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Walgreens bolsters mobile prescriptions via mobile ad campaign

Walgreens is aiming to drive downloads of its iPhone application with an iAd campaign that promotes the company’s mobile prescription program.

The Walgreens mobile ads promote the company’s mobile app that lets users refill prescriptions by scanning a bar code placed on medicine bottles. The ads automatically direct users to Apple’s App Store where consumers can download the app.

“Mobile ads can be effective in driving app downloads as long as the call to action and value proposition is clearly conveyed,” said Wilson Kerr, Boston-based mobile marketing consultant.

Mr. Kerr is not affiliated with Walgreens. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

“In 2009, prescription sales exceeded $300 billion, and if consumers can benefit from avoiding the manual, traditional hassles of remembering when and what needs to be refilled or where the nearest Walgreens is, an ad that conveys this would likely be very effective in driving app downloads,” he said.

Mobile refill
The Walgreens ads are running in Apple’s iAd network, including the TV Guide iPhone app.

The Walgreens mobile banner ads read, “Refill prescriptions in seconds” with a picture of the Walgreens logo.

Once users tap on the ads, they are taken to an in-app landing page where they can download the app.

Unlike some click-to-download mobile ads, users can download the Walgreens app from inside the ad, which keeps the consumer interacting with the marketing message.

In-app stores are also effective because they keep users inside the branded environment that was created from the ad.

Since Walgreens is promoting an iPhone app, an iAd campaign is a smart platform to use so the company can target only relevant consumers.

However, the app is also available for Android devices, and since the campaign is targeted at Apple-only users, Walgreens is not able to reach all of its consumers via the mobile ads.

Using the iPhone app, users can scan the bar code on their prescriptions to automatically reorder it or find the nearest Walgreens location.

Once ordering a prescription, users are sent a text alert when their prescription is ready.

Virtual prescriptions
Most recently, Walgreens reported that 25 percent of online prescriptions were made via mobile, showing the importance that the channel plays in the company’s overall digital marketing (see story).

In addition to the prescription app, Walgreens also has an iPad app, a mobile site and an SMS program.

Therefore, it is clear why mobile advertising is vital for Walgreens to spread the word on its mobile services.

By using mobile ads, Walgreens is able to promote mobile refills to consumers who are on the go and may not know about the Walgreens app otherwise.

Mobile prescriptions are quickly rising in popularity with consumers with CVS and Winn-Dixie also dabbling in mobile.

“Once a consumer is won over by the scan-and-fill functionality, for example, Walgreen’s can then capture usage data and tailor the coupons, specials, and other personalized promotions to maximize ROI,” Mr. Kerr said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York