7 Questions to Ask Your Potential Programmatic Health Partner

July 28, 2021
Dylan Eisen

In the first blog in this series, you learned about the basics of programmatic advertising for healthcare. In this second post of the four-part series, you’ll learn about the questions you need to ask when evaluating potential DSP providers.

Long gone are the days of traditional advertising.

In the past, marketing budgets have been predominantly spent on direct media buys and even with the best strategy, there was no guarantee that ads will ever be seen by the target audience. But then programmatic came along.

Instead of patiently waiting for your audience to see you, programmatic puts the power in the advertiser’s hands. Now, healthcare marketers could skip the waiting and meet their audience where they are.

With this audience reach guarantee, healthcare marketers are beginning to phase out their long relationships with traditional advertising and are quickly adopting digital marketing. Researchers found that health marketers from pharma, biotech, and device and diagnostics, 95% used digital channels to reach healthcare professionals (HCPs) and 85% used digital to connect with consumers.

How to make sure you partner with the right programmatic provider

But before you jump on the bandwagon, it's important to note the one caveat about adtech: it’s a very crowded space and not all solutions are created equal. So, to help with your journey towards an efficient and cost-effective (oh, did we forget to mention programmatic costs 5x less than traditional ads) solution, here are seven questions to ask potential programmatic partners to make sure they fit your needs and help you reach your goals. 

1. Do you have best-in-class technology?

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised to see how many partners label themselves as “best-in-class.” This self pronouncement won’t help you achieve your goals alone, so make sure this potential partner offers a flexible and customizable solution with full platform capabilities. The platform should be fully unified and act as a one-stop-shop for all your ad tech needs, including an integrated DSP with access to reliable first-party data and contextual page data. ‍

2. Does your platform offer omnichannel capabilities?

From podcasts, social media, and even between episodes of your latest Hulu binger, advertisements can be seen and heard pretty much anywhere in the digital world. Omnichannel capabilities give you the most exposure to your audience and help to deliver personalized messaging throughout the user journey. Be sure your potential partner has access to display, native, search, video, audio, and a handful of cookieless media options such as CTV, DOOH, podcasts, and even the EHR

3. Do you use cross-device attribution?

When it comes to programmatic, identity is key. A great programmatic partner will also have cross-device attribution, which identifies multiple devices (i.e desktop, tablet, mobile, apps, etc.) attached to the same user, further optimizing campaign spend and performance across all digital touchpoints. 

4. How far is your scale and reach?

It’s also important that your future programmatic partner has the ability to reach your target audience at scale. With the greater majority of the U.S. population online, you want to make sure the platform has access to at least 90% of the population, expanding your reach to acquire new leads and engage existing ones. 

‍5. Will I have access to data, tracking and placements?

When using a platform that runs on algorithms, it is important to still have some element of control. Transparency into data, tracking, and placements will give you knowledge into where each dollar is spent and the overall value of media. These insights will not only help you optimize budgets of existing campaigns in real time but will help to plan budget and spend of future campaigns.

6. What brand safety vendors do you work with?

Especially in healthcare advertising, complying with all of the advertising standards and regulations is of the utmost importance. In addition to standard compliance with NAI, DAA, IAB, GDPR, and CCPA standards and HIPAA, your programmatic partner should have its inventory vetted through Integral Ad Science and work with a brand safety vendor like DoubleVerify and Pixalate. These partners help to prevent ad fraud and ensure spend is not wasted. Make sure you ask your potential partner all the ways they are working to protect your brand.

7. How robust are your reporting and insights dashboards?

Lastly, you will want to ensure your platform gives you access to actionable, real-time information about campaign performance. Dashboards with this information can help you to maximize your return on investment through gradual improvement based on insights from real-time campaign analytics. In turn, this knowledge will help you make more informed, data-driven decisions for your future campaigns and strategies.

Don’t take this very big decision lightly

In this new age of data-driven pharmaceutical sales, your DSP is the foundation of reaching HCPs and consumers along their healthcare journey. Of course, you can move from DSP platform to DSP platform, but that can be a disruption in your business, especially if you (or your agency) are managing a lot of campaigns. You are better off taking the time at the beginning to make the most informed decision possible. To help you with that, we put together this comprehensive guide on how to select the right partner for your programmatic needs

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