Friday, December 08, 2006

Spending online impacts how many people search for your Rx

Spending online impacts how many people search for your Rx
The number of people searching online for information about a certain condition is a function of the amount of money the marketer spends online, according to Carolina Petrini, vice president of comScore Pharmaceutical Solutions. For example, although more of the general population has diabetes, there are more people looking online for information about bipolar disorder. "The makers of these drugs have embraced the online channel," Petrini tells ePharm5. Thirty-three million consumers visited a prescription medication Web site in the third quarter of 2006, a 13% increase from the same quarter the year before, according to the comScore Pharmaceutical Solutions study. Depression was the most-searched-for condition, with 2.9 million unique visitors, followed by bipolar disorder (1.8 million unique visitors) and insomnia (1.7 million unique visitors). Of those consumers, 66% researched for themselves, 10% researched for a spouse, and 6% for a child.
Thirty-Three Million Consumers Researched Prescription Medication Using the Internet in Q3, 2006, Seeking Information on Drug Health and Safety

December 6, 2006, 11:57 AM

RESTON, Va., Dec. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- comScore Pharmaceutical Solutions today released an analysis of consumers' use of the Internet as a resource for researching prescription medication information. According to the study, 33 million Internet users visited a prescription medication site in Q3 2006, an increase of 13 percent over Q3 2005.

Two-thirds (66 percent) of visitors to prescription medication sites reported conducting research for themselves, with 10 percent conducting research for a spouse and 6 percent for a child. Consumers sought online information most frequently for specific health conditions, including depression (2.9 million unique visitors), bipolar disorder (1.8 million unique visitors), and insomnia (1.7 million unique visitors).

"Consumers are increasingly looking to the Internet to become more knowledgeable about medications that have been prescribed by their doctors, or that seem relevant for their symptoms," said Carolina Petrini, vice president of comScore Pharmaceutical Solutions. "As pharmaceutical companies continue to evolve their online media strategies, they must become mindful of how their audience researches drug and health information, as well as the type of content they seek, in order to better meet the needs of their consumers."

Search and Online Marketing Programs Drive Traffic

Online marketing has become an important driver of traffic to prescription medication sites, with 31 percent of visitors first becoming aware of the site or product through an online marketing program. One-fifth (20 percent) of all researchers reported that they first became aware of a product via an online search, with individuals age 35-54 accounting for 23 percent of those visitors. Other online marketing programs, such as banner ads, were responsible for driving 10 percent of all traffic.

Drug-Related Information Draws the Most Attention

Two-thirds (66 percent) of researchers reported looking for information on drug side effects, and 53 percent looked for drug safety information. Condition-focused information was sought by 53 percent of visitors, while patient information and support programs were sought by nearly one-third of all visitors (29 percent).

Information Sought by Consumers Researching Prescription Medications
Ranked by Percentage of All Respondents
Source: comScore Networks Prescription Medication Study

% of Researchers
Drug side effect information 66%
General information about the condition 53%
Drug safety information 52%
Drug prescribing information 33%
Drug dosage information 31%
Patient information and support programs 29%
Information to compare medications 29%
Information about the company that manufactures the drug 18%

In general, prescription medication sites enjoy a high level of satisfaction among their visitors, who indicated that sites were both credible and easy to use. Nearly three-quarters of researchers reportedly found the information on prescription medication sites to be credible (73 percent), easy to understand (71 percent), and easily found (70 percent).

Researcher Satisfaction with Web Site
Percentage of All Respondents (Top 2 Box)
Source: comScore Networks Prescription Medication Information Study

% of Researchers
Information was credible 73%
Information was easy to understand 71%
Could easily find what I was looking for 70%
Made me more knowledgeable about the drug 69%
Useful and relevant 68%
Satisfied with quality of information 66%
Made me more knowledgeable about the condition 61%

As another indication of satisfaction, more than half (56 percent) of researchers indicated a high likelihood of returning to the site, and 57 percent reported they would recommend the site to others.

Depression Remains the Leading Condition Researched Online

An analysis of overall traffic to Web sites devoted to prescription medications revealed the conditions with high levels of visitation. Depression was the top-ranked therapeutic area with 2.9 million unique visitors. Bipolar disorder and insomnia ranked second and third with 1.8 million and 1.7 million unique visitors, respectively.

Top Treatment Categories Researched
Ranked by Total Unique Visitors (000)
Q3 2005 vs. Q3 2006
Source: comScore Networks Weight Loss Study

Q3 2005 Q3 2006
(000) (000)
Depression 2,950 2,893
Bipolar 1,364 1,782
Insomnia 1,414 1,745
Cholesterol 1,825 1,718
Acid Reflux/GERD 2,493 1,402
Contraception 702 1,390
ADHD 900 1,367
Hypertension 646 1,079
Breast Cancer 523 881
Allergies 1,155 738
Migraine 563 723
Diabetes 838 684
Asthma 828 616

"Key players in depression, bipolar and insomnia have invested heavily in the online channel, though banner and search campaigns. Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly realizing the impact of online marketing on patients and prospects, and are re-allocating their marketing funds accordingly," added Ms. Petrini.

Pharmaceutical/ health care professionals and members of the media may request a copy of the full report at:

About This Study

For the purposes of this report, comScore Pharmaceutical Solutions conducted a survey among members of comScore's panel of more than two million online consumers who have given comScore permission to track their complete behavior on the Internet.

Methodology Details
Population: U.S. Internet users who visited at least one pharmaceutical
Web site in the last 3 months
Time Period: October 2006
Survey Mode: E-mail invitations sent to comScore panelists
Respondents: 411 completes

About comScore Pharmaceutical Solutions

comScore Pharmaceutical Solutions deliver the in-depth information needed to understand the impact that brand, condition-specific, and health portal Web sites have on consumers' brand awareness, conversion, and patient compliance. comScore delivers actionable insight to help refine consumer profiles, identify key alliances, optimize interactive marketing initiatives, benchmark against the competition and truly measure the ROI of Web site and online marketing programs.

About comScore Networks

comScore Networks is a global leader in measuring the digital age. This capability is based on a massive, global cross-section of more than 2 million consumers who have given comScore permission to confidentially capture their browsing and transaction behavior, including online and offline purchasing. comScore panelists also participate in survey research that captures and integrates their attitudes and intentions. Through its proprietary technology, comScore measures what matters across a broad spectrum of behavior and attitudes. comScore consultants apply this deep knowledge of customers and competitors to help clients design powerful marketing strategies and tactics that deliver superior ROI. comScore services are used by global leaders such as AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Verizon, Best Buy, The Newspaper Association of America, Tribune Interactive, ESPN, Fox Sports, Nestle, MBNA, Universal McCann, the United States Postal Service, Merck and Expedia. For more information, please visit .

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