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Top 5 Takeaways for Life Sciences Digital Engagement Benchmarks

female doctor

The breakneck shift to a digital-first world has transformed the way life sciences companies engage and educate HCPs, patients and distributors. To keep pace with the evolving needs of audiences and stay ahead of the competition, many pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies are refining their digital outreach and engagement strategies.

But how can life sciences professionals best support these initiatives and connect with busy HCPs? The first step for any professional is to extend reach and scale their digital marketing footprint through engaging experiences that connect with audiences and drive results.

ON24 Life Sciences Benchmarks Report, 2023

To help life sciences marketers understand, plan and optimize their digital efforts, ON24 produced the 2023 Life Sciences Digital Engagement Benchmarks. Here are the top five takeaways to keep in mind:

1. HCP engagement is intensifying, driving meaningful interactions

Woman looking at laptop.

The life sciences industry saw a 26% increase in webinar engagement in 2022, higher than any other industry. This suggests that HCPs, patients and distributors actively seek out and engage with digital content.

Engagement per attendee intensified throughout the year as companies deployed more interactive webinar experiences. In the fourth quarter of 2022, HCP engagement during webinars increased by 30% compared to the average in Q1 and Q3, which was consistent quarter-over-quarter.

The key point for life sciences marketers producing webinars and digital experiences? The more opportunities you give audiences to interact with your brand, the more engagement you’ll drive.

2. HCPs want to engage and self-educate on their schedule


In 2022, life sciences audiences consumed more on-demand webinar content than in any other industry. According to our report, 68% webinar audiences attend on-demand, 51% attend live and 19% attend both live and on-demand events.

There is a good reason for this trend. Pharmaceutical and medical device content is dense and complex, and HCPs need to consume, digest and revisit content as often as needed. This appetite for “always-on” content presents a unique opportunity for life sciences companies to drive further interactions with HCPs by offering on-demand experiences.

3. HCPs are consuming different types of digital content

People at laptop

Traditional digital experiences can engage hundreds of HCPs at a time with one-to-many experiences. Every audience has a unique set of needs, and there is no “one size fits all” experience.

Life sciences companies are no exception to this rule, and many organizations are integrating new and unique digital experience types and formats into the mix. These include live webinars, which made up 57% of digital experiences in 2022, on-demand webinars (17%) and simulive webinars (26%).

Virtual breakout sessions, which allow for one-to-few or one-to-one engagement and face-to-face discussion, proved to be one of the most prevalent and fastest-growing experience types, with a 93% increase in breakout rooms delivered year-over-year. This trend indicates an industry shift toward more personalized online interactions that capture deeper insights into the unique needs and preferences of each target audience, from HCP to distributor to patient.

4. HCPs are registering for experiences earlier


In 2020 and 2021, 20% of webinar registration occurred on the day of the live event. In 2022, that number decreased to 9%, with the majority of audiences (41%) registering one to seven days in advance and 29% registering up to 15 days before the live event date.

Longer promotional cycles give marketers a unique opportunity to deliver integrated promotional mixes over a three-week (or longer) timeframe. Take advantage of the time between registration and the live event date by empowering sales teams to connect and engage prospects before the event.

5. Patients and HCPs are spending more time on self-guided education

person listening to webinar

The ability for HCPs to actively seek out and engage with educational content digitally presents an incredible opportunity for pharma and life sciences brands. With educational content, organizations can become a trusted resource for timely information and CME certifications among key audiences.

In fact, in 2022 alone, there was a 151% increase in continuing education certifications per webinar attendee year-over-year.

Engaging HCPs as a strategy is essential

ON24 Life Sciences Benchmarks Report, 2023

Analysis of digital engagement throughout 2022 proves there has been a permanent shift in how audiences expect to interact with life sciences brands — in short, they now expect more. HCPs, patients and distributors want experiences that are engaging and interactive, available anytime and anywhere, and ultimately provide an opportunity for a human conversation.

By ensuring your engagement strategy is ready for today’s digital-first audience, you can be ready for growth in 2023. Check out the 2023 Life Sciences Benchmarks webinar and report on this topic to learn more about these benchmarks!