October 16, 2012
Evolution of the PAAB Code: Revisions to s6.5
The Digital Side of PAAB
This month’s PMCQ meeting went outside the norm of the dinner venue and was a breakfast meeting prior to an all-day Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board (PAAB) training session. The PMCQ meeting began with Ray Chepsiuk, the Commissioner of PAAB, who outlined how section 6.5 of the PAAB code has been revamped. Since the PAAB code was first introduced, there have been a multitude changes in the advertising world, the most important of recent years being the introduction of digital marketing. As a result, in an attempt to “modernize” the code, section 6.5 has been completely rewritten. A committee was developed, which included members of the pharmaceutical industry, who developed the section in collaboration. Responses received through an extensive survey conducted by PAAB a few months ago were also taken into consideration in the section revisions.
Specifically, the section will cover the definition of what types of digital advertising should undergo PAAB preclearance, links within a website, banner and pop-up ads, access control (website gating), static versus dynamic website content and search engine marketing and optimization. This section of the code has also been updated to include definitions to further clarify the content. In addition, guidelines are also being prepared to support the code change to provide further clarity and direction in its interpretation. The guidelines will also discuss online dialogue, monitoring of online information and removal of misinformation.
Ray concluded his portion of the meeting by saying that he was here to allay the industry fears around the new PAAB code changes, saying that the new changes represented more of an evolution. The targeted timing for the implementation of the new section is July 1, 2013.
Following Ray’s presentation, Kristoffer Sorenson, a business development executive with Google, spoke to the audience about “The Digital Marketer’s Toolbox”. Kris’ position at Google focuses on Canadian pharmaceutical business and his goal is to help companies make sense of the online marketing world. He emphasized the importance of digital marketing in today’s day and age, as the number of Canadians who are “digital” is overwhelming. He shared the following statistics: 80% of Canadian households have internet access and 54% of Canadians own smart phones. 56% of Canadians access the internet on our phones at least once a day, 91% watch video online and the average Canadian watches 316 online videos each month! All of these statistics show that Canadians are the most digitally engaged population among top markets in average online hours and visits per month.
Kris outlined that the goal behind digital marketing campaigns are to spark awareness (stimulus), capture intent (research), drive action (decision) and build loyalty (experience). The impact of a company’s digital marketing can also be bolstered with custom targeting to engage each segment of the target audience. Kris outlined a number of ways that this could be done, including the Google display network, which is a network comprised of two million websites on which Google can show your marketing, including WebMD, ESPN, Martha Stewart, as just a few examples. This network has various targeting capabilities, including contextual and placement targeting, interest-category matching and re-marketing. All of these types of targeting serve up advertising to browsers that correlates to their online searching or viewing habits, allowing for more “personalized”, relevant advertising. For example, if someone is searching for information on allergies, they would be targeted to see an ad for an allergy medication. Or, ads would be tailored to a user based on the types of websites they generally visit. An example would be to show ads for golf clubs to someone who frequently visits sports’ or golf websites.
Kris also emphasized the impact of YouTube and its importance in helping companies engage a social audience. 90% of video watching in Canada is done via YouTube, which makes it an excellent place to advertise. He encouraged pharma companies to have a YouTube presence with some type of messaging, be it through advertising or videos.
Kris pointed out that the most important thing about digital marketing is its tracking capabilities. You can track the number of people clicking on your ad, visiting your website, downloading a coupon and so on. And, with Google conversion tracking, you can measure your return on investment (ROI). Kris reminded the audience that Google Analytics is not just for the IT department in a company. It is something that the marketing departments should also deal with because it tells you how much you’re spending in marketing dollars for each consumer click and what your ROI is. Google Analytics also offers a free tool that tracks conversions from your Google Adword ads. Not sure what Google Adwords are? Not a problem, because Google offers strategic Adword consulting designed to help businesses succeed online. Many companies may not realize that Google offers support and education with account builders and managers to help you figure out the best way to target your digital marketing. So, with all that in mind, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate how much to invest in digital marketing!