TV will continue to rule with DTC ads

KEY TAKEAWAY: For DTC marketers, TV is king and will continue to dominate most DTC budgets. 771,368 DTC ads were shown in 2016 , the last full year for which data is available, an increase of almost 65 percent over 2012. TV ad spending by pharmaceutical companies has more than doubled in the past four years, making it the second-fastest-growing category on television during that time.

It’s said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. By that definition are most DTC marketers insane? Of course not. While only 7% of viewers have asked their doctor about advertised medications TV still generates high awareness and has a better ROI than other channels. But why?

1ne: DTC marketers can link TV spending to ROI easier than digital marketing which has become a fraudulent quagmire.

2wo: Internal corporate politics favor TV over other channels.

3hree: Pharma websites continue to rank near the bottom when it comes to patient resources. In fact the top pages in pharma websites continue to be “safety information and coupons”.

4our: Too many big all-in-one agencies recommend TV advertising to make more money.

Now about that 7% figure, remember that’s an average for all DTC TV ads. There are actually some DTC ads that perform very well and while the FDA studies fair balance on TV ads most people say that side effects have become white noise (that’s why they go online).

Can TV remain the biggest slice of the DTC budget? Yes! If online advertising doesn’t get their act together over fraud and if point of care companies can regain the trust of pharma marketers TV will remain number one.

Originally published at on December 27, 2017.

Marketing contrarian with over 15 years of developing leading edge and award winning digital marketing initiatives.

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