use Contextual Advertising to successfully establish themselves as leaders in the CUT&RUN space
September 26, 2023 use Contextual Advertising to successfully establish themselves as leaders in the CUT&RUN space

Launching a new scientific product in a space already dominated by an established solution is a great challenge. Find out how our client succeeded in this task by utilizing a combination of digital channels and leveraging our Contextual Advertising.

Situation launched CUT&RUN Product Sets shortly after the CUT&RUN method was first developed and published in 2017 by the Henikoff Lab.   

The short-term objective of was to sell 50 CUT&RUN Product Sets to relevant scientists within 4 months post-launch. The team opted to achieve this goal exclusively through digital channels.   


"When we introduced CUT&RUN Product Sets, the method was still fairly unknown. Our task was to familiarize scientists who used the well-established ChIP-seq method with this novel approach. We knew that in order to convince them to try CUT&RUN, we needed to build a solid awareness campaign and support it with valuable educational content. It proved to be a winning strategy for new scientific products that challenge established ones."  

Tim Hiddemann, Co-Founder of  


From a marketing perspective, the unfamiliarity surrounding the CUT&RUN method resulted in very little relevant search engine traffic. It was clear that relying solely on SEO and SEA strategies would not generate the aimed number of transactions.  

The team needed another channel to build awareness. Knowing that their targeted scientific audiences spend considerable time online reading scientific publications, they decided to run digital ads displayed alongside the peer-reviewed content.    

The goals and tactics were clear, but to achieve the goals within the defined budget, the team had to make sure that their display ad campaign would be as efficient as possible, delivering a high campaign ROI. In practice, this meant that   

  1. The campaign should reach as many relevant scientists as possible,   
  2. The communication should be designed to attract and convince scientists,  
  3. The educational content should be valuable to scientists,  
  4. Each step of the campaign should provide superb UX,   
  5. SEO and SEA should be in place to further capture the results of increased awareness  


Importance of Targeting in Digital Channels: Reach vs. Relevance 

The first step to maximize the campaign's ROI was the choice of the display ad campaign setup. The team decided to leverage the Contextual Advertising service offered by PubGrade.   

With our large life science publisher network, the team was able to run display ad campaigns across journals and publishers. This allowed them to maximize ad reach and boost awareness.   

However, the reach itself would have had little success if the ads were displayed alongside unrelated publications due to a broad, non-customized targeting.   

“The team was introducing to the market a new, revolutionizing product. Our scientific team at PubGrade carefully analyzed the market and how the CUT&RUN Product Sets address pain points in the previous workflows. Scientists who experienced these pain points were the ones who would clearly benefit from the new product and so they were the ideal audience we wanted to reach with the ads. We identified the common applications where these scientists used the older method. With this, we then defined the subset of publications that they were reading and made sure that the CUT&RUN ads were shown next to this content.”   

Lars Prange, Head of Operations at PubGrade  


The CUT&RUN method allows working with lower cell counts compared to ChIP-Seq. Therefore, scientists who struggle with small input sample, for example, in transcription factor and chromatin profiling, are evident beneficiaries of the new product. Our team made sure that content read by these scientists was targeted with the CUT&RUN ads.   

 Thanks to our Contextual Advertising service, the team benefited from the largest reach combined with meticulous targeting and could be sure that the campaign would create awareness about the new product among the maximum number of potential ideal customers.    

 "PubGrade's Contextual Advertising played a crucial role as the first step of our prospective customers' buyer journey. We knew that the targeted approach in the right scientific context and the ability to advertise across publishers would give us the best possible results."  

Tim Hiddemann, Co-Founder of  


The anatomy of winning display ads 

In addition to reach and relevance, another key factor in the campaign's success was the ad design. All ads featured a straightforward headline: "CUT&RUN: better than ChIP Seq", accompanied by a graph that directly compared the outcomes of both techniques, supporting the claim. Citing the source of this visual added credibility, so important when persuading scientists. The ads also contained other best practice elements, such as Call-to-Action buttons encouraging the scientists to learn more.  


With PubGrade’s Campaign Monitoring, the team was able to effectively monitor the performance of the ads, A/B test them, and optimize the content and designs accordingly. The real-time monitoring of campaigns and the ability to export PDF/PPT/xls reports at any moment are standard services that our Contextual Advertising customers benefit from.  

"Campaigns like this work best when you continuously monitor and improve them. You have to be ready to run extensive A/B testing and check how the changes influence CTR. Campaign Monitoring gave us a transparent and reliable overview of all the information we needed to optimize our ads." 

Tim Hiddemann, Co-Founder of 

Landing pages that convert 

Scientists who clicked an ad landed on a customized page that matched and reinforced the messaging of the ad. Here, upon leaving their email address, they could download the CUT&RUN Handbook, an educational piece that contained a comprehensive protocol, tips and tricks, and FAQs around this novel method. With this approach, the team broadened their awareness campaign with a lead generation campaign.  

The winning combination: display ads + SEO + SEA 

Intrigued by the headline and data shown in the ads and on the landing page, some scientists searched the CUT&RUN term in Google. The team made sure to position the company high in the results, both for paid and unpaid (dedicated SEO landing page) traffic. In this way, they complemented and further strengthened the awareness about CUT&RUN.  


Displaying the ads next to the relevant publications generated awareness of the CUT&RUN Product Sets in a very short time. Already after 2.5 months, the campaign generated more than 320 highly relevant leads. The team achieved their short-term objective and sold 50 CUT&RUN Product Sets to relevant scientists within 4 months after the launch.  

"We take a lot of pride in the setup of this campaign. With it, we jumped onto the growth curve very early on and established ourselves as a recognized leader in the CUT&RUN space. Over the following years, we've observed a healthy two-digit percent growth for this product range." 

Tim Hiddemann, Co-Founder of 

 “The team did a fantastic job in thinking through and laying out the complete campaign. We really enjoyed seeing our solutions elegantly implemented in the campaign design and how they benefited the other elements and tactics. It's not easy to enter a scientific market with a new product and challenge an established technique. The team succeeded because they knew how to build awareness using best practices and state-of-the-art tools.” 

Philipp Eckerle, Managing Director and Co-Founder at PubGrade