Pharma online ad spend on the rise but content could be faring better: report

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Online ad spend by the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry will hit $975 million in 2007, a gain of 19% over 2006, according to a report unveiled this week by market research firm eMarketer.

The report, titled "Pharmaceutical Marketing, Stuck in Web 1.5," states that pharma marketers continue to have a rigid view of the Internet as an "information-delivery vehicle," while US consumers use it to interact with one another and with brands.

Lisa Phillips, senior analyst at eMarketer suggests that pharma marketers make their messages more interactive, "because consumers are looking for a dialogue, especially when their health is involved."

"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," Phillips adds.

Phillips suggested that marketers could do a better job by considering users of their Web sites in their online marketing efforts.

"They really should consider the consumers' point of view when using the Web," she said. 

The report further states that by 2011, the pharmaceutical category will account for 5% of US online ad spending, or $2.2 billion.

Growth will come from pharmaceuticals, hospitals and other healthcare services, courtesy of the increasing influence of consumer-directed health plans, the report said.
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