The healthcare industry has always been a crowded and competitive field. But as more brands level up their digital marketing capabilities, healthcare marketers need to execute campaigns more efficiently to stay ahead.Patients and providers spend more time online than ever, which means digital marketing is a valuable tool for getting their attention, earning their trust, and improving brand performance.But digital media planning and execution isn’t as simple as choosing a channel and hitting launch on your campaign. You not only need to carefully tailor your ads to your target audience and chosen channel, but you also need a plan in place to effectively measure and optimize your campaigns over time.Measuring digital campaign performance is the only way that healthcare marketers can increase the return on investment (ROI) for paid ads over time.Showing ad ROI has become especially important for healthcare marketers as, in recent years, marketing budgets in healthcare and pharmaceuticals have dropped an average of 8%. But despite these tightening budgets, the majority of brands in this industry are still shifting resources toward digital tactics over traditional advertising channels.
Precision Targeting Is Essential for Increasing Advertising ROI
While some digital channels are less expensive than their traditional counterparts – for example, traditional TV ads vs connected TV or direct mail marketing vs email – digital media isn’t necessarily synonymous with “low cost.”So why are so many healthcare brands maintaining digital media budgets – including for more expensive channels like paid social when cutting across the board?The reason is precision targeting.More so perhaps than in any other sector, precision targeting and audience quality are everything when it comes to campaign performance in healthcare marketing. Unlike other products and services, those offered in healthcare are often only suited to a very specific group of people.As a result, healthcare marketers need to reach, educate, and engage very specific groups of brand-eligible patients and providers. There are two ways to do this:
Reach a larger group of people – which means focusing on increasing ad impressions – in order to reach more of your target audience.
Precisely target your exact audience based on demographic and behavioral data.
Many healthcare and pharma brands are still early in their digital marketing journey. Often, it’s tempting for these brands to direct more resources toward lower-cost channels that promise more impressions per dollar. These channels have their uses – for example, they can be great ways to increase brand recognition or deliver unbranded content for the purpose of patient and healthcare provider education.But for conversion-focused campaign activities, the dollars you’re saving upfront with “cheaper” advertising options are wasted when most of your paid media are delivered to the wrong audience. And the more time and money you spend on the wrong audience, the harder time you’ll have when trying to optimize for better performance and ROI.
Combine Precision Targeting and Metrics for Data-Driven Campaigns
Healthcare marketers need to measure the performance of ad campaigns among specific audience segments – defined by parameters like demographics, location, and other variables. Taking this approach can help healthcare marketers fine-tune their channel strategy, messaging, and targeting, ensuring they’re maximizing the impact of their advertising spending.For healthcare marketing in particular, advertising channels like paid social, digital display advertising, paid search, and connected TV are only as valuable as the precision of their targeting capabilities. Using retargeting technologies to serve paid social and display ads, for example, has been shown to reach audiences that are 70% more likely to convert.At the same time, however, healthcare brands are also preparing for the transition away from cookie-based marketing. Many are looking to cookieless channels like CTV and streaming audio, which have been shown to increase click-through rates (CTRs) by 167% and conversion rates by 240% for healthcare and pharmaceuticals.No matter which channels they use, today or tomorrow, healthcare marketers need to consistently execute and measure campaigns in ways that allow them to optimize based on their target audience’s behavior. By using channels that allow precise targeting and tracking campaign metrics like CTRs, conversion rates, and cost per acquisition over time, healthcare marketers can make data-driven decisions about their advertising strategy and steadily increase campaign ROI.OpenHuddle is an efficiency-oriented media agency – that means we focus on helping healthcare brands make every impression count, maximizing the reach and impact of every ad served and every advertising dollar spent. And our team helps healthcare organizations effectively measure their performance today to optimize planning and execution for success tomorrow. To learn how we can help you do the same, contact us.
Ajay Prasad, Forbes Agency Council (2022). Physician Marketing In The Age Of Healthcare Consumerism
Sarah Mahoney, MM+M (2023). The 2023 Healthcare Marketers Trend Report: A trim off the top
Natalie Missakian, Fierce Pharma (2022). Connected TV works 'harder and smarter' for the ad dollar, new analysis finds
Remi Patel, Experian Blog (2021). Direct mail vs. email
adfirehealth (2022). Retargeting for HCP Campaigns: 3 Reasons it’s Great for Your ROAS
OpenHuddle (2022). Is Your Organization Ready to Let Go of Third-party Cookies?
AdAge (2022). How Dooh, Streaming Audio and CTV Connect The Cookieless, Multi-Device World
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