More Efficient Ad Placements
An evaluation of a brand's recent ad schedule demonstrates how knowing what programs patients are actually watching could
dramatically change the selection of programs made by an advertiser (figure 2). In the six months ending March 2010, a popular
depression drug was advertised most often on:
1. "Criminal Minds" (CBS)
2. "48 Hours" (CBS)
3. "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC)
4. "Medium" (CBS)
5. "The Bachelor" (ABC)
These shows most likely were chosen based on traditional age and gender criteria. However, a ranking of shows based on new
insights gleaned from linked tuning and prescription data indicates that these were not the most optimal placements.
And so while "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" was the third-most-purchased show, it ranked No. 20 in reaching depression
patients—meaning that 19 other shows would have been more efficient.
The fifth-most-popular—and most expensive—advertising placement, "The Bachelor" on ABC, ranked poorly when analyzed in terms
of patient healthcare behavior. It indicated that 36 other shows would have been more effective in reaching depression patients.
Employing the new methodologies would have enabled marketers of this brand to either decrease spending and reach a better
audience or continue with a similar investment but reach far more patients. Either scenario should result in a better return
Proving and Improving ROI
When patient-level data is being used, a true control group can be created that matches a group of patients who viewed the
ad. Age, gender, past healthcare behavior, and other patient characteristics can be analyzed to help ensure that resulting
differences in prescription behavior between the control and exposed groups can be attributed to the viewing of a campaign
instead of outside factors.
In addition, patient-level data is longitudinal and tracks patients over time. Therefore, a host of metrics about patient
behavior pre- and post-exposure to the campaign can be analyzed. The objective of many ad campaigns is to draw new patients
to the brand, either through acquisition of patients new to therapy or conversion of patients from other drugs in the category.
Since the de-identified patients' past prescription activity is known, it's easy to discern the types of new patients acquired.
Some campaigns are created to build brand loyalty and will include direct-response spots that encourage patients to join customer
loyalty programs. The extent to which campaigns like these are effective at extending the length of therapy for patients can
be measured by tracking viewers over time to determine how long they remain on therapy after being exposed to an ad campaign
compared with those who didn't view the campaign.
Dave Nussbaum, VP of Media Innovations at SDI, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fariba Zamaniyan, Senior VP, Pharmaceutical Sales at TRA, email@example.com