graphic showing pregnant woman surrounded by a flowers and hands to illustrate the support of healthcare

Vertical Targeting Series: Finding Your Healthcare Audience

When working within the healthcare vertical, marketers need to be aware of the many rules and regulations that exist. With a ton of opportunity to win more patients and enhance brand reputation, you just need to know the right way to do it.

Did you know that 47% of internet users search for information about doctors or other health professionals? That is a huge pool of potential patients you could reach. So, how can you take advantage of this growing market and still remain compliant? We’ve got the answer. But first, you need to understand the challenges you’re up against.

Why is healthcare advertising challenging?

HIPAA, The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act requires healthcare providers to adopt national standards for electronic health care transactions. This Act aims to protect the security of individually identifiable health information. How does HIPAA impact your digital plans? Well for starters, you’re unable to use data from your CRM to target anyone who has been a patient, because that is considered private information. Secondly, retargeting becomes difficult, as you cannot retarget someone who has been searching for information on a particular treatment or ailment. And with the rise of the self-diagnosis, 1 in 20 Google searches are related to healthcare, leaving potential prospects seemingly un-targetable. That said, retargeting based on symptom searches is not the only way to penetrate this market.


Custom Audience Segments

Custom Audience Segments allow you to target based on intent, using 1st-party proprietary data that consists of content a user has consumed. You can capture potential patients looking for a general practitioner, medical specialist or searching for health-related topics. Custom Audience Segments provide insight to the content someone is consuming without identifying what they’ve searched, keeping you compliant and giving you access to an audience pool. Now that you’ve got intent covered, you need to focus on geography, especially if you’re running a campaign to win more patients.


When looking for new patients, it’s important to target a geographically relevant audience since 9 out of 10 people use their phone to get information related to their location, like finding doctors close to home. Someone located in New York is probably not interested in a General Practitioner in California. With geotargeting, you can target users by state, city or zip-code. You could even target anyone who has visited a nearby hospital, or walk-in clinic. When you couple your Custom Audience Segment with Geotargeting, you’ll have an audience pool that has intent, and is in your ideal location. Why stop there? If you’re running a clinical research campaign and need participants, you need to get more granular than just intent and geography. That’s where vertical specific, 3rd-party data comes in.

3rd-Party Data

By leveraging 3rd-party data that focuses on the healthcare vertical, like that provided by Epsilon®, you can be sure you’re getting an accurate, compliant audience. 

About Epsilon

Epsilon, the largest provider of self-reported health information in the market, sources health-related information directly from its proprietary Shopper’s Voice® survey. Epsilon receives 3 million Shopper’s Voice survey responses per year, offering deep insights into consumer attitudes, lifestyle and preferences. This results in 100% non-modeled, opt-in data. Since this data is voluntarily provided by the individuals completing the Shopper’s Voice survey, it is not subject to HIPAA.

Putting Data to Work

Epsilon’s non-modelled data unlocks consumers’ declared information. This gives you the ability to capture consumers who you would otherwise be unable to identify just through their browsing history and intent, all the while adhering to the strict guidelines you need to follow as a healthcare marketer. While Epsilon’s data is powerful on its own, you can also layer it with other 3rd-party data. By combining Epsilon’s non-modeled, opt-in data, with modeled data provided by another third party, you get a full picture of what your audience says (through Epsilon’s survey), and how they behave.

As you can see, there are so many options available for reaching consumers across the healthcare vertical. So, now that you have a targeted segment of prospects, how can you be sure your ads are successful?

Capturing Attention

Native advertising seamlessly integrates your content into the organic experience of a given platform. The ad’s creative contains an image, headline and content that conform to the design and feel of the site’s on which they display. So why is native the way to go for the healthcare vertical? Well, in addition to these 8 research-backed reasons, for marketers running a campaign built around brand awareness of a hospital’s services and innovative research, you want to have high engagement with your content. Native ads provide a glimpse of the content you’re offering with defined ad copy and specific call to action, which results in higher engagement.

While there are many regulations healthcare marketers need to be wary of, with the right targeting and ad formats, you can run successful campaigns in this vertical.

Want to run exceptional programmatic campaigns? Request a demo to learn more about StackAdapt.

You may also like: