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Medical Journal Application Media

Intouch Team

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Medical journals have long been the key resource for healthcare professionals (HCPs) to acquire the most up-to-date clinical information. While HCPs still regard medical journals as a top informational source, the overall percentage of medical professionals utilizing digital versions of these resources has increased substantially with the adoption of mobile devices.

It is has been standard practice for HCP-focused media campaigns to leverage traditional journals. However, as the landscape has shifted with the rise in mobile usage, so must an advertiser’s approach. Journal applications are coming of age, and they provide an excellent opportunity to reach this target audience, as long as the approach is customized to the mobile medium.


Physicians view journals as their most important source of professional information. This means they are accessing them frequently and place a high value on their content. Currently, among surveyed physicians, online and print professional journals were ranked as the top influential sources used to inform clinical decisions by 72 percent and 78 percent of physicians, respectively. Digital journals continue to grow in importance, with an increase in physician usage of 25 percent since 2010.1

Physicians’ usage of mobile device applications has steadily increased over the past few years, with 78 percent of physicians utilizing smartphones for professional purposes and 51 percent utilizing tablets (see tables below). More than one in four physicians use a tablet when reading medical publications.2

1Manhattan Research. Taking the Pulse® 2013.
2Kantar Media Sources & Interactions. September 2013 Medical/Surgical Edition.


According to Manhattan Research’s Taking the Pulse® 2013, half of physicians indicated they use digital journal content in between patient consultations, usually for periods spanning 5-10 minutes. The majority of physicians are spending an average 1.7 hours each day accessing digital resources for professional purposes.

The increase in device adoption, coupled with the high professional value doctors place on medical journals, provides an opportunity to engage this audience using a multimedia approach.


To be clear, digital journal ads should not be approached in the same way as print, nor are they simply an opportunity for traditional branded “reminder” banner ads. The true opportunity lies in developing a strong, customized creative execution and providing embedded supplemental content, such as videos, demonstrations and article ePrints. The goal is to put information in front of physicians that they will see as valuable.

Another key consideration is how to invite interaction with the content. When planning for a journal app campaign, the question needs to be: “How do we get users to engage with our information?” Assets should look interactive, with a clean user experience and clear calls-to-action. Taking advantage of digital journal apps offers exciting new ways for marketers to engage the HCP audience and offer interactive messaging opportunities that are not feasible in print or standard banner ads.

This digital opportunity should not be viewed as a replacement for a strong print campaign, but rather as a complementary media vehicle to promote engagement and awareness. Print placements still have their place as part of a wholistic media campaign and can be leveraged to reach HCPs via standard journals. And while print does not allow for the immediate engagement of interacting with an ad, viewing an embedded video or downloading a form, it can still drive users toward this same valuable content online by providing a unique, campaign-specific URL. Digital and print are often included in the same flat cost or at a discounted rate when run together, making this making this a very viable and cost-effective strategy.


Pharmaceutical advertisers should utilize digital journal advertising as part of a larger, cohesive media strategy in order to provide physicians with meaningful content. Journal app placements should be viewed as a resource tool for the audience, not an opportunity to bombard them with one-way branded promotional advertising. Digital journals can complement the larger media plan by reinforcing brand messaging across media channels, in addition to encouraging HCP engagement with key branded content, such as MOA videos, whitepapers, clinical data and product demonstrations. This is an incredibly strong opportunity to drive physician engagement throughout the business day and between patient visits.



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