A similar percentage of pharma marketers in the U.S. and China spent more than 20% of their marketing budgets — 31% and 33% — on digital in 2016, according to a new survey.

In the U.S., marketers said social media, mobile apps, and detailing — both online and in-person — were their preferred ways to engage healthcare providers. In China, they also preferred using mobile apps and social media but favored webinars hosted by key opinion leaders over detailing.

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Healthcare technology company Indegene polled 104 pharma marketers on their marketing habits, among them 42% from the U.S., 25% from Asia-Pacific countries, 15% from the E.U., and 18% from China. The study was conducted from August to October of this year. 

All surveyed marketers said that KOL webinars, brand promotional emails, and online and in-person detailing offered the best return-on-investment for their marketing dollars. And for every $100 spent in their digital marketing budgets, they spent $17 each on brand promotional emails and KOL webinars and $15 on content portals for healthcare providers. In terms of the channels they preferred to use to reach healthcare providers — but didn’t necessarily offer the best ROI — marketers ranked brand promotional emails, KOL webinars, and HCP portals as the top three ways to engage providers.

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The surveyed marketers said they expect social media and mobile apps to overtake branded emails and detailing as their preferred ways of engaging providers by 2018.