We know that TV advertising is great at generating brand awareness. Hey, not for nothing did pharmas spend over $3.6 billion last year on TV.
However, many brands are hurting themselves by shorting spending on digital interventions further down the funnel, at the crucial juncture of awareness and activation. According to DRG’s ePharma Consumer® 2015 study, three in five TV viewers would go online to seek further info after seeing a TV ad for a prescription drug that’s relevant to their health. This online research serves as a bridge between initial awareness and discussion with a prescriber. It’s a phase in which consumers are actively educating themselves, gathering the info they need to make health-related decisions. Two-thirds of U.S. consumers agree that information they read online influences their medication choices.
Consumers utilize a number of online resources in making medication decisions, but this research typically begins with a search engine, making a strong search engine optimization strategy essential for brands. As half of search engine users say they have clicked on ad search results in the past 12 months, investing in paid search is also important, lest other brands reap the benefits of your TV advertising dollars.
To see how this reflects on a specific TV campaign, we tested the digital impact generated by the Jublia campaign that aired during the Super Bowl last February. Search results and brand.com hits tell the tale of DTC TV campaign effectiveness – site visits and search volumes for both brand and therapeutic category jumped significantly after the ad aired (though awareness isn’t always enough – critics tut-tutted and the drug’s price weighed down script lift). Delivering consumers to your brand’s website can pay off – consumers who use pharma websites are nearly four times as likely to request a branded drug by name from their physician.
After doing their homework on therapeutic options online, consumers then bring what they’ve learned to the point-of-care through dialogue with their physicians. Therefore, it’s not enough just to plunk down tens of thousands on a TV ad campaign – brands need to be ready to receive them online with answers to their questions. Otherwise, they’re wasting their money and patients’ time.