TV Conquesting & Prescription Medications

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Case Studies - Competitive TV Conquesting: Pharmaceutical Industry

Pharmaceutical companies target doctors, low CPA, patients during their treatment cycles, and engage in competitive conquesting (through search-based targeting); a local pharmacy was able to increase foot traffic through a combination of geofencing and conquest advertising. These are just some applications of competitive television conquesting as an advertising tactic.



  • Geofencing, as a competitive conquest strategy, allows users to target their competitors based on under-performing rates or practices. Geofencing systems serve ads to individuals that walk within the geofence's perimeter; the geofence system uses these ads to track and measure foot traffic. Propellant Media, an online advertising agency, is one of the companies that tracks and measures geofencing data related to healthcare and pharmaceutical companies (among the other sectors it serves).
  • Halfway through a four-month campaign, Propellant Media reported delivering a cost-per-action (CPA) of $12.68, significantly exceeding their original goal of $100. Additionally, Propellant reported a click-through-rate (CTR) of 0.18%, double the industry average of 0.08%-0.1%, for the cross-device matched geofencing desktop ads.
  • A successful example of the technique is that of a pharmaceutical company promoting a treatment for a common eye condition. The company targeted optometrists and ophthalmologists and achieved a CPA of $100 using Propellant Media’s geofencing. In this case, Propellant Media designated the geofences around doctors’ offices; the company was able to use its multivariate algorithms to perform mid-flight optimizations (e.g., fine-tuning keywords and shifting budgets to higher performing keywords and tactics) during the product's launch.


  • Silverlight Digital leverages the appropriate targeting methods combined with competitive conquesting to reach advertising targets in critical micro-economies.
  • Silverlight reports that competitor brand-name searches accounted for ~12% of all search impressions; most searches occurred on desktop devices instead of mobile devices. Though mobile devices accounted for 29% of searches, double CTR meant mobile devices created search volumes similar to desktops.
  • Silverlight’s work in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry accounts for 70% of its total business. A successful example of their technique is that of Dymista, which was able to reach Flonase patients with an offer to try Dymista at the height of allergy season.


  • Conquest advertising (or conquesting) is the practice of targeting competitors with your advertisements. Paid Search Ads in Apple’s App Store allow marketers to promote their apps at the top of the App Store’s search results. These have proven successful for major companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Yahoo; Apple’s search-based targeting is a perfect fit for conquesting.
  • Apple also uses a bidding model and a system where it calculates the advertising’s relevance to provide better results.
  • Amazon is currently competing with CVS’s pharmacy refill app and Sam’s Club’s Boxed app. Singular reports that the cost-per-install (CPI) of Apple Search Ads averages $1.31 compared to $8.63 for Google and Bing. Additionally, the CPI for social platforms averages $5.84 for app-install ads and $2.99 for display ads.
  • A successful example of the technique is Apple’s hands-on approach to conquesting, which determines the factors (e.g., descriptors or categories) that will give marketers the biggest boost.


  • Geofencing combined with conquesting would allow a pharmacy to track foot traffic and target those customers that were unable to find a vendor. The pharmacy could then use conquesting to reach that audience and measure the number of conversions.
  • According to Propellant, geofencing combined with conquesting reached an average CTR of 0.18%, a significant improvement over the industry average of 0.1%. In real terms, Propellant managed to drive over 10 visitors to their client with this technique.
  • A successful example of the technique involved the client’s selection of geofences that included competitor pharmacies and grocery stores. These were used to measure the number of conversions achieved through the campaign; the geofences were also used to determine which locations delivered the best engagement and visibility.

Research Strategy:

We began our investigation with industry reports, blogs, and agency sites like Adweek, eMarketer, Adage, Silverlight Digital, Propellant Media, Leo Burnett, 72andSunny, and others. We then collected the details on pharmaceutical companies and details on why these companies use competitive television conquesting from these sources. Using this data, we were able to assemble information concerning metrics of efficacy (including cost-per-action, cost-per-view, click-through-rate, and cost-per-install) and the results of advertising campaigns. However, one of the references we include is outside our time frame for timely sources. We include this reference because we were unable to find more recent alternatives after a thorough search.
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External Factors - Impacting The Sale Of Prescription Severe Asthma Medications

While the external factors that impact the sale of severe asthma prescription medications in the United States are not readily available in the public domain, available information on said medications suggests that the most influential factors are the approval of new severe asthma prescription drugs, the pipeline of promising severe asthma drugs, and the rise of biologics. A notable but likely less influential factor is the launch of a new clinician-patient decision-making tool. Recent approvals by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) broaden the range of severe asthma treatment options to include precision or personalized therapies, self-administration at home, and new therapies or drugs for patients who are not eligible to receive previously approved therapies.


