5 Powerful Benefits of Programmatic Healthcare Advertising

5 Powerful Benefits of Programmatic Healthcare Advertising

Healthcare companies have historically built their ad campaigns on traditional advertising strategies and tactics. While those still have their place in any company’s marketing mix, the healthcare industry’s continued shift to all things technology means that ad budgets need to follow. And they are. In 2020, spending on digital advertising in the healthcare and pharma industry was expected to grow by 14.2% to reach $9.53 billion.1 Between the growth of healthcare-related technology and the decline of in-person meetings—97% of HCPs want virtual or a mix of virtual and in-person meetings moving forward—programmatic healthcare advertising will explode even more.2 However, it’s not just these environmental factors pushing it forward. At the heart of programmatic healthcare advertising’s ascent to stardom are five powerful benefits: efficiency, transparency, targeting, measurement, and optimizations.

Programmatic Healthcare Advertising Benefit #1:
Improved Efficiency

Before programmatic healthcare advertising, the only way to take advantage of online advertising was to work directly with publishers. In the early 2000s, this was doable; the Internet was still nascent and relatively easy to navigate. That’s no longer the case. Today, if a healthcare company wants to run a comprehensive digital campaign, they’d have to go channel by channel. Said another way, if they wanted ads on Medscape, they’d have to go directly to Medscape’s team. If they wanted to take advantage of OTT advertising, like Hulu, they’d have to go to each company. If they wanted to try telehealth advertising, they’d have to go to many telehealth providers. Once they did all of that, they’d have to launch each of the campaigns, optimize them on the fly, report on each of them individually, and then do it all over again next time. This process is convoluted, time-consuming, and incredibly inefficient.

Programmatic healthcare advertising flips the script by applying automation. Once the campaign is live—no matter how complex it is—the programmatic technology does much of the heavy lifting, ensuring everything is done most effectively and efficiently.

Programmatic Healthcare Advertising Benefit #2:
More Media Buying Transparency

In the pre-programmatic world, healthcare advertisers operated in the dark regarding nearly every aspect of their campaigns, including placement, performance, and cost. Without programmatic technology, advertisers relied on publishers’ words.

Programmatic healthcare technology pulls back the curtain and gives healthcare advertisers a better view of their campaigns—all in one place—allowing them to see where their ads are appearing, which HCPs are engaging with them, and how much it’s costing. Not only is this information imperative to future success, but it’s vital in a world with increasing levels of ad fraud. In 2020, ad fraud inflicted economic losses of $35 billion.3

Programmatic Healthcare Advertising Benefit #3:
Precise Audience Targeting

Digital advertising would be next to impossible if there weren’t reliable ways for healthcare advertisers to effectively and efficiently target healthcare providers (HCPs) online. Without this ability, campaigns would essentially be giant brand awareness initiatives aimed at the masses.

With programmatic technology, advertisers have a long list of ways to target and engage with HCPs, including location-based targeting and contextual targeting. There’s also 1:1 targeting, which helps point healthcare campaigns to high-intent HCPs more likely to convert. Why does all of this matter? Because only 2% of people convert upon their first brand touchpoints.4 So, to achieve real-world results, healthcare advertisers need a way to tell consistent narratives that thoughtfully push HCPs through the funnel.

Programmatic Healthcare Advertising Benefit #4:
Precise Measurement

Before programmatic healthcare advertising, generating campaign-level insights was a slow, tedious, and largely inefficient process. This introduced a scary level of guesswork. According to a study from Integral Ad Science, 36% of digital media professionals struggle with measurement.5 Without programmatic advertising technology, this number would astronomically higher.

By activating their campaigns with programmatic technology, healthcare advertisers have the invaluable opportunity to tap into real-time information about performance. In an increasingly complex and competitive healthcare world, precise measurements will act as the North Star.

Programmatic Healthcare Advertising Benefit #5:
Meaningful Optimizations

Which ad creative is converting HCPs for the best price? Which targeting specifications are engaging the most HCPs? How about the time of day that’s proving to be the most profitable? These insights are imperative to the campaign optimization process. Here’s the problem: The vast majority of healthcare campaigns have dozens, even hundreds of moving pieces. Those media buyers have to optimize in real-time if they want the best performance and price. This isn’t possible, even for the most experienced media minds.

Programmatic healthcare technology navigates these challenges, providing healthcare advertisers with intuitive tools they can use to make adjustments on an expedited schedule—and most importantly, make the most of the campaigns they’re relying on to survive.

Taking Healthcare to the Next Level with Programmatic Healthcare Advertising

For one reason or another, some healthcare advertisers are stuck on traditional tactics. Maybe that’s because that’s what’s always worked or because that’s what they know. And while no one denies traditional marketing’s place in healthcare advertising strategies, there’s an essential alternative with tons of benefits: programmatic healthcare advertising.


  1. Droesch B. US Healthcare and Pharma Digital Ad Spending 2020. eMarketer. Published September 30, 2020. Accessed June 10, 2021.
  2. Is COVID-19 altering how pharma engages with HCPs? Accenture. Published August 4, 2020. Accessed June 10, 2021.
  3. Marciano J. The global growth of ad fraud in 15 countries. CHEQ. Published January 7, 2021. Accessed June 10, 2021.
  4. Vaughan R. How retargeting campaigns help you reach 98% of your site’s visitors. GoSquared. Accessed June 10, 2021.
  5. IAS Team. The 2021 Industry Pulse Report. Integral Ad Science. Published 2020. Accessed June 10, 2021.

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