Digital metrics that count

QUICK READ: Pharma seems to be making great progress in the use of digital marketing to reach HCP’s but when it comes to consumers they still rate near the bottom.

Not only does pharma spend too much on paid media, without adequate measurement, but they also don’t invest enough in their product website development and testing.

Attention on the Internet is at a premium, even for online health seekers. Have you ever measured what online health seekers take away by visiting your homepage for five seconds? The answer, sadly, is no. Yet in that five seconds, online health seekers are going to decide if your website can answer their questions.

Some pharma websites look like a medical brochure ( and immediately turn off online health seekers. According to independent analytics the average time on is 1:00 with an 82% bounce rate. That means that only 18% of website visitors are reading pages which is a HUGE waste of money.

In addition, 63% of the traffic to comes from search. As I said yesterday paid search is a huge waste of money. Of that 63% what percentage of people are included in bounce rate and how many actually stay?

AbbVie has spent a ton of money protecting Humira from generics but as new competitors enter the arena it seems that haven’t invested any money on their website and it shows.

Usability studies are SO important to your website but don’t make the mistake of thinking that a four-year-old usability study is still valid today. How consumers use the web for health information is changing and you need to budget to measure those changes.

For example, one of the tests Is like to conduct is having online health seekers look at a homepage for seven seconds and tell us what the page communicated to them. The results are usually bad. Most can recall images of people but can’t recall key brand messages. In other words, you failed.

I also like to ask DTC marketers to identify the pages within their website that they feel “will drive action”. Most times the pages they want online health seekers to visit and the pages they actually visit do not correlate.

Finally one of the best exercises is to have focus groups design your website. What do I mean by that? It’s simple…you get a whiteboard and have the moderator ask the group “if you were going to design the website for people like yourself, who want health information about the product, how would it look?

You’re be surprised how online health seekers suddenly become marketing people. Remember your website is NOT about you, it’s about them. The more you test and invest before the site is launched the better your website metrics will drive brand objectives.