Internet ads targeted at getting consumers to request a particular drug
when at the doctor’s office have been stunningly effective compared to
other media, according to a study conducted by Cyber Dialogue.
Pharmaceutical companies spent $14 online per customer that requested the
advertised drug, while driving the same response through TV ads cost $197
per customer, and print ads cost $220.
“These findings provide pharmaceutical product managers with a benchmark to
help them to assess the relative value of their marketing dollar. More
broadly, these data also underscore the necessity of a coherent,
comprehensive Internet strategy at every company,” says Thaddeus
Grimes-Gruczka, vice president of Cyber Dialogue’s Health Practice.
Cyber Dialogue found that, of those consumers who requested a specific drug
from their physician, the Internet spurred two percent to request a drug,
while five percent were influenced by print ads and eight percent from TV.
The small percentage influenced by the Internet, though, probably stems
from the fact that relatively few dollars have been spent online.
Pharmaceutical companies spent an estimated $915 million on
direct-to-consumer ads in the first half of 1999. TV ads accounted for $530
million of that, and $370 million went to print ads. Only $10 million, or
about one percent, was spent on the Internet.
The Cyber Dialogue findings are based on in-depth interviews with more than
2,700 US adults. The study took place in July 1999 and is accurate within
plus or minus 2.4 percent at the 95 percent confidence interval.