Klick Health

The Limits of Ad Spend Estimates

VP Media Planning

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All is not what it may seem with reported pharmaceutical digital spend.

Many may have seen articles and statements suggesting Pharmaceutical ad spending lags behind other major industries in the digital space.  While on the surface there may be some truth to that statement, there is more to it.

Ad spending across digital media can be under/over-reported by as much as 100%

There are several companies that monitor and report Digital Ad spending.  They monitor on a relatively regular basis, anywhere between 3,000 to 8,000+ consumer-facing websites.  That’s a lot of ground to cover just for our industry – these sites include all the typical suspects inclusive of endemic, condition (patient facing), and more! Here’s where it gets interesting though… that doesn’t mean they capture and report ALL activity. The monitoring is done randomly across the 3,00-8,000+ sites, not every moment of every day.

As such, ad spending in the digital space is highly understated and we know this from comparing our actual buys with industry-reported spends. In fact, reported ad spending across digital media can be under/over-reported by as much as 100% – yes, it can be that varied from reality!

Beyond the monitored consumer facing digital media, it is important to note that there is no company monitoring and reporting Healthcare Professional (HCP) Digital spend.  For our industry, this means that there is a significant gap in digital media being captured and reported due to the significant investment among Pharmaceutical clients in HCP facing digital media, e.g. EHRs, HCP addressable, HCP Social, etc. At Klick, we see ongoing HCP Digital campaigns with media investments upwards of $10 million a year with growing investments across that ecosystem.

It is also worth noting that the Pharmaceutical category, as reported, falls within the top 5 ad spending classifications across the entirety of the ad spending landscape. Pharma is huge and growing – period!

So, the next time you see reports about ad spending lagging and in particular, citing that digital media is the culprit, delve a little deeper and understand there’s probably more to the story.

More About the Author

Johanna Maulawin

Johanna oversees the Display Channel practice with a passion for understanding the audience and how the constant evolving technology and channels can be used for meaningful engagements.

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