Publishing Group Delves Into Pharma Performance

Hoping to increase its credibility with its core category of pharma advertising, Publishing Group of America has launched a proof-of-performance program for drug ads running in its newspaper-distributed inserts, American Profile, Relish and Spry.

For the program, PGA partnered with a third-party data collector, SDI. By overlaying ZIP-code data in PGA’s markets with SDI’s prescription-use data from drugstores, hospitals and doctors, PGA will be able to show drug advertisers if their ads led to a change in sales and patient usage over time—as well as adjust their message accordingly, said Dick Porter, CEO, PGA, adding that the SDI data is anonymous.

“Pharmaceutical advertisers are under great duress to show accountability in their spend,” Porter said. “It’s the first time they can really overlay a medium against prescription data and see if they can correlate changes in behaviors…[t]hat’s nirvana.”

The SDI partnership also could be used to inform editorial coverage, Porter added. If the data identify PGA market as overindexing in cholesterol drug use, for instance, “it might be a real service to readers to say, ‘here are a bunch of low-cholesterol recipes,’” he said.