Top medical advertising trends for 2013

Pharmaceutical companies will be increasingly teaming up with video advertisers and other online marketing experts to better leverage their digital channels in 2013.

Posted on Jan 4, 2013 by YuMe

Internet video advertising has over the past few years become one of the most productive and effective ways to reach a large audience. According to Medical Marketing and Media (MMM), pharmaceutical companies will be increasingly teaming up with video advertisers and other online marketing experts to better leverage their digital channels in 2013.

An "area where we will see more acceleration, in terms of media, will be in the use of online video," Deborah Dick-Rath, president of healthcare consultancy firm Epic Proportions, said to MMM. "Just as the cost of TV buys will continue to drive expansion of online video, so too, will more companies launch websites with curated content, content focused not just on disease but on lifestyle and things like travel, too. Exciting online video will be a part of that expansion."

Digital formats are already one of the most fruitful avenues for pharmaceutical companies, although MMM reported that current trends in medical ad buying will likely boost interest in internet video advertising going forward. During the first six months of 2012, pharmaceutical and healthcare companies accounted for 6 percent of all money spent on online marketing formats, with total ad dollars combined equaling about $1.1 billion, according to a report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). In comparison, the $608 million spent by healthcare and pharmaceutical companies during the first half of 2011 accounted for 4 percent of all ad dollars going into digital marketing.

Drivers of online ad spending among pharmaceutical firms
One of the major reasons major drug makers are beginning to more heavily rely on online video ads and other web-based formats, according to Dick-Rath, is because consumers are more frequently using personal devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops for medical information and for media consumption. Increasingly, consumers have become more wary of in-person interactions and turn to online channels for information. Healthcare supply companies trying to reach a large audience now have to consider digital formats.

"As face-to-face access to customers continues to challenge us and as more and more customers start raising their hand in favor of non-personal engagement, investments in multiple channels of reach will continue to rise," Susan Dorfman, chief marketing and innovation officer for pharmaceutical services company CMI, said to MMM.

For example, a Pew Research Center study from November 2012 found that of the 85 percent of American adults who now own a cellphone, 31 percent turn to their mobile device to find healthcare or medical information. In comparison, 17 percent of cellphone owners said they engaged in this type of behavior in September 2010.