Table of Contents
HCP Meaning: What Is an HCP in Healthcare?
What Is HCP Advertising & How Does It Differ From HCP Marketing?
What HCP Marketing Pros Need to Know About HCP Targeting
What Is HCP Targeting?
HCP Targeting vs. NPI Targeting: What’s the Difference?
- Accurate Campaign Reporting: An NPI number is the ultimate identifier and using it for targeting will enable you to know which HCPs actually engaged with your ads. Plus, by hyper-targeting, you’ll maximize your spend and improve performance.
- Smarter Optimizations: With NPI targeting, there’s no guessing when it comes to performance. You know exactly which HCPs are engaging and when, so you can make optimizations accordingly. Are interventional cardiologists converting more than others? Allocate more budget to them.
- Staying Power: NPI targeting isn’t just useful now; it’s well-positioned to succeed as the healthcare industry evolves. HCPs are utilizing more digital channels than ever — video, social, apps, and more — and NPI targeting lets you follow HCPs across all of these digital touchpoints.
Why Is HCP Segmentation Important?
- Competition: Digital ad spend among healthcare brands is expected to surpass $11B by the end of 2021. What does this mean for you? Programmatic advertising works, but the competition to reach HCPs is also fierce. Why is this a good thing? Because your competitors likely use less precise HCP and doctor segmentation, they won’t be able to reach the engagement levels that you can deliver for them with HCP and physician targeting.
- Price: High demand for ads (without an increase in supply) leads to higher prices. For example, CPMs rose by 55.6% on Facebook between January 2020 and April 2021. In today’s climate, it’s not affordable or smart to launch campaigns aimed at millions of healthcare providers. HCP targeting allows you to reach a smaller, more precise audience, lowering costs without sacrificing performance.
- Privacy: Programmatic advertising is shifting due to privacy concerns. Some technologies, like third-party cookies, are going away, and healthcare marketers need privacy-first ways to target healthcare providers. HCP targeting does just that.
How Can HCP Targeting Improve Engagement?
- Creative & Copy: You can personalize your creatives based on your target HCPs’ preferences and interests. For example, you can show an ad with a new cancer drug to an oncologist or a device that treats urinary incontinence to a urologist. The copy can also be written to resonate with your HCP target market.
- Digital Devices: Different generations of HCPs (millennials vs. baby boomers) may use different devices. HCP targeting lets you account for this. If you’re looking to reach baby boomer podiatrists, you can adjust your spend to target certain devices, such as desktop, that this demographic uses.
- Digital Channels: Understanding your target audience means you can focus your spend on the sites they’re most likely to spend time on. An internal study we conducted found that radiologists and cardiologists preferred News and Business content by 672% (which helped us see a 55% increase in CTRs on one campaign).
What Are the Best Healthcare Advertising Tactics & Channels Within HCP Digital Marketing?
HCP Advertising Tactic #1: Mobile & In-App Advertising
- Increased Use Among HCPs: A common misconception among HCP marketing professionals is that healthcare providers are too busy to use smartphones during the workday. In fact, HCPs not only use their mobile devices during downtime, but they’ve also incorporated it into their practice, utilizing it to communicate with colleagues and access test results and patient data.
- Higher CTRs: Studies have shown that mobile app ads generate a 100% increase in CTRs over desktop. In other words, targeting HCPs with relevant mobile content will help increase HCP digital engagement.
- Lifespan: Cookies on desktop generally only have a lifespan of around 14-21 days, while device IDs on mobile remain consistent indefinitely unless a user does a device ID reset (which rarely happens). This makes it easier to target HCPs and track your advertising over time.
HCP Advertising Tactic #2: Video Advertising
- Increased Engagement: Video ads to HCPs naturally lead to engagement. In fact, consumers are 27X more likely to click on video ads than other formats. Why? Video ads appeal to multiple senses, are more shareable, and let you deliver your narrative in a way that’s easy to consume.
- Higher CTRs: Video ads don’t just attract more attention; they garner more clicks from HCPs. According to Smaato, the CTRs for video ads on mobile are 7.5 times higher than those for display ads. Why? Because video ads let you tell a better story than display ads.
- Diverse Inventory: There are many types of video inventory, allowing you to pick ones that match your campaign goals. For example, vertical video gives mobile users an ideal ad experience, especially since 94% of screen time is spent in the vertical position. Outstream video ads, which are served to users as they scroll on a page, allow your brand to be associated with the content HCPs are viewing.
HCP Advertising Tactic #3: Native Advertising
- Natural: Native advertising naturally entices healthcare providers to engage with an ad, because they won’t immediately see it as one. Rather, they’ll view it as a progression in learning about your healthcare product or service.
