The most important aspects of digital marketing that pharma ignores

SUMMARY: While it’s reported that pharma is going to put more money into digital marketing they are overlooking the most important initiave: their websites. Bounce rates, time on site and page views continue to be dismal as onion health seekers go elsewhere for health information.

Online media spending by pharma is increasing while too many companies overlook their number one online property; their branded websites. I monitor pharma branded websites via online tools and the bounce rates, time on site and pages viewed is dismal. The reason for these bad metrics is that online health seekers don’t like the way pharma websites are presented. They complain about about missing content (relevant to them), hard to understand content and sites that overwhelm them. This, of course, could all be eliminated via usability studies but that would cost money.

Let me dispel some myths about online media spending:

1ne: We need to spend money on paid search. Wrong! Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential because organic search is arguably the most valuable marketing channel there is. According to Forrester “54% of respondents found websites through natural search. In addition, online health seekers prefer organic search vs. paid search.

2wo: Retargeting is a great way to drive traffic. Uh, NO! Consumers are easily annoyed when it is done badly, according to a study by AI platform Clinch. For one thing, 41.6% of consumers surveyed said they object to excessive retargeting. Another 46.7% said they dislike it when a product is not easy to find after they have clicked on an ad. And 28% object when a product appears in an ad and it is no longer available.

3hree: Programmatic Ads are full of fraud -Programmatic ad buying doesn’t come without its share of concerns. A growing number of advertisers are worried about fraud, viewability and non-human traffic, according to the study, with this now narrowly seen as the most negative aspect of programmatic ad buying. Overall estimates of fraud vary widely, but even the most conservative estimates put the money involved worldwide well into the billions annually. Recent estimates vary from $6.5 billion to as high as $19 billion, a range that points to the difficulty in measuring fraud’s true impact and it’s happening in programmatic.

What does all this mean? It means that you’re wasting valuable online marketing dollars while your website is begging for improvements. Pharma eMarketers should challenge their agencies to develop websites that have better metrics. If, after you launch, you have traffic but your bounce rate is high you’re losing your share of voice.

I have to laugh when I read the transcripts from digital pharma conferences where they talk about new tactics while ignoring digital 101 basics. Focus your energy and budgets on developing a great branded website before paying Google a lot more money.

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