The State of Native Healthcare Advertising During Covid-19 (Podcast)

June 11, 2020
Nick Ockert

In our podcast series “Coffee Chats”, we discuss one healthcare marketing topic in 10 minutes. Here we cover native healthcare advertising.

    What is Native Advertising?

Native advertising is paid advertising where the ad matches the form, feel and function of the content of the media on which it appears.

In the words of Nick Ockert, VP of Native: “Promote content from healthcare websites through ads that appear as sponsored stories on social media and adjacent to editorial across publishers.”

    What audiences trends have we seen during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Audience’s mental states are top of mind. There is a strong presence of uncertainty and worry. Sharecare’s Flatten the Curve survey indicates that 85% of people surveyed have felt some level of worry during this time.

Medical care has become even more of a priority than before. People are living with medical conditions that are in need of treatment, but with less access to in-person visits with physicians, they are seeking new ways to get treatment. As a direct result, telehealth is growing. The Medical Futurist showed that Amwell’s telemedicine app grew by 158% since January.  

In the non-medical workforce, audiences are primarily staying at home, giving them even more time to spend on their devices. In March, year-over-year mobile phone data usage grew by more than 50%, gaming consoles 48%, smart speakers 44%, streaming boxes/sticks 38% and connected TV 37%. (Source)

Circling back to healthcare advertising:

Healthcare marketers seek ways to reach their audiences, patients and physicians, especially during uncertain times. The internet is a great place to start the user journey when people are consistently at home and more digitally active than ever.

And the supply is there. Available DTC audience impressions grew in March 2020 up to 46% week over week and HCP 15%.

    What trends do we see with healthcare advertisers?

A common marketing statistic is that 70% of consumers prefer to learn about a new product or service through content rather than traditional advertising. So it makes sense that healthcare companies are creating great content to reflect on the health and wellbeing of people during this time.

Northwell’s Health’s Coronavirus Digital Resource Center is a great state of the art example of how to create a meaningful content hub.

Here are six quick tips every health marketer can implement:

  1. Creating content that assures people that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Be human and approach the consumer as you’re personally having a conversation with them about the pandemic. Provide helpful info about improving their health during this unique time.
  2. Take advantage of your existing content, and bring people to your site by promoting your content.
  3. Events for healthcare professionals are now virtual. Consider deploying your content to the attendees through deterministic NPI targeting.
  4. Sponsor newsletters programmatically.
  5. Utilize disease awareness content and patient testimonials to educate and encourage treatment.
  6. Deploy content through native channels to have a deeper connection with patients and physicians. 

Remember, native advertising is still effective even during a pandemic.

PulsePoint witnessed a campaign for medical devices in the sensitive condition space in March. We ran display units head-to-head with a native campaign. The native assets outperformed the display units by 5x website conversion rates allowing PulsePoint to drive the Cost-per-Lead down to 50% of the set goal. This campaign also illustrated how targeting contextually is so important.

What the “new normal” in native healthcare advertising could look like?

Audiences are online. And audiences have medical conditions. It is essential to get appropriate information to improve their health now more than ever. Focusing on educating, building relationships and trust with consumers through content and native should be your number one goal. 

As more healthcare brands adopt native advertising, companies that don’t will possibly receive less audience traffic on their sites, fewer conversions, and more importantly, may lose the attention of their consumer base.

Online marketing to physicians is becoming crucial in times where no-see policies are increasing for pharmaceutical reps. Educating HCPs early on with branded and unbranded content needs to be part of the healthcare marketer’s brand strategy. 

What can health marketers learn from other industries? 

Relate through emotion: Empathy and “feel good” campaigns are in right now. Anheuser Busch, Budweiser, Royal Caribbean and IBM all serve as examples as leading with empathetic messaging. 

Different set ups: Content is often deployed through native channels through various formats. Ally Bank’s video series with Katie Couric focuses on the positives amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Compliant workarounds: While healthcare as an industry is heavily regulated in terms of creatives and messaging, other industries have found workflows to incorporate native and content in their promotional plans.

Make sure to listen to the full podcast and subscribe to our mailing list.

Get more content delivered right to your inbox. Signup for the pulsepoint newsletter today

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.