Consumers continue to cut ties with traditional TV and cable services, prompting industries like the prescription pharmaceutical industry to evolve their marketing mix to accommodate emerging media.
Pharma advertisers spend billions on traditional TV advertising, but as streaming services began to experience explosive growth early in the pandemic, advertising strategies had to adapt. TV-centric advertisers relied on (and still rely on) dayparting (scheduling ads during certain times of the day) and buying programming that supports key demographics. However, as consumer media consumption habits changed, pharma companies were faced with the challenge of reaching consumers who were becoming increasingly reliant on streaming services. According to Variety, companies like AT&T, Charter, and Comcast continue to experience customer migration to streaming services, a full two years into the pandemic.
CTV, OTT, and digital video are proving to be innovative and effective ways for pharma organizations to reach consumers while maintaining compliance and ensuring privacy safeguards for consumers. Digital marketing spending in pharma advertising has continued on an upward trajectory over recent years; in 2021, it crossed the $1 billion threshold and is forecasted to grow 14.4% this year.
Marketers and advertisers in 2022 will increase their ad spend on programmatic CTV by 39.2%, following an 82.4% increase in 2021. While traditional TV ad spending remained virtually stagnant from 2020 to 2021, the traditional TV ad format still made up 68% of all spending for 2021. Marketers who are shifting their ad investments towards CTV are doing so because the medium enables them to target their ads more granually and serve them programmatically. For pharma advertisers, CTV enables the flexibility to run both long and short-form content. And for pharma companies that still want to maintain a traditional linear TV presence, advertising with CTV, OTT and digital video ads can help to extend the reach of that traditional TV messaging to other devices and audiences.
Pharma advertisers invest in TV spots that are designed to be shown to a broad audience. A major benefit of advertising across connected devices is that it enables companies to leverage online data and target prospective consumers at the household level. This will help advertisers develop better customer connections and offer tailor-made digital experiences that are relevant to a specific consumer and health decision-makers in the household.
By utilizing technology like QR codes in CTV/OTT ad creative, pharma advertisers can easily turn a “lean back” TV experience for consumers into a “lean in” experience. Including an interactive feature like a QR code gives consumers the choice to engage with the ad and learn more information about a product or brand.
CTV, OTT, and digital video channels give advertisers the flexibility to adapt ad formats and messaging based on audience media consumption habits. For example, pharma marketers can capture the attention of audiences viewing CTV with an evocative and impactful video ad that creates an emotional connection. For audiences using their personal devices and who are in a more “lean-in” mindset, marketers can integrate interactive features, personalized ad messaging, product information, etc. within their video ads to engage these users. Interactive video ads in tandem with CTV/OTT not only encourage consumers to engage with the brand but may provide pharma advertisers with more engagement points. Additionally, running multiple video formats can be helpful for reaching a specific audience or prospective condition.
From a regulatory perspective, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in partnership with pharmaceutical companies, has stringent regulations for advertising to consumers and HCPs, alike. Pharma brands must fully provide disclaimers of the drugs they are advertising and selling in the United States and go through a legal review process. CTV, OTT, and digital video formats allow pharma marketers to include ISI (Important Safety Information) and Major Statements to ensure compliance. Digital video formats can also support both short and long-form videos.
As consumer habits continue to evolve, it is vital for pharma brands to take advantage of digital video and CTV environments to reach consumers in the right place, at the right time. By allocating increased media budgets toward a mix of CTV, OTT, and digital video, pharmaceutical brands can reap the benefits of extended reach, precise audience targeting, and agile marketing.
About Lauren Ohlsson
Lauren is responsible for leading a cross-functional team tasked with developing strategic solutions for Pharmaceutical and Healthcare clients. Lauren is a 17-year veteran of the digital media industry. Prior to joining VDX.tv, she began her career at a digital agency in Los Angeles on the accounts side, followed by leading digital strategy in the QSR Industry. She has held leadership roles in account service at VDX.tv and has been focused on the development of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare solutions since 2019. Lauren holds an MBA from California State University, Long Beach and her BS from California Polytechnic, San Luis Obispo.