Here’s Why Your Pharma Clients Should Use Digital Ads

BY Kathy Crosett
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Pharmaceutical companies burned through $6.1 billion to reach consumers with ads about their latest drug developments in 2017. TV has long been the medium of choice for pharma companies. But, new research from DRG Digital | Manhattan Research shows that drug companies should give online ads a fresh look.

The research company looked at over 3,000 U.S. patients and the impact of advertising on the actions they took. Plenty of us check out the details about prescription drugs regularly. In fact, 61% of the patients in this study did so last year. Of that group, 34% went on to ask their health care professional to write a prescription for a specific drug. Twenty-​five percent of these folks said that a TV ad drove their action. Another 25% linked their action to online ads.

DRG Digital | Manhattan Research analysts also studied patient recall on the topic of DTC pharma ads over a 12-​month period. About 65% of patients in the study group remembered seeing pharma TV ads. About one in five, 22%, asked for a specific drug. At least 49% recalled encountering pharma ads online, and 42% of those folks asked for a specific drug.

Pharma companies have an additional opportunity to connect with potential patients. About 10% of patients who read tablets or smartphones while they wait in a doctor’s office notice pharma ads. Pharma companies could be using paid and organic search to drive their listings higher on search engine results pages. To learn more about Pharma Ad Responders, check out the profile on AudienceSCAN, available at AdMall from Salesfuel​.com.

According to Kantar Media data, DTC pharma TV advertising jumped 6.7% in 2017. Drug companies also bought 1.8% more advertising in newspapers in 2017, when compared to the previous year. Online ad spending actually dropped significantly. The 34% decrease from 2016 to 2017 meant the category only scored $343 million in ad money. Talk to your pharma clients about the effectiveness of online ads and encourage them to use search and to use online video to educate consumers.