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With increasing FDA regulations on DTC advertising, in-flight campaign optimization remains a challenge for pharma marketers who must take corrective action when a campaign does not perform to expectations. However, significant improvements are attainable for marketers who use in-flight performance data to increase campaign effectiveness.

In the absence of alternate creative, media placement can be a powerful tool for performance optimization. Media placement—particularly TV program engagement—is the second most influential factor impacting ad performance, accounting for approximately 30% of an ad's ability to break through. The Nielsen Company found over an 80% correlation between a viewer's engagement with a program and his/her ability to recall an ad airing within that program.

For example, an asthma advertiser we studied achieved a +59% lift in breakthrough when placed in a higher engagement show. Weaker creative has the most to benefit from an engaging programming environment; a below-average performing ad achieved a +166% lift when moved to the highest quintile of engagement.
Marketers can further optimize their campaigns by going beyond standard demographics to incorporate custom segmentations to ensure reaching their desired audience. Program engagement and audience segmentations can be layered with measures to provide greater media efficiency.

By incorporating these tools, a DTC marketer can dramatically improve campaign performance through improved efficiency and effectiveness to ultimately drive higher advertising ROI.

Susanna Selchau-Hansen is research director for The Nielsen Company
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