The last decade has seen a huge sea change in the way marketers can reach niche audiences effectively and efficiently. That’s especially true for biotechnology companies, who in the past had to rely on narrow channels like trade publications and medical society-association media to reach scientists and researchers. Media choices were expensive and limited, turning marketing into a constant challenge.

That’s no longer the case. The evolution of programmatic digital media has removed the channel barrier, bringing about new opportunities to connect with niche audiences and promote your brand.

Today’s programmatic media looks nothing like the old days of banner ads, bought directly from the websites on which they were served. Instead, it switches the focus to an audience-first approach. Online and offline audience data allows ads to be delivered across multiple screens and platforms including display, search engines, video, and social media. Meanwhile, comprehensive campaigns can cross-desktop, mobile, tablet, and even smart TV channels. There’s a reason that according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, 86% of all digital ad spending in 2021 is programmatic.

The opportunities are there to build a new, more strategic biotech marketing effort. With an understanding of their characteristics, lifestyles, attitudes, and behaviors, you can more successfully reach even the most niche audience.

Know Your Audience: Scientists and Researchers

Programmatic advertising depends on knowing exactly who your audience is, and how to connect with them. I’ve pulled data from the GlobalWebIndex to make that definition easier, allowing you to fully leverage the power of modern digital advertising.


Researchers and scientists are evenly split between male (49.8%) and female (50.2%), with almost 30% between the ages of 25 and 34. They’re also highly educated:

  • Just under half hold 4-year university degrees.
  • 41.3% hold a postgraduate degree, making this audience 2.64 times more likely to hold a postgraduate degree than the average adult.

On average, expect a household income between $85,000 and $200,000 a year. The split between married (42%) and single (42%) members of this audience is almost identical, but 68.4% do not currently have children.

Diversity, of course, is another important demographic consideration. Here, 71% of scientists and researchers are white, making this audience less diverse than the average American adult. At the same time, this group is 2.53 times more likely to be Asian than the average adult.

Attitudes and Personal Interests

Demographics are only the beginning. Personal interests and preferences are your second step to narrow down the audience, creating a marketing strategy specifically designed to appeal to this audience.

Generally speaking, this audience describes itself as open-minded (63%) and confident (53%). That might be part of the reason why they’re likely to research products online before making a purchase, and 1.31 times more likely to look for expert opinions before buying expensive products.

Socially, this is a group that strongly believes all people should have equal rights, and 70% claim they always try to recycle rather than producing waste. Naturally, they’re highly interested in science, but 64% have also taken a liking to cook, while many of them enjoy museums and art galleries.

Media Consumption Habits

The final piece in the audience segmentation puzzle is just how they consume the messages you’re looking to get in front of them. Let’s start with their typical device ownership:

  • Almost all of this audience owns a smartphone (92.5%) and a PC or laptop (82.4%).
  • Researchers and scientists are 1.38x more likely to own a smart home product than the average adult.

On average, they use their preferred devices for more than 4 hours and 25 minutes every day, making the internet their preferred activity on an average day. They also love streaming media:

  • 79.8% engage with Netflix
  • 48.7% use Amazon Prime Video
  • 39.5% use Hulu
  • They’re 2.45 times more likely to engage with NFL League Pass than the average adult.
  • They’re 1.97 times more likely to engage with Vimeo.
  • Half of them do not pay for a traditional TV subscription, and they’re 1.24 times more likely to be either cord cutters or cord-nevers.

Meanwhile, more than three-quarters of this audience uses the internet to find information or research how to complete tasks. They’re also 1.67 times more likely to use the internet for business-related networking than the average adult, and 1.66 times more likely to use it for business-related research.

Finally, the audience’s demographics also reflect its social media habits. Facebook is the favorite platform for a quarter of scientists and researchers, while 27.6% engage with LinkedIn and 12.1% engage with Pinterest on a daily basis.

Don’t be afraid to branch out, though. This audience is 12.19 more likely to claim that their favorite platform is the video chat platform Houseparty, and 2.19 times more likely to favor WhatsApp.

While more than 64% use social media to keep in touch with friends, they’re also 2.04 times more likely to use it for work-related networking and research than the average adult. In fact, exactly one-third follows companies and brands they purchase from directly.

How to Reach Researchers and Scientists Given This Audience’s Digital Profile

A close look at all the above information reveals one thing: researchers and scientists are not only a niche audience, but mass marketing and broad-reach medium will never catch their eye. Constantly bombarded with similar products and services, they will pay attention only through marketing messages that effectively cut through the noise and meets them where they spend their time.

Fortunately, there’s a natural solution that leverages modern targeting mechanisms. Developing an audience-first plan is a key first step to ensure that your message gets in front of these affluent, career-focused individuals.

 A few central steps can help you build that plan:

  1. Use Cross-Device Display ads to reach your audience on the devices they use every day: PCs and mobile/tablet devices. Online Video ads can accomplish the same thing.
  2. Leverage third-party behavioral data segments to target users in the biomedical industry across both display and video channels. That way, your message can easily reach the right users who you know to be in the target audience, avoiding any impression and budget waste. Some sample pre-built segments in the biomedical industry include:
    1. B2B > Occupation > Scientists
    2. HCP > Allied Health Practitioners > Allied Health Practitioners > Clinical Lab Scientists
    3. Demographics > Employment > Job Function > Scientists & Researchers
  3. Contextually target your audience segments on endemic websites and trade publications, such as GenomeWeb Daily News, Nature Biotechnology, Research Gate (just to name a few). 
  4. Use data stacking to reach your niche audience, ensuring all boxes are checked for your brand’s target audience. For example, you can target someone who is working in the biotech industry and is a lab technician and works at company X, Y, or Z. Test your stacking frequently, though, to make sure you still get enough impressions to effectively scale the campaign.
  5. Clean up and optimize first-party data from your website, CRM, subscriptions, mobile apps, etc. to help any personalization efforts down the road. By tapping into this premium data, you can better understand who is interacting with your brand, running more effective and efficient advertising campaigns especially as we near a cookie-less future.
  6. Prioritize Facebook as this audience’s social media network of choice to be one of your major marketing channels.
  7. Develop an effective paid search strategy to ensure that your brand will appear when they use search engines to research and make business purchasing decisions.

Combined, these steps can become the outline of a marketing strategy that maximizes your budget and effectively reaches even the most niche audience.

Ready to Optimize Your Digital Marketing Strategy?

It’s an exciting time to be a biotechnology marketer. The options to reach and engage your key stakeholders and niche audience seem endless, as long as you know where to look.

Of course, especially if you’re new to the concept, programmatic media can be intimidating with its sea of changing acronyms and new information. Dedicate some time to research and find a trusted partner, who can educate and help you incorporate programmatic media into your digital marketing strategy. If I can be of assistance in helping you navigate the programmatic marketing waters, please don’t hesitate to contact me.