The healthcare industry is in the midst of a radical shift that’ll impact HCP digital marketing strategies for years to come. Namely, that both HCPs and their patients are becoming increasingly comfortable with technology in and out of offices. How this will all shake out is anyone’s guess, but we can pinpoint some digital marketing trends that’ll shape 2022 — and hang around in the future. Here are 5 HCP marketing trends in 2022 every healthcare marketer should keep top of mind.
HCP Marketing Trend #1: Digital-First HCPs Will Inform Ad Strategies
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught marketers anything, it’s that technology will continue to play a role in how people, including HCPs, interact with each other. In and out of the workplace, smartphones, tablets, CTV, wearable technology, and more will shape day-to-day interactions with family, friends, peers, and colleagues.
- 84%: The percentage of physicians were offering virtual visits as of April 2021.1
- 6B+: The number of smartphone users worldwide in 2021.2
- 60%: The amount CTV usage increased following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.3
- 240%: The estimated increase in connected wearable devices, including those with healthcare-related capabilities, between 2016 and 2022.4
- ~19%: The percentage of people in the world who own a tablet.5
- 89%: How many hospitals have implemented EHR systems.6
These devices and channels have (or will) impact HCP marketing capabilities. As HCPs and their patients become more comfortable with technology and realize the benefits, these numbers will climb, and more advanced ad capabilities will become available, such as ad-supported wearable devices.
HCP Marketing Trend #2: 1:1 NPI Targeting Goes Mainstream
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NPI targeting does all of this by using first-party data, which doesn’t cross any privacy lines. Even better, having this laser-focused ability opens the door to unprecedented levels of ad personalization. By targeting known audiences, advertisers can tailor their ads to the unique challenges, pain points, and immediate needs of HCPs.
Think of 1:1 NPI targeting like buying fish from a market versus throwing a huge net into the ocean. In the former scenario, the person knows what they’re going to get, and therefore, can collect what they need for dinner. In the latter example, they don’t know what they’re going to catch and can’t prepare ahead of time. As NPI targeting continues to cement itself, more advertisers will jump on board to take advantage of the performance boost. One study found that 71% of people prefer ads tailored to their interests, resulting in more ad engagement.7
HCP Marketing Trend #3: Cross-Device Targeting Becomes a “Must-Have” HCP Marketing Tactic
Due to a long list of advertising-related rules and regulations, many healthcare marketers have avoided programmatic in lieu of traditional tactics, such as print and TV. Moving forward, advertisers will have to advance their strategies and adopt a substantial number of digital tactics. Here’s why.
This means that HCP campaigns need to deliver ads across all the different screens providers use. This presents a challenge, however. Despite all of these ads existing in different ecosystems and tailored for different screens, they all have to move in unison and communicate a cohesive narrative to HCPs. The only way to do this is with cross-device targeting, which is why more healthcare marketers will adopt it in the coming year.
HCP Marketing Trend #4: Rich Media Is a Must
In 2022, static ads won’t cut it. Not only will they blend in more than ever—and not in the good way that native advertising does—but they won’t generate nearly enough engagement or ROAS. Healthcare advertisers can thank “banner blindness” for that, which is someone’s conscious or unconscious decision to avoid interacting with ads that may disrupt their experience. In one study comparing interactive and traditional static ads, 70% of the respondents said the former was more engaging.9
Moving forward, HCP marketing campaigns will need a jolt. More advertisers are noticing this, which is why rich media is a healthcare marketing trend to keep in mind. Those who can do it the best will instantly create a competitive advantage and stand out.
Examples of Rich Media Ads to Grab HCPs’ Attention
- CTV and OTT ads that include a CTA that takes HCPs to a branded website or product page.
- Display ads that incorporate movements, such as simple animations or gifts.
- Interstitial ads that fill up the entirety of an HCP’s screen.
Remember that HCPs may see thousands of ads a day, and many of them will be static. This is the year advertisers will have a chance to shine a little brighter than the rest.
HCP Marketing Trend #5: KOLs Build Trust & Credibility with HCPs
Influencer marketing, or its impact, is nothing new. 80% of marketers find influencer marketing effective.10 Why? Because 61% of people find information from “a person like me” to be credible or very credible.11 This is inherently human and exactly why working with key opinion leaders (KOLs) is a healthcare digital marketing trend everyone should pay attention to.
Despite the growing prominence of KOLs in HCP marketing strategies, using them will still be far from mainstream. That means 2022 will also be the year when forward-thinking advertisers can carve an edge while competitors approach this relatively new tactic with caution.
What’s a Key Opinion Leader (KOL)?
A KOL is someone with experience and expertise in a specific field, like healthcare, and is trusted among peers. The fundamental difference between KOLs and influencers is that the former have parallel professions with the target audience.
Pro Tip: Talk to your customers and identify who they consider a trusted source of industry knowledge. Then, start building relationships with them before your competitors can (KOLs will often only work with one company in an industry). To fast-track this process, work with a third party, like Adfire Health, that has existing relationships with KOLs.
Looking Toward the Future of HCP Marketing
Few industries are as dynamic as healthcare, which means marketing strategies must always be in a position to pivot on a dime. In some ways, success with HCP marketing will rely on an ability to think further ahead than competitors, anticipate what’s on the horizon, and make quicker strategic decisions. Staying on top of the trends in HCP marketing is a proven way to do that.