Those who access health content are also doing so using more than just PCs. In April 2013, 35 percent of visitors used mobile devices to consume health information. A year later, almost half of health information-seekers used mobile devices to consume health content. This uptick in mobile usage suggests two things: an increased reliance in managing one’s health issues on-the-go, and an increase in tablet usage at home instead of the PC. For those using mobile devices out-of-home to manage health issues, uses included understanding symptoms, treating a condition, or achieving one’s health goals. Comscore’s research indicates more specifically that on-the-go mobile users seek health information at doctor’s offices and while waiting for prescription refills at the pharmacy.
Health marketers continue to be more comfortable using digital channels to reach consumers, especially as the audience for health information is more targetable than in other media. Between three and seven billion display ads are delivered in the pharmaceutical sector every month, and the number is growing each year. From January 2013 to January 2014, the volume of display advertising for drugs and medications nearly doubled.
It’s not enough for health and pharmaceutical marketers to simply rely on the volume of their advertising as a way to reach their audiences. In 2012, comScore began measuring advertising viewability to better quantify the percent of display ads that had a chance to be seen and the average time they were viewable. The results continue to indicate that simply exposing a prospect to an online ad has a positive impact on brand awareness. Such exposure created a 1.9-point lift in aided awareness and a 0.8-point lift for unaided awareness across the studies. Exposure of prospects to display advertising also delivered a 7.3- point lift in intent to discuss treatment with a healthcare provider, an indicator that display advertising drives treatment discussions.
According to the 2014 study, site visitation to a branded pharmaceutical site continues to provide the most sizeable lifts in both brand awareness and favorability. Prospects who visited a branded website showed a 13-point lift in aided awareness and 5.3 in unaided awareness, supporting the findings of previous years and quantifying the value of the branded website.
Branded site visitation also showed a sizeable effect on favorability, driving a 14.2-point lift among patients. By having more educational information readily available on demand, brand websites may have significant impact on favorability toward a brand because they have no limitations on the amount of information they can provide.
For prospects, branded website visitation drove a 9.4-point lift in new patient starts compared to those in the control group, indicating the likely effectiveness of these marketing efforts. Since a branded website tends to occur further down the marketing funnel, when a prospect has moved beyond awareness towards consideration, it can be particularly effective in helping convert a prospect into a patient.
Natural Search-Referred Traffic Most Impactful in Conversion among Prospects
For prospects, there is a clear hierarchy among different referral types based on the lifts they produce in terms of prescriptions filled. The benchmarks show that while all types of referrals drove significant lifts, natural search-referred traffic had the highest lift at 13.9 points. Non-referred visits yielded a smaller yet still sizeable impact with a 9.9-point lift. Paid search-referred traffic provided a comparable effect, with a 9.3-point lift.