Health advertising companies are targeting people with cancer with direct response ads that target specific patients, including those who have had a positive diagnosis, a study has found.
Ads placed by the ad networks for direct response are targeting the patients who are likely to respond to the message, and the results are often encouraging, the study found.
The research, conducted by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found that direct response messages targeting patients who have cancer are being more effective than direct response campaigns targeting the general population, such as those targeting consumers at home.
“When patients are targeted directly by the ads, they are much more likely to accept the offer,” said Dr. Christopher McNeil, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor in MIT’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
“This suggests that direct message ads are being very effective in targeting patients.”
The findings are significant as they suggest that direct messages about the health effects of cancer might have the potential to be more effective in reducing the disease burden in the general community than the conventional approaches of direct messages, he said.
The direct response approach uses text or images to highlight the importance of the treatment and to help the patient understand the process of taking the medicine.
The ads are designed to be as personal as possible.
For the study, McNeil and his team looked at 1,828 direct response adverts placed by health advertising companies for direct message.
The direct response advertisers were more likely than the generic adverts to place a direct response message about the patient’s condition, which is usually not shown in direct response advertisements.
The researchers also asked the direct response companies to create direct response content, which was also more likely for the direct-response advertisers to create ads for the specific type of patients targeted.
The results showed that the direct message campaigns generated a positive response for 85 per cent of patients.
However, the ads did not have an impact on the overall health of the patient.
This finding is important as direct message advertisements are the fastest growing advertising medium, and may be an important part of the cancer care process, said Dr Marlene Krieger, a clinical professor in the Department of Health and Human Services at the University of Minnesota and one of the paper’s authors.
“If we want to do more than simply target individuals, direct response may be the way to go,” Kriegers said.
“Our data shows that direct-message campaigns can be more than just a cost-effective approach to increasing the effectiveness of cancer prevention programs.”
McNeil said the findings are not necessarily surprising, given the fact that direct communication has become the norm for the health care system in the US.
“What was surprising to us is that direct messaging has been shown to be effective in other contexts, including for people with diabetes,” he said, noting that direct interaction with patients can be a helpful tool for the management of diabetes.
McNeil’s work was funded by the National Institutes of Health (grants U01 HD163789, P01 HD062778, P30 HD099072, and K01 HD031177).