Healthcare industry spending on measured media grew by 11.7% year-over-year in 2015 to reach $9.7 billion, a new record, per a recently-released report [download page] from Kantar Media and Ad Age. Pharma ad spending seems to be driving the industry increases, with pharmaceutical ads accounting for more than 60% of all industry spending.
Indeed, the $600+ million spent on pharmaceutical ads last year represented a 19% year-over-year rise, with branded ads for prescription drugs growing from $4.8 to $5.7 billion in spending. Big spenders are in turn fueling that growth, as the number of pharmaceutical brands with at least $50 million in annual measured media ad spending almost doubled from 2012 through 2015, from 20 to 37.
Easily the top-spending pharma brand is Pfizer, which ranked 7th among all brands in ad spend in 2014. Last year, Pfizer spent more than $1.2 billion in measured media, almost triple the amount of the next-largest spender, Merck, which hiked its outlay by almost 30% year-over-year.
A recent op-ed from the IAB argued that the government is hampering pharma ad spending online, and the Kantar Media and Ad Age report does show that digital accounts for only a small portion of healthcare ad spending. Last year, only about 1 in 8 measured media dollars (12.6%) went to digital media (which includes internet display, search, mobile and online video). TV, by contrast, raked in almost 56% share of healthcare ad spending, with magazines accounting for another 19%.
One might expect digital ad spending to increase, given separate results from Kantar Media’s 2016 MARS Consumer Health Study that are included in the report. Results from that study indicate that almost 6 in 10 consumers visit health information sites (top 10 listed here), while a majority (55%) also use search engines to find information as well as websites dedicated to a particular health condition (51%).
For information on consumers’ biggest stated purchase influencers, see MarketingCharts’ 3rd Annual Advertising Channels With the Largest Purchase Influence on Consumers study.