Online drug ads up in 1999

May 1, 2000

Pharmaceutical Representative

A new report examining significant increases in online advertising among top pharmaceutical companies has been released by AdRelevance, a Seattle-based Internet advertising measurement and tracking company.

A new report examining significant increases in online advertising among top pharmaceutical companies has been released by AdRelevance, a Seattle-based Internet advertising measurement and tracking company.

According to the report, which details online activity during the period beginning October 1, 1999 and ending December 31, 1999, online advertising by the pharmaceutical industry has lagged behind other advertisers as a whole, accounting for approximately 2% of all advertising expenditures during 1999. However, during the fourth quarter of 1999 alone, spending for prescription medication advertisements grew by 17%.

According to Charles Buchwalter, vice president of media research for AdRelevance, the data suggests that pharmaceutical companies are beginning to allocate more advertising dollars to online campaigns.

"Today, the overall amount of online ad spending among pharmaceutical companies is relatively small when compared to what they spend on ad buys in traditional media," said Buchwalter. "That being said, our data run for this industry illustrates substantial increases in online ad buys with each new quarter surpassing the previous. This is a strong indication that online ads in this space are providing strong return on investment."

The report indicates that allergy medication was the primary focus of the health industry's advertising efforts during the fourth quarter. Schering, with Claritin® and Nasonex,® accounted for 35% of all advertising in this segment. Hoechst Marion Roussel, with its campaign for Allegra,® was the second largest advertiser in this segment, garnering a 14% share.

Online advertising by pharmaceutical companies is only due to increase, according to the report. "As the Internet continues to grow and pharmaceutical companies learn more about the unique benefits and advantages of Web advertising, the online portion of the average media budget is likely to increase," stated the report. "The low cost of online advertising makes it easier to make smart decisions about ad placement, targeting and creative design. The Internet's combined flexibility of ad delivery and ease of measurability will undoubtedly translate to an increased media [return on investment] for the health industry." PR

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