Top Allergy Advertisers by Paid Search Clicks

Kantar Media recently studied U.S. Google desktop text ad activity on 33 top non-branded allergy-related keywords from January through June 2018, including ‘allergy symptoms’, ‘dust mites’, ‘allergy medications’, ‘seasonal allergy symptoms’ and ‘food allergies’.

To assess leadership in the category, we analyzed advertisers’ share of total clicks on the keyword group during the period. The following ranking includes the 17 advertisers who gained a click share above 1% on the allergy keyword group during the 6-month period as well as each’s click share for the same period in 2017. In addition to the 17 advertisers noted below, there were 150 other advertisers who competed on the keywords in the first half of the year but did not gain a click share above 1%.

OTC's Dominate Clicks

Over the counter (OTC) allergy medication brands dominated the results. GSK’s Flonase steroid nasal spray was the top advertiser on the keyword group, garnering 18.8% of all U.S. Google desktop text ad clicks on the 33 allergy-related keywords from January through June this year. Bayer’s Claritin antihistamine ranked second with a 14.1% click share, followed by Sanofi/Chattem’s Nasacort steroid nasal spray with a 13.7% click share.

Together, these three OTC brands gained nearly 47% of all clicks on the keyword group from January through June 2018—an 18 percentage point increase over their totals for the same period in 2017.  Nasacort generated the largest year-over-year increase in click share, jumping from 3.6% in 2017 to 13.7% in 2018, followed by Claritin, which increased its click share from 7.4% in 2017 to 14.1% in 2018, and finally Flonase, which increased its year-over-year click share by just 1 percentage point.

Three other OTC brands were among the top advertisers on the allergy keyword group. Sanofi’s Allegra and Xyzal generated a respective 5.5% and 1.9% click share, while Johnson & Johnson’s Zyrtec gained a 3% share of clicks. 

Nonprofits & Home Testing Kits

After OTC brands, nonprofit advocacy groups were the second most represented category in the results, with 4 organizations, Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America and its Kids With Food Allergies division, Food Allergy Research & Education, and Allergy Asthma Network, collectively garnering 13.8% of all clicks on the allergy keyword group.

The rising business of home medical diagnosis and DNA testing is represented in the results by home allergy test companies (6.8% click share) and (1.2% click share)

One Advertiser's Loss is Another's Gain

When advertisers increase their share of clicks on a given set of keywords, it is often at the expense of other advertisers’ performance.

Five of the top advertisers in the first half of 2018 actually dropped in performance compared to the same period of the previous year. Of these, Food Allergy Research & Education dropped the most, going from an 11.2% click share on the keyword group in 2017 to a 3.5% click share in 2018.

Prescription epinephrine injection device Auvi-Q declined in year-over-year click share as well, dropping from a 6.6% click share in the first half of 2017 to a 3.2% click share during the same months of 2018. However, Auvi-Q’s presence among the top advertisers on the allergy keywords for both years is still especially notable due to the absence of its chief competitor, the better known brand EpiPen.

EpiPen ranked 2nd in clicks on the allergy keyword group in the first half of 2016, generating a click share of 10.8%. However, the company dramatically scaled back its paid search advertising after the public outcry over parent company Mylan’s 600% increase in the price of EpiPen, a life-saving device.  Kantar Media data shows an insignificant amount of paid search activity on the allergy keywords by EpiPen in the first 6 months of 2017 and no activity at all in the same period of 2018.

Halls, Swiffer and Advil

Halls, Swiffer and Advil are household name brands, but none is particularly associated with allergy relief. Nonetheless, all three brands were among the most clicked advertisers on the allergy keyword group in the first half of 2018.

Mondelez’s Halls plugged its Halls Breezers lozenges for “allergy symptom relief”, P&G’s Swiffer cleaning product line touted its ability to “get rid of dust mite allergens” and Pfizer’s well-known painkiller brand Advil promoted its “Allergy/Congestion Relief” extension product.

While none of the brands had a click share above 0% on the keyword group in H1 2017, collectively they garnered nearly 6% of all clicks on the same keywords in H1 2018. This is a significant development because it means that the traditional allergy medications and nonprofit groups now have (what are likely) unexpected new competitors to contend with for both placement in Google search results and for consumer clicks and attention.  Indeed, the combined 6% click share for Halls, Swiffer and Advil was greater than individual click share of Allegra, Zyrtec and Xyzal.

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