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The convergence of rare disease, digital communications, and pharmaceutical marketing communications

WebMD Ad Slowdown Annnouncement: Beginnings of a Trend?

Posted by | 8:44am on Friday, April 25, 2008

Pharma photo by Steven Brown under Creative Commons licenseOn Wednesday WebMD Health Corp. lowered its financial guidance for 2008, citing a softening ad marketplace.

Analysts on Wednesday expressed concern over whether WebMD’s preliminary numbers signal trouble for other online health destinations. “The biggest question is whether the slower trends are WebMD-specific or industry-wide,” Goldman Sachs analyst Jennifer Watson wrote in a client note Wednesday.

One take on this announcement is that phama marketers are saying one thing but not following through. Pharma Marketing Blog said:

“Although eMarketer predicts that pharmaceutical companies anticipate spending more in 2008 on Internet advertising (Web sites, search and e-mail marketing) and less on traditional media, the prognosis from WebMD suggests that pharma ad money is NOT where their mouths are. WebMD, after all, relies “heavily” on pharmaceutical advertisers for revenue.”

Or could it be that we are seeing the beginnings of a new trend? Pharma marketers are getting more sophisticated and instead of sending their money to WebMD they are coordinating their own online marketing campaigns using contextual search and direct SEM tied into their overall online strategy. Why use an intermediary? We know from Manhatten Reasearch that search begins with search engines. Algorithms have changed, the internet keeps growing, and niche marketing is everywhere.

Maybe we are seeing the beginnings of a trend.

“Pharma” photo by Steven Brown

About Wendy White

Since founding Siren Interactive in 1999, Wendy has been recognized as a thought leader at the intersection of niche pharma brands, patient empowerment and online marketing. Her vision for how the internet can facilitate interactions and provide crucial information that patients, caregivers and their healthcare providers previously struggled to find has propelled Siren to the forefront of relationship marketing for rare disorder therapies.

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