Contrary to the pharmaceutical industry’s commonly-held belief that active Rx and OTC brand consumers are harder to find online than offline, a new study reveals that the online audience is just as active – and for select categories, more active – than the general population. Crossix Solutions, a leading consumer healthcare marketing analytics firm, evaluated sample Rx and OTC transactional data from the Crossix proprietary data network of more than 100 million consumer records and the Crossix Digital Impact™ panel of 7 million opted-in online consumers, to compare the Rx and OTC purchase behavior of the two populations during the 12 month period prior to the study.
“For years, the perception throughout the pharma industry has been that the online channel represents a less targeted audience, relative to more traditional, offline channels,” said Dan Stein, Crossix SVP, Product Strategy & Analytics Services. “Our study dismisses this myth, and should give brand marketers and digital media agencies alike greater confidence in their ability to reach their desired audiences within the online space, across all types of publishers and sites.”
While the overall Rx and OTC purchase behavior of the two populations suggest parity, Crossix discovered more pronounced variances in specific treatment categories, particularly for Rx treatments. For example, the online audience indexed higher within categories related to lifestyle, such as contraception, and psychological conditions, such as depression and ADHD. Conversely, the online audience indexed lower for chronic and life-threatening conditions most commonly associated with an aging population, such as stroke, heart disease, and high cholesterol. These variances do not take into account the incremental impact of audience targeting for online media campaigns, which would yield considerably more active audiences across all categories. See Table 1, below, for the indices by treatment category. The full list of category data can be viewed at www.crossix.com/digital-impact.
Table 1: Rx and OTC Purchase Activity Indices by Category
Indices: Rx and OTC Purchase Activity Comparison of
|Sleep Deprivation (Rx)||122|
|Sleep Deprivation (OTC)||115|
|Smoking Cessation (OTC)||110|
|Sugar & Sweeteners (Diabetes) (OTC)||102|
|Cough & Cold (OTC)||102|
|Pain Relief - Analgesics (OTC)||99|
|Digestion & Nausea (OTC)||98|
|Stroke & Heart Attack (Rx)||70|
Source: Crossix Digital Impact™, 2013. Prepared by Crossix Solutions Inc.
Analysis of Online Advertising Campaigns Reveals Additional Discoveries
The Crossix study also analyzed the Rx purchase behavior of audiences exposed to pharmaceutical brand advertising campaigns run across various types of websites, including endemic, health-related publishers (e.g., WebMD, Everyday Health) and non-health-related, lifestyle publishers (e.g., AOL, Yahoo). Based on Crossix Digital Impact™ data culled from billions of online ad impressions across dozens of campaigns run in 2012 through 2013, the study revealed that with respect to Rx purchase behavior, audiences exposed to online advertising campaigns indexed considerably higher (index of 240) compared to the general population. 2
According to Wendy Blackburn, Executive Vice President, Intouch Solutions, “The insights provided by this data testify to the power of online media to effectively reach target audiences for healthcare brands. Digital marketers’ ability to engage qualified audiences online will continue to mature as we adopt more sophisticated methodologies and technology, and data like this will prove even more essential as we look to optimize and validate our investment decisions.”