Pharmaceutical companies’ Internet spending will increase by 25% this year to $780 million, according to a new report from market research firm eMarketer.
By 2008, online spending is expected to rise to $1.3 billion, fueled by the ongoing shift from mass marketing to a more targeted approach, the report, “Pharmaceuticals Online: Direct-to-Patient Becomes a Reality,” said.
The recent spending shift marks a turnaround from the decline in spending by pharma companies on Internet advertising seen in 2005.
The eMarketer report found that for the first quarter of 2006, online display advertising by the top 12 pharmaceutical companies rose 11.2% to $39.6 million.
The driving forces behind the spending shift are federal regulatory crackdowns on pharmaceutical advertising, and the increasing number of consumers turning to the Internet for healthsare information.
“The result is a shift in focus from direct-to-consumer to direct-to-patient, from mass marketing to relationship marketing,” said Lisa Phillips, senior analyst at eMarketer and author of the report. “Gone are the days of landing pages full of dry medical text. Pharmaceutical marketers are giving their sites the look and feel of social niche networks. Now potential users find self-assessment checklists, support networks and more drug information. Visitors who register can post comments, and share suggestions and stories about their own experiences.”