- Privacy: With GDPR and other similar regulations, it’s clear that online users are serious about privacy and how they’re engaged with digital advertising in healthcare. It’s on HCP marketers to provide more thoughtful, less intrusive ad experiences that meet users’ expectations. Native healthcare advertising does just that.
- The Future: Native advertising will be able to easily evolve with the changing programmatic ecosystem — namely, broadening its capabilities to work in immersive digital environments, such as augmented reality, and newer channels, like voice and audio advertising.
HCP Advertising Tactic #4: Contextual Advertising
- It Just Works: One study found that contextually relevant ads generated 2.2 times better ad recall and 43% more neural engagement. When paired with a very specific keyword strategy, it can also boost brand awareness by up to 93%. This checks out given that these ads revolve around data tied directly to the page’s content. For example, a medical device brand looking to promote an implantable cardiac loop recorder can target keywords cardiologists search for, like “cardiac device” or “cardiovascular system disorder.”
- Lower Costs: Traditionally, HCP marketers have looked to endemic sites, like popular medical journals, because it was the only way to reach their goals. The problem? The price. Their popularity makes advertising on them more expensive. Contextual advertising lets you advertise on non-endemic sites, which have less competition. The result? More cost-efficient campaigns.
- Improved Brand Safety: Every HCP marketer wants their ads associated with sites that align with their values and brand. After all, who would want to find their inventory next to hate speech or conspiracy theories? With contextual advertising, you can tell the media platform what types of keywords and content you want your ads associated with and not associated with.
HCP Advertising Tactic #5: Point-of-Care Advertising
- Apps & Electronic Health Records (EHRs) Are the New Normal: EHRs are now the main way HCPs view patient data. Doctors spend over 16 minutes on average per patient utilizing electronic health records. HCPs are also using non-health-related mobile apps during their free time at work, like The Weather App and Sudoku.
- Telehealth Is Gaining Momentum: According to a study from late 2020, telehealth visits increased by 50% during the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of that, 76% of U.S. hospitals are using video to connect with patients and practitioners at a distance. Point-of-care advertising lets you take advantage of this emerging trend.
- Social Media Is Becoming More Widespread Among HCPs: Social media isn’t something HCPs only use during their free time. In fact, 65% of doctors use it for professional purposes, like communicating with colleagues and crowdsourcing ideas from the medical community. The message is clear: HCPs utilize this technology at work, giving you the chance to reach them while they’re in “work mode” and more likely to respond well to medical-related content.
HCP Advertising Tactic #6: DOOH Advertising
- Future-Proof: Healthcare digital advertising is shifting. The downfall of third-party cookies and the rise of ad blockers are forcing marketers to find new ways to engage HCPs. DOOH advertising is resilient to both of these trends, as it relies on location-based targeting. You can trust that HCPs will see your ads.
- Better Performance: Digital advertising has long been the best way to reach HCPs in and out of work. And that won’t change. But DOOH is worth adding into the mix with existing programmatic strategies. Not convinced? Pairing these types of ads alongside other digital channels can increase your reach by 100%.
- Creativity: The rise of digital advertising in healthcare has meant that advertisers are flooding the internet with ads — many of them looking the same. When an ad doesn’t impress HCPs, performance tanks and so does cost-efficiency. DOOH advertising gives you a chance to think outside of the box. For example, one laser eye surgery brand launched elevator screen ads that dynamically shifted messaging based on the rider’s eyewear. Talk about cool.
HCP Advertising Tactic #7: Retargeting
- Reduces Spend: Retargeting is extremely cost-efficient. In fact, it can lower your cost per acquisition (CPA) by as much as 44%. Why is this? Because you’re only delivering ads to HCPs who’ve already shown interest in your product or service, you won’t be allocating any spend to reach people who aren’t ready to convert.
- Drives Conversions: When executed effectively, a retargeting strategy will increase conversions significantly. In fact, visitors to your site are 70% more likely to convert. With retargeting, you can continue the conversation with people who are lower in the funnel; one more touchpoint with your brand may be all they need to sign on the bottom line. Not convinced? Here’s how we used retargeting to help an Rx drug increase conversions by 295%.
- HCPs Appreciate Them: Overall, people have more positive feelings toward retargeting than negative ones. In fact, 75% of consumers notice these types of ads and 25% even enjoy them. Why? It’s natural to respond favorably to something you’re already interested in.
HCP Advertising Tactic #8: Geofencing
- Engage HCPs at High-Intent Moments: Unless your primary goal is brand awareness, you likely have lower-funnel goals you want to meet, such as script lift. To make this happen, you need to serve ads to HCPs when they’re in a medical mindset. Geofencing campaigns enable you to reach healthcare professionals in the workplace, whether they’re at medical offices, hospitals, or conferences.
