When executing direct-to-consumer campaigns, life sciences marketers are faced with a challenge: how can they reach brand-eligible patients consistently and cost-effectively? As consumers spend more time across more connected devices than ever, executing an omnichannel strategy has seemed like the ticket to success. But simply showing up wherever consumers’ eyes are may not be enough.
Some estimate that consumers see more than 5,000 ads per day. While there’s debate about how accurate that figure is, the reality is that the exact number doesn’t matter – getting the right audience’s attention does. And according to a report on trends in media usage in 2014, when exposed to ads, the average adult spared as little as a few seconds of attention for less than half.
The digital marketing landscape has only gotten more cluttered in the intervening years, which means today’s consumers are likely harder to engage, no matter how inspired your creative is. As a result, life sciences brands are reconsidering how many dollars they’re wasting serving ads to uninterested consumers in the pursuit of increasing reach.
As a performance metric, advertising reach has its uses, but in life sciences marketing in particular, how many people you’re reaching isn’t as important as who you’re reaching. Over the last several years, pharmaceutical brands have seen the value of direct-to-consumer marketing but have found success in this area is hard to sustain or scale.
With looming cookie deprecation and tightening advertising budgets, life sciences marketers need to find ways to enhance their audience-building and targeting capabilities.
The Unique Challenges of Consumer Media Execution in Life Sciences
Think back over your own ad consumption. In the past 48 hours alone, between internet browsing, TV watching, or even podcasting listening, you’ve likely heard, seen, or clicked an ad (if not dozens) that you don’t remember. As anyone in the digital marketing world will know, each of those wasted opportunities costs money – lowering the return on investment of that campaign.
Reaching exactly the right audience with the right message is critical for effective media execution in life sciences. Both in-house and agency marketers managing campaigns for healthcare and pharmaceutical brands are feeling the pressure to improve campaign efficiency.
That’s true of digital marketing and advertising in general, but a number of industry-specific constraints make consumer media execution in life sciences that much more complicated. These marketers need to balance campaign management, media buying, campaign monitoring, and optimization while also:
- Staying in compliance with data privacy regulations. As outlined by Health and Human Services, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), protected health information can’t be used for marketing purposes without explicit authorization. That makes it more difficult for healthcare and pharmaceutical brands to achieve the precise targeting they need to maximize their advertising spending.
- Reaching highly specific patient cohorts. Individual drug brands are often suited for highly specific patient profiles, built with data aggregated from medical claims. Traditional targeting technologies, such as third-party cookies, have been used to target patients based on privacy-safe consumer data, but these solutions leave much to be desired when it comes to audience quality.
- Marketing highly complex products to a lay audience. When most people think of advertising, catchy slogans and eye-catching visuals likely come to mind. While those may be components of a campaign, these ads primarily need to give consumers a clear, compelling reason to remember and discuss an advertised treatment with their healthcare provider. That’s difficult to achieve in formats that give you limited time or space to explain how a specific treatment is potentially relevant and beneficial to consumers.
High Audience Quality Drives Effective Consumer Media Execution
With all the time and effort that goes into media planning, it may feel like media execution should be more turn-key. If you’ve already put in the work of defining your target audience, devising your core messaging, and even developing a channel strategy, all that’s left to do is buying, scheduling, and placing your well-crafted ads – right?
In reality, even with the automated capabilities of programmatic advertising platforms, effectively executing ads is a never-ending exercise in optimization. And your media execution can only be as effective as the audience quality you achieve.
Brands that have more control over their audience quality are better equipped to reach niche audiences (think specialized oncology drugs or rare disease treatments) and optimize ad visuals and messaging during the next iteration of their campaign.
For decades, the most common approach to reaching consumers has been building lookalike audiences and targeting them using third-party cookies. The problem with using lookalike audiences – which relies on probabilistic modeling – is that you can’t be sure that your ads are reaching the patients who fit your audience profile, leaving you to keep serving ads to an increasingly unknown audience.
Take Advantage of Deterministic ID Resolution with Medicx
According to internal data from Google, most advertisers see audience match rates between 29% and 62%. Those are the results marketers get with lookalike audiences – wasted advertising spending with little direction on how to course correct for the next campaign launch.
As more browsers block third-party cookies and other digital channels arise (e.g, connected TV/OTT), the unmatched segment of your reached audience is likely to keep growing. Life sciences brands will need to future-proof their approach to advertising, not only to implement an alternative to cookie-based targeting but to increase match rates and maximize campaign ROI.
Instead of relying on probabilistic modeling, what if brands could take advantage of medical claims and consumer data to precisely target patients of interest? That’s what we’ve made possible with our advanced identity resolution solution, MX#, and our Micro-Neighborhood® targeting platform.
MX# matches consumer data to the same medical and prescription claims data you use to build precise audience profiles without risking patient reidentification. Then, through the Micro-Neighborhood platform, those resolved identities are aggregated to millions of hyperlocal groups available for precise filtering and targeting.
Taking this approach means you have the confidence of knowing — not hoping – that your ads are being served to your target audience, allowing you to achieve higher match rates and greater campaign ROI.
Contact us to learn more about how Medicx uses deterministic ID resolution to deliver the audience quality you need.