New Study Dispels Industry Misconception that Rx and OTC Consumers are Harder for Marketers to Reach Online

Crossix Solutions' analysis reveals overall parity in Rx and OTC purchase behavior between online audience and general population, though notable differences observed for specific treatment categories

NEW YORK--()--Contrary to the pharmaceutical industry’s commonly-held belief that active Rx and OTC brand consumers are harder to find online than offline, a new study reveals that the online audience is just as active – and for select categories, more active – than the general population. Crossix Solutions, a leading consumer healthcare marketing analytics firm, evaluated sample Rx and OTC transactional data from the Crossix proprietary data network of more than 100 million consumer records and the Crossix Digital Impact™ panel of 7 million opted-in online consumers, to compare the Rx and OTC purchase behavior of the two populations during the 12 month period prior to the study.

“For years, the perception throughout the pharma industry has been that the online channel represents a less targeted audience, relative to more traditional, offline channels,” said Dan Stein, Crossix SVP, Product Strategy & Analytics Services. “Our study dismisses this myth, and should give brand marketers and digital media agencies alike greater confidence in their ability to reach their desired audiences within the online space, across all types of publishers and sites.”

While the overall Rx and OTC purchase behavior of the two populations suggest parity, Crossix discovered more pronounced variances in specific treatment categories, particularly for Rx treatments. For example, the online audience indexed higher within categories related to lifestyle, such as contraception, and psychological conditions, such as depression and ADHD. Conversely, the online audience indexed lower for chronic and life-threatening conditions most commonly associated with an aging population, such as stroke, heart disease, and high cholesterol. These variances do not take into account the incremental impact of audience targeting for online media campaigns, which would yield considerably more active audiences across all categories. See Table 1, below, for the indices by treatment category. The full list of category data can be viewed at

Table 1: Rx and OTC Purchase Activity Indices by Category



Indices: Rx and OTC Purchase Activity Comparison of
Online Audience to General Population1

Contraception (Rx)     186
Depression (Rx)     157
ADHD (Rx)     146
Sleep Deprivation (Rx)     122
COPD (Rx)     119
Sleep Deprivation (OTC)     115
Smoking Cessation (OTC)     110
Contraception (OTC)     110
Diabetes (Rx)     105
Sugar & Sweeteners (Diabetes) (OTC)     102
Cough & Cold (OTC)     102
Pain Relief - Analgesics (OTC)     99
Digestion & Nausea (OTC)     98
Hypertension (Rx)     88
Cholesterol (Rx)     79
Stroke & Heart Attack (Rx)     70

Source: Crossix Digital Impact™, 2013. Prepared by Crossix Solutions Inc.

Analysis of Online Advertising Campaigns Reveals Additional Discoveries

The Crossix study also analyzed the Rx purchase behavior of audiences exposed to pharmaceutical brand advertising campaigns run across various types of websites, including endemic, health-related publishers (e.g., WebMD, Everyday Health) and non-health-related, lifestyle publishers (e.g., AOL, Yahoo). Based on Crossix Digital Impact™ data culled from billions of online ad impressions across dozens of campaigns run in 2012 through 2013, the study revealed that with respect to Rx purchase behavior, audiences exposed to online advertising campaigns indexed considerably higher (index of 240) compared to the general population.2

According to Wendy Blackburn, Executive Vice President, Intouch Solutions, “The insights provided by this data testify to the power of online media to effectively reach target audiences for healthcare brands. Digital marketers’ ability to engage qualified audiences online will continue to mature as we adopt more sophisticated methodologies and technology, and data like this will prove even more essential as we look to optimize and validate our investment decisions.”

About Crossix Digital Impact™

Part of the Crossix suite of innovative, privacy-safe digital analytics and audience targeting solutions, Crossix Digital Impact™ measures the impact of media spend across the Internet, including all health and non-health publishers, social networking sites and ad networks. Leveraging a HIPAA-compliant, panel-based methodology that tracks the full impact of online media exposure – including the 99.9% of individuals who do not click on or engage with ads – Digital Impact offers the most accurate, comprehensive way to evaluate the Rx and OTC purchase behavior of the audience exposed to online media and the lift in conversion to Rx and OTC sales driven by these campaigns. With Digital Impact, brand marketers, media agencies and online publishers can proactively optimize their campaigns through early indicators and predictive metrics – not just rearview measurement after the campaigns have ended.

To learn more about Crossix Digital Impact™, go directly to

About Crossix Solutions

As the only company founded and focused on a consumer-centric healthcare analytics approach, Crossix is the industry standard by which Top 10 Pharma companies and leading agencies & publishers plan, measure and optimize consumer marketing initiatives. Crossix offers the most complete cross-channel solutions, helping marketers by correlating campaign exposure to increased sales. Crossix quickly analyzes data, offers forward-looking strategic guidance, and follows through with recommendations to optimize. Leveraging trends in “Big Data,” and by partnering with some of the most respected names in the industry, Crossix helps marketers get marketing messages to the desired audience. The Crossix patented methodology incorporates best-in-class privacy safeguards far exceeding HIPAA regulations. Founded in 2004, Crossix is headquartered in New York City.

1 Indices calculated by dividing (A) the percentage of the randomly-selected Crossix online panel sample who have filled at least one Rx or purchased at least one OTC product indicated for treatment of the respective condition category within the 12 month period prior to the analysis by (B) the same percentage observed among the sample of U.S. pharmacy-goers randomly selected from the Crossix Rx data network. An index equal to 100 reflects that the two percentages compared are identical.

2 Based on benchmark Crossix Digital Impact™ data collected from dozens of online advertising campaign analyses performed for multiple Rx brands across various condition categories in 2012 through 2013. Index calculated by dividing (A) the percentage of individuals exposed to the respective online campaigns who have filled at least one Rx indicated for treatment of the condition represented by the online campaign within the 12 month period prior to campaign exposure, and (B) the percentage of the general U.S. population of pharmacy-goers who have filled at least one Rx indicated for treatment of the same condition during the 12 month period prior to the analysis.

© 2013 Crossix Solutions Inc. All rights reserved. Crossix and the Crossix logo are trademarks of Crossix Solutions Inc.

All other trademarks appearing in this Press Release are the property of their respective owners and no association, affiliation, sponsorship or endorsement by those owners is either intended or implied.


Crossix Solutions
Lisa Barbadora, 610-420-3413

Release Summary

A new study by Crossix Solutions reveals parity in Rx and OTC purchase behavior between the online audience and general population, though notable differences for select condition categories.


Crossix Solutions
Lisa Barbadora, 610-420-3413