company personalizes the search experience for site visitors
At a glance
143% increase in search results page engagement
38% decrease in bounce rate
32% increase in pageviews
A long tradition of innovation
With a long-standing tradition of scientific and medical innovation that started more than 200 years ago, this multinational pharmaceutical giant has been at the forefront of breakthroughs in cancer care, heart disease and the fight against inflammatory conditions over the past few decades. Central to the company’s success is its commitment to putting patients first and challenging the status quo.
Today, this global pharmaceutical leader continues to reimagine medicine with data and digital technology, exploring new ways to not only accelerate drug development but also enable innovation to reach patients more broadly and faster. So, when the company’s digital team saw an opportunity to enhance speed to market through digital experimentation, they took it without hesitation.
Enabling personalization and experimentation in pharma
This pharma company was looking for new ways to build trust not only with patients who are looking for a remedy to diseases they may be suffering from, but also with healthcare professionals (HCPs) who are looking for better ways to treat their patients.
To achieve this, the company’s digital team set out to improve their website user experience to provide more relevant, timely and personalized content. However, with the highly regulated nature of the pharmaceutical industry, which added to the complexity of balancing personalization and data privacy, the team knew that finding the right tools – and partners – was critical for success.
“We have to find a very smart way to understand the behaviors of our doctors and patients using a tool like Quantum Metric,” said the company’s Director of Customer Profiles, “and then also to deliver a more tailored, personalized experience to those doctors and patients using a tool like Optimizely.”
By gaining a more comprehensive understanding of customer behaviors and experiences, the team could then glean meaningful insights to enable smarter decision-making and faster innovation while meeting heightened expectations for easy access to information.
From raw data to deeper, continuous customer insights
To build the right technology foundation for its experimentation program, the company integrated its data stack with the Optimizely and Quantum Metric platforms to create a continuous flow of insights from various data sources.
This new and enhanced technology stack transformed the way the digital team worked with data. The combination of Quantum Metric and Optimizely enabled them to quickly discover and quantify performance improvement opportunities and act right away, which in turn also led to significant efficiency gains.
"A big win for us here is to be able to automate a lot of what's happening that would have probably been done manually by data teams and IT teams,” said the Director of Customer Profiles. “But now that we're using something like Optimizely, it allows us to plug that data in real time to our CDP, and then be able to leverage that with Optimizely in real time. The synergy between Optimizely and Quantum Metric enables us to shorten the time it takes to iterate and understand how customers react to new enhancements.”
Introducing a culture of learning
Armed with in-depth behavioral insights from Quantum Metric, the team started delivering basic personalization to improve website user experiences using Optimizely, such as offering tailored responses to users coming from search engines and adjusting website copy for returning visitors.
When the team initially launched their experimentation program, they experienced some pushback on the adoption of this practice. According to the Director of Customer Profiles, much of the organization was pretty rigid in the way it was operating at the time, although there were certain teams that had the flexibility to innovate.
“I think those are the teams that can prove success and then bring it to the rest of the organization,” said the Director. “We've done that with the couple of pilots that we've done here with Quantum Metric and Optimizely – and it gets people excited.”
The team also rose to the challenge of increasing buy-in by sharing key learnings and results from their experiments with the wider organization using Quantum Metric’s session replay.
“To me, this alone is probably why I always deployed Quantum Metric and Optimizely together,” the Director shared. "If I'm deploying an experiment, I can always show a video replay of what happened with that experiment. That video replay, I think, speaks volumes to leadership and teams internally on what is actually happening on the website.”
Optimizing the search experience for site visitors
One of the most impactful pilots the team has conducted was the Search Expansion experiment they ran for the website of one of the company’s brands.
In the original version of the website, the search function was a simple magnifying glass icon that was not particularly noticeable on the homepage across devices. The team hypothesized that by expanding the search bar to make it more visible, they can encourage HCPs visiting the website to engage with the search function to find the information they need.
So, they added a bit of color and a CTA in the variation and targeted it at visitors coming in from search engines, which indicates a highly engaged user.
When the results came in, the impact of this minor design change turned out to be much greater than expected.
Dropping bounce rate by almost 40%
Just as hypothesized, the team saw major improvements in search bar engagement, which increased by 67%. Additionally, engagement with the search results page rose by 143% – and this was also thanks to the personalized responses enabled by Optimizely.
Through the experiment, the website’s overall user retention improved dramatically with a 38% decrease in bounce rate.
“With something as simple as catering to your search audience, which isn’t focused on one-to-one personalization because we don't have a login on the site – we just know that those are doctors coming in from search – we were able to drop bounce rate 40%,” said the Director.
The team has since added the Search Expansion experiment to their experimentation library, so that any other brand of the company that moves forward with experimentation can start winning right off the bat. In fact, this experiment has already been launched on three other brands and has proved just as successful.
Continuing the path to digital excellence
Experimentation has enabled this leading pharma company to move ahead digitally and deliver highly relevant user experiences and content. The team now looks to increase testing velocity and momentum by scaling and operationalizing experimentation across the organization.
“We're pretty in the beginning stages of experimentation, but we want to be able to move probably a little bit quicker like some other industries are moving, and I think we will get there,” said the Director. "The quicker we learn, the quicker we can execute on some newer plans, so trying to get speed and momentum, I think, is ultimately important. And it just depends on your industry, how fast you're going to get there.”
Manufacturing and distribution
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