  • Given that growth in the global asthma treatment market is driven by the launch of new drugs, growth in sales of severe asthma prescription medications in the United States is likely driven by approvals of new severe asthma prescription drugs and administration methods. The approvals increase the number of treatment options available to severe asthma patients.
  • In the past 24 months, the FDA has approved the marketing of a number of prescription therapies for specific severe asthma indications. The prescription therapies that were given approval include Dupixent (dupilumab), Fasenra (benralizumab), and Nucala (mepolizumab).
  • Regeneron and Sanofi's Dupixent was approved in October 2018 as an add-on maintenance therapy for patients with moderate or severe asthma who have either (a) an eosinophilic phenotype or (b) an oral corticosteroid dependency. Dupixent is the first asthma biologic to allow self-administration at home. Clinical trial results show that the drug was able to improve lung function, reduce oral corticosteroid use, and reduce severe exacerbations.
  • AstraZeneca's Fasenra was approved in November 2017 for the add-on maintenance treatment of severe asthma patients who are aged 12 years or older and whose severe asthma is characterized by eosinophilic inflammation. Fasenra, "the first respiratory biologic with an 8-week maintenance dosing schedule," helps by targeting and quickly depleting eosinophils. Trial results indicate a decrease in the annual asthma exacerbation rate (AAER) of up to 51%, a marked improvement of at most 159 ml in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), a median decrease of 75% in daily oral corticosteroid use, discontinuation of oral corticosteroid use in 52% of qualified patients, and an adverse event profile comparable to that of the placebo.
  • Two new options for administration of GlaxoSmithKline's Nucala, a pre-filled safety syringe and an auto-injector, were approved in June 2019. The auto-injector is the first of its kind among respiratory biologics in the United States. A patient or a caregiver can administer Nucala using either the syringe or the auto-injector so long as the doctor prescribes it.


  • Apart from FDA's recent severe asthma-related approvals, there are several other promising drugs in the severe asthma drug development pipeline, the most prominent of which is Amgen and Astrazeneca's tezepelumab. Severe asthma patients not currently served by existing therapies have these pipeline drugs to look forward to.
  • Amgen and Astrazeneca's tezepelumab was granted a Breakthrough Therapy Designation in September 2018 for the treatment of patients with severe asthma who do not have the eosinophilic phenotype. Early clinical trial results indicate a potentially significant improvement over other existing medicines that the FDA wanted to expedite the regulatory process. According to David M. Reese, M.D., a top research and development executive at Amgen, "the Phase 2b PATHWAY trial data demonstrated tezepelumab's promise as a novel therapeutic option for a broad population of patients with severe asthma, including those ineligible for currently approved biologic therapies."
  • Other promising drugs in development include Fevipiprant (QAW039) and Navarixin (SCH527123).


  • A number of biologics have been approved recently, giving patients with severe asthma access to personalized or precision therapy.
  • According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, "recently, several new medications, known collectively as “biologics,” have been approved for the treatment of moderate-to-severe asthma."
  • What makes biologics different from other severe asthma therapies is their ability to provide personalized or precision therapy. They do this by targeting a certain antibody, cell receptor, or inflammatory molecule that is associated with asthma. Biologics are made from living organism cells.
  • Biologics that have already been approved for marketing in the United States include mepolizumab, omalizumab, reslizumab, dupilumab, and benralizumab.
  • Cost-wise, biologics are costlier than other severe asthma prescription medicines. They cost several thousands of dollars a year. Fasenra (benralizumab), for example, costs $38,000 in the initial year and $28,000 to $33,000 in subsequent years.
  • The use of eosinophils as biomarkers appears to be a growth driver, as the United States eosinophilic asthma treatment market is projected to grow at a high compound annual growth rate in succeeding years.


  • Four organizations, namely, the CHEST Foundation, the foundation arm of the American College of Chest Physicians, the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, and the Allergy and Asthma Network, have worked together to launch the Shared Decision Making Tool.
  • The digital and interactive tool was developed to help the clinician and the patient collaborate better in selecting the best treatment plan and improving medication adherence. It also aims to help patients manage their asthma better and recognize when asthma is severe.
  • According to Bradley Chipps, M.D., president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, "fully informed conversations regarding asthma treatment mean greater asthma control and ultimately increased relief for those suffering with asthma."