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Tell Your Friends! The Internet Is Here to Stay!

Guest Blogger

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It’s time for online spending to catch up with online consumption.

Google released data to the Intouch Solutions SEM team today that once again confirms the fact that "people are online seeking health information." (Though Google’s tagline at the end of the report made me chuckle a little "2009 is the year of ONLINE. Think Digital. Think Google" ... but I digress ... )

Most of us have seen these statistics before, but they bear repeating ...

  • With 65% of consumers going online for health info, the Internet is the most turned to resource for health information.
  • Media consumption online is increasing dramatically: 31% of consumer time is spent online.
  • In Q42007, there were 4.6 billion searches on health keywords conducted by 111 million searchers. That’s a whole lotta searchin’ goin’ on.
  • Search drives 45% of traffic to health sites on the web.
  • Online video continues to be an important communication channel for patients and health care professionals. YouTube is the 6th largest internet destination, and the #1 online video web site in terms of visits among US internet users!

Yahoo! has shared some similarly compelling statistics with us in the past:

  • In a survey, 65% of the online population used search to research healthcare information.
  • More than half of searchers use it for every health issue faced.
  • 34% of searchers would never take a medication without first looking it up online.

Again, 31% of consumer time spent online. That’s nearly 1/3 of all media consumption, up against print, TV, radio, direct mail, outdoor/out-of-home, on the back of bathroom stalls, and all of the other creative ways we’ve learned to advertise. I would venture to bet, however, that very few - if any - pharma marketers spend 1/3 of their budget on online marketing.

I have also witnessed this phenomenon that every dollar spent online is poked, measured, prodded, and scrutinized as if it were the last budget dollar spent. I’ve never seen TV, print, or direct mail get such scrutiny. Of course online marketing is infinitely measurable. And coming from PR to digital, its measurability is something I really appreciate about the digital channel. But shouldn’t that, too, justify a bigger spend? (Just think of all the pretty charts and graphs you can show upper management! Kidding. Sort of.)

It’s time for online marketing to get beyond the doubts and scrutiny as if it were still new media. Um, the internet is here to stay. And, um, it’s not just something your cousin’s roomate does in his basement anymore.

It’s time for online spending to catch up with online consumption. Especially in these economic times, quit wasting money on shotgun-approach tactics when you can pay less -- and in fact maybe you should be paying more -- for an efficient, effective, measurable, laser-focus approach.

The numbers just don’t add up.

GOOGLE’s SOURCES: 1 Google Harris Consumer Study 2007; 2 Ipsos Insight Entertainment and Media Consumer Survey 2007; 3 Google comScore Patient Pathway Study 2008; 4 Google comScore Patient Pathway Study 2008; 5 Neilsen NetRatings March 2008; 6 comScore Plan Metrix January 2008, April 2008; 7 Neilsen NetRatings June 2008, Hitwise June 2008

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