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The job of the media department isn't getting any easier.

Increases in postage costs are making direct mail campaigns more expensive. TV audiences continue to get smaller, while costs for commercials are higher than ever.

So, media buyers are faced with the challenge of getting more for their client's money in an era of the fragmented audience. For agencies that also handle online, another challenge surfaces. How do media buyers and planners have time to see all the sales people selling Internet banner advertising, video, social networking, search, Web site and content sponsorships? It's not unusual for a media buyer to have 150 salespeople making pitches to be placed on the media schedule.

According to a study done for Digitas Health by Nielsen Net Ratings, two out of three people surveyed use the Internet to search for information just before and just after visiting a doctor. For pharmaceutical marketers, advertising around the search mechanism would seem to be a “gotta have” versus a “nice to have” in the brand marketing plan. Yet many brands don't even have a search presence at all.

Atlas Institute, a division of the advertising technology provider Atlas, recently released the results of a study that identifies the impact of advertising overlap across Web portals, including AOL Google, MSN, and others. The study found that advertising overlap on multiple sites has a significant impact on consumer conversions. Web surfers are more likely turned into customers after viewing ads on multiple Web sites.  It's not just the last click that did the selling job. Ninety percent of the consumers who did convert were reached by ad placements other than the last ad seen. And, two out of three consumers who eventually took action were reached by ads across multiple portal sites before converting.

Dan McKillen is president of the HealthDay news service

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