The Great Healthcare Ad Shift: Programmatic Media

October 25, 2021
Dylan Eisen

Change in healthcare can take a very long time. =

But sometimes, it happens fast. 

Rigorously analyzed data from H1 2021 shows beyond doubt that healthcare is rapidly and massively moving away from traditional advertising to high quality programmatic platforms.  

PulsePoint’s data documents the healthcare industry’s powerful shift to digital, showing:

  • Growth in all major digital ad formats:
  • Display grew by 68%
  • Video usage increased by 135% 
  • Native expanded by a whopping 313%
  • 42% increase in impressions
  • 41% growth in the number of campaigns
  • Average campaign size grew by 30%
  • 37% more consumer impressions 
  • 31% greater HCP impressions

Programmatic is quickly becoming the medium of choice to reach both HCPs and consumers, while traditional ways of reaching these audiences are fading fast. For example, sales reps, the well-established intermediaries between healthcare manufacturers and HCPs, are seeing their roles radically reduced. And broadcast TV, the longstanding conduit to healthcare consumers, is shrinking to a fraction of the market. 

How can healthcare marketers use the insights from PulsePoint’s platforms to maximize their reach to both consumers and HCPs? Here are three specific action steps to take.

1. Personalize, digitally

The pandemic proved, beyond further doubt, that now is the time for the slow transition away from in-person HCP sales contacts to speed up—significantly. The good news is that digital technology is enabling that acceleration while adding an exciting level of effectiveness. 

Data from Report: Health Media H1 2021 demonstrate the new reality, showing a whopping 202% increase in digital efforts to reach specific physicians.

Smart healthcare marketers are using advanced programmatic ad technology to: 

  • Identify specific HCPs who are engaging with their brand sites 
  • Access and employ personalized insights about those doctors and what actions they take
  • Understand the role brand sites play as a key HCP touchpoint
  • Maximize campaign impact and shape campaign decisions

2. Focus on mobile, advertise in apps

In H1 2021, consumers’ and HCPs’ move to mobile became a stampede. Strikingly, mobile impressions on PulsePoint’s Life platform were 49% higher in June compared to January. During that same period, desktop impressions went down 14%. As a result, about 70% of H1 2021 impressions were served on mobile devices, and only about 30% on desktop.

Mobile’s surge is translating to substantial increases in the use of in-app impressions to connect with both HCPs and consumers. In fact, during H1 2021, healthcare marketers’ usage of in-app impressions grew at nearly double the rate of site impressions. 

This data shows that marketers increasingly recognize the value of mobile’s laser-like targeting, as well as the effectiveness of app advertising, as they work to boost their brands’ market penetration.

3. Add Connected Television (CTV) 

Connected television (CTV) offers exceptional targeting ability, and so must be considered as part of any healthcare marketing mix. CTV provides high-quality content and the volume of its programming is exploding, making it increasingly popular with audiences—and, again, those audiences include both consumers and HCPs. CTV delivers exceptionally precise targeting without cookies, while retaining the high engagement levels of linear TV.

Recognizing the need to take these steps, many healthcare companies are assessing the benefits of taking programmatic buying in-house. In addition to the obvious potential for cost savings, eliminating the middleman can also add a level of control. 

But, whether you employ a digital agency or bring the function in-house, transitioning to digital adtech requires specific kinds of expertise and high levels of competence. In fact, these days, selecting the right programmatic partner has become one of the most vital decisions a marketer has to make. 

For starters, it’s critical to identify a flexible and customizable solution with full platform capabilities. What are those capabilities? To mention a few, the platform must be fully unified—a genuine one-stop-shop for all your ad tech needs. It must include an integrated DSP with access to reliable first-party data and contextual page data. Audiences see and hear digital ads across everything from podcasts and social media to CTV and beyond, so the platform must provide true omni-channel coverage. And a great programmatic partner will also offer cross-device attribution, which identifies multiple devices connected to the same user to optimize campaign spend and performance.

‍Again, that’s just for starters. If you are ready to join the multitude of marketers adopting programmatic to connect with specific health audiences, it’s time to get to know PulsePoint. Learn how our solutions can unlock essential insights and deliver on your goals.

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