Traditionally, the healthcare and pharma industries haven’t advertised in the same way as most consumer brands. With the sharp rise in e-commerce over the past few years, consumers can browse different products online and are no longer selecting the first or most convenient thing they see. Instead, they are reading reviews, comparing prices, and doing more research to ensure that they are getting a great deal. Now swap “products” for “healthcare” and “deal” for “service,” and the same trend applies to healthcare and pharma.
Where patients used to choose doctors solely based on location, they are increasingly only working with providers that meet their needs. In fact, more than 90% of Americans will switch healthcare providers if they aren’t completely satisfied. Like traditional consumers, patients are willing to search for the best options, which is why healthcare advertising and pharma digital advertising must keep pace. Healthcare and pharma brands have to think of new ways to use digital marketing to get their messages in front of consumers looking for a healthcare or pharmaceutical solution — or risk losing out to competitors in their space who are already doing it.
Considering that as many as 5% of all Google searches are health-related and that most patients use online reviews to evaluate providers, it’s more important than ever for healthcare advertising to find data-driven solutions. This is especially important in SEO, which has a 14.6% close rate in converting patients. While many healthcare companies use direct mail and phone calls, companies that embrace omnichannel outreach have a much bigger advantage because they are reaching people who are actively searching for medical information. This targeted reach ultimately helps create authentic relationships with consumers and inspires brand loyalty.
Misconceptions Facing the Healthcare Advertising Industry
Even in 2022, advertisers tend to hold certain misconceptions about omnichannel outreach in healthcare advertising and pharma digital advertising. For starters, they assume that healthcare marketing is unethical based on certain pharma advertising trends. When it comes to omnichannel outreach, however, consumer privacy and compliance are key. That’s why companies like Digilant work with ethical partners to prioritize ethical views of their data practices.
People also assume that healthcare is “low-interest” and that consumers don’t want to interact with healthcare companies. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. It may not be as light or as glamorous as retail, but that’s why it’s so important for messages to be spot-on and target the right audience. On top of that, people are more likely to make an appointment with a healthcare provider if they first see a message online that prompts them to do so.
Additionally, many healthcare and pharma companies assume only some patients use search engines or that digital advertising tactics are too expensive. It’s important that these myths be busted, though. Ninety percent of Baby Boomers use search engines and email when gathering information before making a purchase — and information about healthcare is no exception. That’s why it’s so important for healthcare and pharma companies to optimize digital content. Second, while pharma digital advertising and healthcare digital advertising come with a cost, brands don’t need to spend millions of dollars to reach target audiences. Data-driven solutions can save companies’ advertising budgets and help them find an advertising strategy that works for them.
Data-Driven Solutions for Healthcare Advertising and Pharma Digital Advertising
As a healthcare or pharma advertiser, the idea of data-driven marketing and developing a multichannel strategy may seem intimidating, but it’s the best way to engage and capture new customers. Here are a few effective data-driven solutions to help increase reach and meet marketing goals:
Geotechnology enables healthcare and pharma advertisers to create custom locations by setting a specific radius around certain areas, such as hospitals and medical conferences. As a result, companies can better target their campaigns on display and mobile devices. This data-driven solution helps companies literally meet consumers where they are
2. Social Predict Segments
Social predict segments use real-time social monitoring to glean information from conversations people are having in the moment. Advertisers use this information to deliver relevant content to consumers. Ultimately, this also increases engagement through relevancy.
3. Contextual Targeting
Healthcare and pharma companies should also focus on contextual targeting, which is a powerful way to connect with consumers based on their surroundings and circumstances. For example, they could advertise based on the time of the year. Pharma advertising trends often reflect cold and flu season in certain months to reach patients who need certain medications. Think of different seasons and environments as opportunities to engage with people.
4. App Ownership
In case you haven’t realized it, healthcare and pharma are even more accessible via apps. This means that healthcare advertisers should target consumers who have relevant apps on their phones that they use to get care. Plus, these apps can be leveraged to establish credibility in the industry with medical journals, expert commentary, etc.
5. Digital Out-of-Home Advertising (DOOH)
DOOH enables advertisers to connect with consumers at different points in their day. Think about how many touchpoints a patient has with a brand before they’ve made a final decision. Utilizing DOOH allows brands to really connect with people at any time there’s an opportunity.
6. Condition-Based and Precise Audience Targeting
Digilant has access to data that informs advertising for health brands, hospital systems, government agencies, and more — all in a way that complies with HIPAA. For instance, it can target patients taking certain medications, those with certain conditions, those with a specific type of insurance, and more.
The risk of not embracing digital strategies can cost more than that of the advertising solutions themselves. Today’s consumers know what they want and are searching for the right company to deliver it. When healthcare providers and pharma companies fail to take an omnichannel strategy, they miss out on opportunities to attract new patients, retain current ones, and neglect those who prefer a personalized, digital-first approach.
To learn more about digital advertising in the healthcare and pharma spaces, click here.