The Prescription for Pharma Industry? More Digital Advertising

The first Bayer ad for aspirin in 1893 advertised the drug as “instant relief! You’ll feel better fast! Relax as your pain goes away!” For brands in the pharma industry, the same can be said about digital advertising.

Pharma ad spend continues to climb around the world, with WARC (World Advertising Research Center) predicting an uptick of 4.9% globally in 2021. The biggest shift in the sector? The move towards digital.

When it comes to advertising, the pharma industry has always been the more cautious member of the pack due to regulations and compliance. It wasn’t until the 1990s that drug companies turned their attention to individual consumers in print, TV, and radio ads. Today, the US and New Zealand are the only countries that even allow direct to consumer advertising for pharma brands.

In the past few years, pharmaceutical companies have been leaning into their digital strategies. US healthcare and pharma advertisers increased their digital ad spending by 12.7% in 2018, according to Emarketer. The next year, pharma brands rocketed their digital spend up 20.1% to $3.62 billion.

Though TV has always been a mainstay in the pharma industry for reaching mass audiences, pharma brands are increasingly looking online to add a level of personalization to their campaigns. Mobile and in-app placements have been game-changers for pharma, and opt-in units like value exchange have yielded especially strong results.

Value exchange is a powerful way to distribute video and branded content because it is virtually fraud-free and non-interruptive. These placements let people actively choose to engage with a brand in exchange for entertainment, points, Wi-Fi or other digital content. At digital advertiser Jun Group, pharma clients see on average a 95% video completion rate for a 30 second video with engagement rates of 1.5%.

Advertising is all about the audience you’re reaching. Don’t believe me?

Try selling Cialis on a college campus.

In 2020, both healthcare providers (HCPs) and their patients spend their time playing mobile games.

In February, Jun Group surveyed its in-app audiences to understand their habits and preferences about mobile gaming. They found 82% of HCPs play mobile games daily, with 64.5% saying that they play multiple times a day.

Patients also revealed that mobile gaming is their go-to in the doctor’s office. 57.3% of consumers say they play mobile games while waiting for their doctor appointment, versus 15% who watch TV/videos and 15% who read newspapers/magazines. Think about the last time you had 15 minutes to kill in the waiting room.

Did you gun for the newest edition of Golf Digest or start playing Subway Surfers?

Pharma brands are doing digital advertising right. They understand the importance of meeting their audience on the audience’s terms– whether that’s a banner ad on a website, or a 30-second video ad in a mobile game. The industry has become one of the fastest-growing verticals in digital advertising, and it will continue to reap the benefits as we approach 2021.

Call your doctor to see if digital advertising is right for you.

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