Mobile ads rank low in physician recall study

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Mobile isn't just the new normal but a platform where doctors are connecting with—and remembering—ads, according to a 2013 study by communications firm CMI/Compas. Its June Media Vitals study was a first for the media-buying-and-planning agency, exploring how physicians engage with information and when.

In addition to covering physicians' now-familiar multi-screen user habits, CMI found that around 30% of polled doctors said they were aware of ads on their mobile devices. Mobile-ad recall still ranks low among the six specialties polled—cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, general/family practice, oncology and psychiatry—but CMI says mobile recognition is climbing with what it calls a “mid minority.” Print medical journals and direct mail are the top-two ad recall/awareness platforms.

Desktops remain a vital resource, and researchers found that the number of screens doctors look at for professional purposes varies with their specialties, with 68% and 57% of polled cardiologists and gastroenterologists, respectively, saying they look at three or more screens for work. Fifty-nine percent of polled oncologist were also at the three-plus screen level, whereas GPs and psychiatrists came in at 49% and 47%, respectively. When it comes to personal use, utilization levels are different, with the majority of all polled specialists saying they used three or more devices on their downtime.

For those wondering whether to overhaul their outreach to include all platforms, CMI's findings indicate it depends on what information is going to be conveyed. For example, researchers found that all specialists used their smartphones an average of eight times a day. While tablets lag, CMI notes that it's not because docs don't like tablets but that the content isn't being used as much because the devices aren't as ubiquitous and the information that is scaled for the mid-size screen is lacking.

Data also suggest that medical and professional sites should be designed to go beyond the desktop: 51% of gastroenterologists said they used their phones to visit these websites, while 50% of cardiologists and endocrinologists looked to these sources on their phones.

Professionals' behavior with phones and tablets wasn't limited to these activities. A sampling of their mobile habits also included: checking formulary status, patient education, e-prescribing, calculating prescription dosing, entering clinical notes, communicating with patients and monitoring patients.

For more data on doctors' multi-screen behavior, see MM&M's 2013 Mobile Guide.

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