One of my colleagues called me when he read the report that pharma only spent 2% of their budgets online, according to Kantar, and quickly said “that can’t be right”. He quickly pointed out that we saw a huge increase in digital spending from clients during that period and that included some top 10 pharma companies.
We always get more business in the last quarter of the year because a lot of DTC managers have a “use it or lose it” deadline. We tend to recommend digital first, however a lot of clients get “bundled” deals from media companied that include digital as well as print and TV.
Overall the spend on digital by pharma clients has remained flat for the last 2-3 years and it seems that it’s going to remain flat again this year. What we are getting requests for are digital tracking metrics, not just numbers, but what those numbers actually show and ways to leverage insights to improve digital metrics.
The other trend that we are seeing is the lack of funds to really develop a great online brand experience . This usually turns out to be a huge mistake as clients want to know “why their websites aren’t performing well?”. One client was thrilled at the traffic her website was getting but when we pointed out the 89% bounce rate she asked “what does that really mean?”. Yes, it’s still happening!
Every bit of research out there shows the same thing: people are going online for health information, but pharma marketers still don’t quite “get it”. OK, they don’t get it in a big nasty way!
This is not the first time we have seen clients question Kantar Media’s data. As soon as they release some data I can count on at least three phone calls from clients who ask “what’s the real story?”. Beware of data without doing your own research and listen to what others are saying before you accept free PR releases.