Pharmaceutical advertisers should focus their attention on producing a branded website to make the most of their online marketing budgets, a new study has found.

The study, comScore and Evolution Road’s e-Marketing Effectiveness Benchmarks for the Pharmaceutical Industry, evaluated the relative effectiveness of different types of advertising including search marketing, banner ads and having a strongly-branded site.

According to the results, getting a patient to visit a branded pharmaceutical website is the most effective way of online marketing for the industry and is most likely to result in sales.

Spending on search engine optimization (SEO) and other search tactics accounts for nearly half of all American companies’ expenditure on online marketing, MarketingSherpa’s 2009 Search Marketing Benchmark Guide has revealed today.

Research director for the company Stefan Tornquist said the research was designed to act as a guide for online marketers wanting to decide how much to invest in SEO and other search marketing techniques.