Clicks to Scripts

Search Marketing Model Predicts New Pharmaceutical Prescriptions Fulfillment

Author: Chris Copeland, CEO, GroupM Search Research Leads: Brandon Fischer, Predictive Insights, GroupM Search Janea Schaeffer, Predictive Insights, GroupM Search

February 2012

In 2011, pharmaceutical companies spent more than $4 billion in advertising, according to data obtained from Kantar Media’s Stradegy tool. Of that, search advertising accounted for just 2.6 percent. New research conducted by GroupM Search, seeking to establish the real impact search marketing has on patients going on script, shows that 42 percent of patients who fulfilled new prescriptions used paid search in their decision making process. This suggests that search advertising is either the best value possible for pharma advertisers or there is great potential to further impact prescriptions via search marketing. And therein lies the challenge for pharma brands in determining an ROI on digital advertising, search marketing included. To date, digital advertising for pharma relies on proxy site-side consumer activity metrics as a guide for investments, leaving marketers to guess the true impact on their brand. Until now, the largely unanswered question has remained, what is the impact of digital advertising on the critical key performance indicator (KPI)—prescriptions filled. From the research by GroupM Search, that question is answered. A new understanding of search’s role as a vehicle for pharma brands is discovered, and a proprietary model developed, which advertisers can apply to determine—and predict—the role paid search marketing plays in driving the fulfillment of new prescriptions for their brand.

The research sought to quantify the relationship between a consumer’s search behavior and new prescription volume (NRx). Using proprietary competitive benchmarking data from five competing drugs for an indication (condition), and Wolters Kluwer PHAST database information for total prescription volume, GroupM Search developed a model to determine the relationship between paid search clicks for a drug and a new prescription being filled.

Prescriptions Predicted by Paid Search Clicks
NRx 95% PI 95% PI

A Deeper Understanding of New Prescriptions and Paid Search Performance
In evaluating the data of the five competing brands studied, the model revealed that search plays a pivotal role in new prescription fulfillment, with 7 percent of all new prescriptions attributed directly to search. For the brands studied, this equates to more than 13,000 new scripts fulfilled each month as a result of paid search. Furthermore, the research determined that for every 1.3 clicks on a paid search ad in the given drug category, a new prescription is generated.

Drug 1 0.73 clicks = 1 NRx

Source: Clicks to Scripts Research, GroupM Search, February 2012

Clicks to Scripts: Search Marketing Model Predicts New Pharmaceutical Prescriptions Fulfillment February 2012

These findings are critical for the pharmaceutical industry, which until now has largely relied on on-site user conversion actions as a proxy for potential prescriptions filled. In the drug class studied, medication that requires daily usage was likely to convert to a script with as few as one paid search click required. By contrast, a drug with an annual usage

Prescriptions Predicted by Conversions on a Brand’s Site
NRx 95% PI 95% PI

Drug 5 12.89 clicks = 1 NRx 2.67 conversions = 1 NRx

Source: Clicks to Scripts Research, GroupM Search, February 2012

required more than 35 clicks to convert a single new prescription fulfilled. In furthering the research, GroupM Search used the standard site-side conversion actions of an active pharma client to assess the dynamic between that metric and a new prescription filled. In this scenario, it was found, with a high statistical confidence interval, that one could predict how many of the measured site-side actions by a patient it would take to lead to a prescription being fulfilled. This gives brands an even deeper linkage between the channel activity and new scripts, and enables the ability to make informed decisions on their investment in search marketing in the future.

Key Takeaways
• Pharma brands can now link channel activity to new scripts Pharma brands that have been reliant on measuring digital advertising success with site-side actions now have a statistical model to tie more closely back to their true KPI—prescriptions filled. • Search represents a great bargain with potential expansion opportunities for pharma brands In most cases, search makes up less than 3 percent annually of a brand’s total advertising budget, and at that level, can be directly attributed to 7 percent of prescriptions filled on a monthly basis. With a new understanding of the direct correlation paid search has on new prescriptions, the channel potential for brands opens up. • Cost-prohibitive costs-per-clicks (CPCs) can now be justified Brands have previously placed limitations on search buying owing to high CPCs (average $2.51 CPC for keywords in the prescription drug category in January 2012). With the new understanding of clicks to scripts, a brand can better justify pharma CPCs, weighing the direct ROI versus a proxy metric, given in some cases, a new prescription will be fulfilled with a single click.

Clicks to Scripts: Search Marketing Model Predicts New Pharmaceutical Prescriptions Fulfillment February 2012



About GroupM Search
GroupM Search is the search marketing specialist division of GroupM, the media buying and planning arm of WPP responsible for more than 1/3 of the world’s media buying. GroupM Search provides industry-leading search marketing strategies, technology development, research, staffing and training to GroupM communications planning agencies, including: Maxus, MediaCom, MEC and MindShare, as well as the direct-to-client search marketing agencies Outrider, Catalyst Online and Quisma. More than 700 search marketing strategists comprise GroupM Search’s global network spanning 40 countries. In 2008, GroupM Search was named the 2008 Search Marketing Agency of the Year by OMMA Magazine and MediaPost.

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A WPP Company

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