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NEW YORK, NY (September 18, 2007)–Study after study confirms the Internet as a major source for health-related information. Not surprisingly then, the pharmaceutical industry relies heavily on TV and magazine ads to drive brand awareness, using their Web sites to offer more detailed information on a drug, its benefits, risks and side effects. The ubiquitous phrase "Ask your doctor" is now followed by "Or visit our Web site."
But when consumers arrive at the advertised site – and they do in droves – they often encounter pages of text and a slow to load TV commercial. Having restricted their brand sites to mere online information centers, pharma marketers are missing big opportunities to engage consumers and boost compliance, according to eMarketer's report "Pharmaceutical Marketing Online: Stuck in Web 1.5."
Online advertising spending by the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry will hit $975 million in 2007, a gain of 19% over 2006. By 2011, the pharmaceutical category will account for 5% of US online ad spending, or $2.2 billion.
Pharmaceutical marketers have a rigid view of the Internet as an information-delivery vehicle. But consumers are using the Internet to interact with one another and with brands. Their online experiences help to build or break trust in brands and companies. With consumer attitudes towards drug makers hitting all time lows, trust is sorely needed.
"Messages must be interactive because consumers are looking for a dialogue, especially when their health is involved," says Lisa Phillips, senior analyst and author of the report. "Something as simple as offering mobile or Internet alerts to prompt patients to take their medicine are opt-in tactics that benefit patients and boost compliance."
Director of strategic communications, eMarketer
eMarketer is "The First Place to Look" for market research information related to the Internet, e-business, online marketing and emerging technologies. eMarketer aggregates and analyzes e-business research from over 2,800 sources, and brings it together in analyst reports, daily research articles and the "eStat Database" – the most comprehensive database of e-business and online marketing statistics in the world.
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