- Save Money: Healthcare ad spending is reaching an all-time high. In fact, ad spending between 2011 and 2021 is estimated to increase by over 1000%. Still, there’s plenty of pressure on HCP marketers to use their budget carefully. Healthcare geofencing lets you do exactly that; you’ll focus your spend on a hyper-targeted audience during high-intent moments.
- Improved Personalization & Relevancy: Healthcare ads can become overwhelming for HCPs, so personalization is more important than ever. Geofencing lets you get in front of your target audience when they’re working and looking for solutions. With that in mind, you can personalize your ads in more pointed ways.
How to Use Digital Healthcare Advertising to Reach HCPs at Medical Conferences
Pre-Conference: Build Interest From HCPs
At the Conference: Grow Existing Relationships
Post-Conference: Get Even More Targeted
You also won’t be wasting advertising dollars on HCPs who aren’t ready to convert. This is essential in an environment where marketers waste around 25% of their budgets on ineffective tactics and channels.
10 Best Practices for HCP Ad Creatives (Backed by Science)
Best Practice #1: Start & End With Your Most Important Messaging
Best Practice #2: Repeat Strong Messaging
Best Practice #3: Bring Your Product or Service to Life
Best Practice #4: Utilize the Bandwagon Effect
Best Practice #5: Get HCPs Curious
Best Practice #6: Deal With “Analysis Paralysis”
Best Practice #7: Upgrade Your Aesthetics
Best Practice #8: Use Smart Labeling on Your Audience
Best Practice #9: Provide a Reason When Requesting Action
Best Practice #10: Use Storytelling
How to Prevent HCP Ad Fatigue
What Is HCP Ad Fatigue?
5 Ways to Avoid Ad Fatigue for HCP Campaigns
#1: Pay Attention to Frequency
Showing your ads too often to HCPs can drive banner blindness and diminish performance. Set a frequency cap to give your target audience a better ad experience.
#2: Consider the Quality of Your HCP Data
#3: Try Out New Ad Types
#4: Utilize Influencer Marketing in Your Strategy
#5: Up Your Creative Game
What to Know About Attribution Models & HCP Campaigns
What Is an Attribution Model?
Why Do Attribution Models Matter?
What Are the Main Types of Attribution Models?
Attribution Model #1: Last Click
Attribution Model #2: First Click
Attribution Model #3: Linear
Attribution Model #4: Time Decay
Attribution Model #5: Position Based
What Are the Main Attribution Challenges in HCP Advertising?
- Cost: 70% of marketers consider cost a challenge. Why? Attribution models are complex and can be expensive and time-consuming to build. In a performance-driven organization where leaders expect results quickly, this can be intimidating and not realistic.
- Organizational Buy-In: It can be challenging to get leaders to buy into marketing attribution. This is especially true for executives outside of the marketing department.
- Knowledge Gap: As previously mentioned, HCP attribution is complicated (and becoming more complex with cross-channel and cross-device behaviors). As a result, picking the right model is challenging — only one-fifth of marketers say they’re using the right one.
Why Use a Multi-Touch Attribution Model in Healthcare Advertising?
- Cross-Channel Friendly: A multi-touch approach lets you see performance across many different digital channels and touchpoints.
- Justified Budgets: Growing your budget is becoming necessary to compete with other HCP marketers. How do you get more budget? Prove the impact of your HCP campaigns. Multi-touch attribution helps you do that.
- Increased Efficiency: Inefficient ad spending is unaffordable for your brand. A multi-touch attribution approach will give you insight into exactly what’s working — and what’s not. The results? Efficiency gains of 15% to 30%.
HCP Advertising Trends Every HCP Marketer Should Know for 2022
HCP Advertising Trend #1: Digital-First HCPs
HCP Advertising Trend #2: NPI Targeting
HCP Advertising Trend #3: Cross-Device Targeting
HCP Advertising Trend #4: Rich Media
HCP Advertising Trend #5: Influencer Marketing
What to Ask an HCP Advertising Agency
#1: What Websites Can You Reach HCPs On?
#2: Do You Offer NPI Targeting?
#3: Do You Provide Comprehensive NPI Reporting?
#4: Can You Apply Custom Target Lists to My Campaigns?
#5: How Many HCPs Do You Have in Your Database?
Once you give the HCP ad agency your custom target list, they still need to match it to their first-party data. To do that successfully, they need a large HCP database. If you ask the Adfire Health team, we’ll show you that our proprietary database includes 1.4MM NPIs and 7MM related HCPs. You can break down our counts by medical specialty here.