Today, precision and cost-effectiveness are imperative when it comes to media investments as marketers must prove that campaigns drive incremental patient behaviors across the diagnostic and treatment continuum. How many patients have visited their doctors as a result of being exposed to a DTC campaign? How many have been diagnosed for certain conditions? How many are treating in relevant categories and taking or switching between specific drugs?
When it comes to online campaigns, marketers often make optimization decisions across a range of digital publishers and targeting mechanisms based on traditional metrics such as click-through rates or post-click website interactions. But those don’t sufficiently measure the sales effectiveness of digital campaigns: Fewer than 0.1% of consumers exposed to digital advertising click through to a website on average.
In fact, media optimization decisions that rely upon outdated metrics can actually undermine your business. In a recent pharmaceutical DTC campaign that involved media run across 15 different online publishers (see figure below), Crossix calculated both click-through rates and Rx conversion rates to brand for those exposed to these media sources. The results indicate that minimal to negative correlations exist between these two campaign metrics. Furthermore, two significant outliers reveal that the publisher with the highest click-through rate yielded one of the lowest Rx conversion rates while a publisher with one of the lowest click-through rates delivered one of the highest Rx conversions rates.
The Metrics That Really Matter
So if click-throughs and website interactions alone no longer cut it, what indicators should marketers use? Measuring the exposed audience’s treatment history within the relevant condition category has proven to be correlated with the sales lift that a campaign ultimately generates. As Crossix measured in a recent brand case study, sales lift is closely associated with the audience quality index, a metric that compares the percentage of the audience exposed to the online ad campaign recently treating in the therapeutic category to the category treatment rate observed among the general U.S. population of pharmacy-goers. Additionally, for novel or second-line medications particularly, it is logical that those patients already in a therapeutic category will be more likely (and eligible) to adopt the advertised medication as their treatment option.
Marketers can also make optimization decisions during the course of a campaign by analyzing metrics such as visits to primary care physicians or specialists, as well new patient starts on a brand or within a category. All of these are measured within a certain timeframe after the audience is exposed. Ultimately, marketers can select the appropriate metrics based on the objectives for their specific campaign.