A conversation with Julie Batten, eMarketing Manager at Klick Pharma, about search advertising best practices and options for pharma marketers during the period leading up to the much-anticipated new FDA guidelines.
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With a dramatic drop in industry search ad spending after the FDA cracked down on the pharma industry's usage of sponsored links, Google has a strong incentive to cater its ad units to the needs of this particular industry.
For some time now, Google has been working with the FDA to come up with potential new ad formats for pharma marketers. It first met with the FDA group responsible for setting advertising standards and guidelines for the industry, the Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising, and Communications (DDMAC) in May 2009 to discuss the key issues and come up with some potential solutions. Google solicited informal feedback on potential new ad formats from DDMAC, but it was made clear that the FDA could not provide formal comments or approval on Google's mock-ups. Rather, DDMAC would require to see this ad format in context -- meaning used by an actual pharmaceutical product/brand.
Google has therefore initiated a beta program to begin working with pharma companies and their agencies to create and submit these new formats to DDMAC for pre-clearance.
At least one advertiser, Yaz, a birth control drug with a boxed warning from AstraZeneca, has launched these new formats. That means, presumably, that it received DDMAC clearance on these ads before launch, and likely put these through their internal regulatory process as well.
Tell us about Google's new ad formats? How did Google come up with these ideas? Was the FDA involved?
Do you believe FDA will come up with new guidelines pertaining to search advertising and other limited space formats before the end of 2010? What do you envision this guidance to look like?
What do you suggest pharma's search engine marketing strategy should be during this period in advance of new guidelines from the FDA?
As the eMarketing Manager at Klick Pharma, Julie Batten heads up the Online Media practice group, which focuses on generating eyeballs and engagement among specific target audiences. Julie and her team successfully conceptualize and execute digital marketing strategies on behalf of North American pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. With a strong background in search marketing, Julie previously headed up the SEM practice at Non-linear Creations where she managed the team to deliver exceptional results by means of both organic and paid search campaigns. With over 7 years experience in online marketing, Julie shares her knowledge and experience actively through her expert column for ClickZ as well as speaking engagements and whitepapers.