Pharma wasting money on digital ads

QUICK READ: Pharma digital agencies are doing their clients a huge disservice by recommending heavy paid search. The reality is that the ROI for most paid search is very low.

If the growing cost of digital advertising were matched by commensurate sales growth, then higher digital ad spend would pose no problem. But the reality is quite different: While digital spending is becoming more expensive, it is generally not becoming more effective

For example, even though advertisers have increased their total spending on search by 42%, the number of visits to advertisers’ websites resulting from those ads has increased by just 11%, indicating that the cost of driving traffic is increasing.


1ne: Research has continually shown that online health seekers prefer organic search results to paid search.

2wo: Pharma DTC marketers are not holding their online agencies accountable when it comes to paid search.

3hree: Online search submitted by pharma too often relies on just one word when more searches are done with sentences.

4our: Agencies have DTC marketers convinced that programmatic ads are the way to go when programmatic actually waste money. However, it easier for agencies.

5ive: DTC marketers are forgetting about “link building which can increase traffic by double digits if done strategically.

Last week I had to sit in as a silent partner while an interactive agency presented their plan for a substantial online ad spend. I must have bit my lip five times because the money being wasted was enormous.

The other issue is that too many pharma have paid search drive traffic to their product website homepage. This is a huge mistake. People don’t have the time to sort through your site to get the information they want and need.

Finally the FDA is still in a 90’s mindset when it comes to paid search and online ads. Their requirement for fail balance is past thinking. Nobody is going to ask for an Rx based on an online ad.

There is a lot of huge opportunity for pharma to stop wasting money for paid search. Just ask your eMarketing person what the bounce rate is for paid search.