The importance of your product website

SUMMARY: Among US adults who looked for health information and used the internet for their most recent search, the percentage who reported accessing health information without frustration was stable during the study period (from 37.2% in 2008 to 38.5% in 2017). The percentage of online health information seekers reporting easily accessing health information did not meet the HP2020 objective. Continued efforts are needed to enable easy access to online health information among diverse populations. (Source: Public Health Reports)

According to the Journal of Medical Internet Research “On average, 15.49% of people queried about symptoms associated with their medical condition before receiving a medical diagnosis.

According to 2019 Pew Research Center data, 90% of males in the United States use the internet followed by 89% of females (Pew, 2019). In the year 2018, approximately 92% of urban residents are internet users, 90% resided in suburban communities, and 78% resided in rural communities (Pew, 2019).

Online health seekers are a valuable opportunity for pharma to bridge the trust gap. The last two weeks I was asked to look at the website metrics for a pharma company’s top product sites. This is what I found:

1ne: The traffic to the site was pretty stable and could be considered good.

2wo: The bounce rates were between 89% and 94%. This was extremely high and needs to be improved immediately.

3hree: Average page views were 2.6. Again there is significant room for improvement.

4our: Time on site averaged 1:24. It’s almost impossible to read to the content on ANY of their pages in that time.

5ive: Clickstream analysis indicated that visitors came from Google via organic search. We were also surprised that some people were coming from social media, with Twitter as number one.

If your top product websites are anything like the stats above, you’re in trouble, yet I’ve witnessed DTC managers use these statistics as an excuse to shift budget dollars away from digital.

You can’t shortcuts when building a product website, you need to follow the map. There is a direct correlation between product website metrics and the process used to create a product website.

My presentation on creating a pharma website is still true today but too many agencies cur corners because they are handcuffed by budget constraints.

Today with DTC ads becoming less effective, you don’t have the luxury of cutting digital budgets for your website development. It’s too important as it’s a key patient touchpoint.

When reviewing proposals from agencies on developing a product website, you should focus more on their process rather than on their ability to develop a website within your budget. I’ve seen too many agencies tell clients what to do even though they don’t understand the brand’s target consumer.

Global digital advertising growth is expected to accelerate to about 18% year-over-year during 2021, up from about 10% growth in 2020 — and continue to show annual growth in the low double digits over the next five years, according to Cowen’s 9th Annual Ad Outlook report. This fails to tell us that too many brands are using programmatic advertising, ripe with fraud, and places ads on unwanted sites.

When I speak to a client about an analysis of their website, the first question I ask after the analysis, is “how much time and money did you spend in developing the site?”. The answers don’t shock me anymore, which indicates that pharma sees their website as just a sales tool.