Want to improve online ad performance? Get to intimately know your audience

KEY TAKEAWAY: Some are projecting that pharma is going to be spending more money for online ads.  While I am skeptical of these projections, there are ways that pharma companies can really improve their online ad performance.

As I wrote yesterday programmatic ad buying is not right for pharma.  To improve online ad performer two things need to happen.  First, the ads have to be relevant to your audience and second, they need to be on sites where your audience is.

Sounds simple, but in most cases pharma online ads flunk the test.

Last month we were briefed,by the US product team, on a new pharma product in preparation for developing an online media plan.  The brand had lots of data, but what was missing was a portrait of their target audience.  Sure, we had demographics, but what we wanted to know is where did they go online everyday?  What were their favorite, bookmarked sites?  When were they more likely to research health information?  In the morning or while at work?

Their ad agency had developed several online ad formats based on their TV ad, but [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]these ads were not personally relevant to their audience and had very low CTR’s[/inlinetweet] and high bounce rates. The solution? Test different messages in ads that were sure to garner attention. Some of the ads didn’t even mention the brand, but instead asked a question like “are you sure you’re getting the right prescription for….?”

The result was they worked.   The metrics we used were the following:

1ne: Bounce rate

2wo: Time on site

3hree: Number of pages viewed

Notice I didn’t use CTR.  I would gladly go with a lower CTR if any of the metrics above improve.

I am sometimes amazed that DTC brand managers will spend weeks and months to perfect TV spots, but when it comes to online ads they are OK with just developing an ad based on the TV commercial.  It’s a waste of money.

By developing an intimate portrait of your target patient you can really make a difference in the performance of your ads.  It requires a dedicated emarketing person or team, but it can really help surpass your brand KPI’s