One way to achieve immersion is through paid search—buying keywords on the major search engines (Google, Yahoo!, MSN, etc.)
that your target audience is likely to use when searching for information about a certain disease condition or healthcare
concern. So when a person who's been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder types in "ADD" on Google, for example, he would
see among the search results a sponsored link for
http://AdultADD.com/—a site sponsored by Lilly—along with the natural (unpaid) results. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project,
62 percent of Internet users don't distinguish between paid and natural search result, so paid search is an incredibly effective
way of projecting your message onto the health searcher's radar screen.
Another way to achieve immersion is by reaching out to the people who are not actively searching for healthcare information,
but who are active Internet users. With online advertising, you can project your brand's message straight into the Web sites
where your targets spend most of their time online.
"One of the critical steps we take with all our online campaigns is to analyze the specific Internet behavior of our target
audiences," says Diana Caldwell, e-marketing manager at Eli Lilly, where she works on such brands as Cialis, for erectile
dysfunction. "It's not enough just to use offline market research, because people behave very differently on the Web.
"We have to be sure we're delivering relevant messages when and where they surf the Net. If they spend a lot of time at work,
they may not want to be seen by a co-worker on an ED Web site. So with Cialis, we knew it was important to place online media
on portals and other Web sites we knew they were already visiting."
One of the keys to the success of this strategy was using rich media (video, animation, and interactive techniques) so that
the entire brand message was delivered within the advertisement itself.
The Cialis ads took advantage of roll-over tabs, which reveal information when a user moves the cursor across an ad. Presentations
about the product are available in relative privacy, since users never have to leave popular sites like
http://Yahoo.com/, or any other innocuous site on which sensitive material might be placed.
"With rich media," says Caldwell, "you can deliver a full brand message, plus answer additional questions the consumer
Knowing exactly where to run the ads is another critical component to successful online promotion. "Most ads drive to a brand.com
home page," says Caldwell. "But often it makes sense to link them deeper into the site, where highly relevant content exists
to continue the conversation started in the banner ad."
Wherever you choose to send your banner traffic, effective online advertising enters the target's stream of consciousness,
and begins an interaction that eventually turns into a measurable action.
RICH MEDIA WORKS in online ads because it pushes the brand message into the foreground and gives the Web surfer much greater information depth.
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But this underlying insight need not be applied only to online promotion. Now that broadband access has reached over 50 percent
of home users (and over 90 percent of office workers), techniques that were once considered impractical are beginning to pop
up on brand sites all over the Web, for one simple reason: They give Web sites much greater impact.