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Healthcare Marketing Strategy

Tips for Planning an Effective Healthcare Marketing Strategy

In the last two years, the healthcare industry has faced a major shift in the accelerated adoption of emerging technologies. As a result, patients have shifted how they engage with their healthcare providers. For a successful healthcare marketing strategy in 2022, healthcare marketers should be taking into account these shifts, and applying everything they’ve learned in the last two years to their media plans moving forward.

Read on to learn about how healthcare marketing has evolved throughout the last two years, new trends in the industry, and actionable recommendations to help you navigate these shifts. And be sure to read to the end of this blog to get 3 essential tips for driving results this year!

Healthcare Marketing Trends to Keep in Mind

Healthcare is an evolving market that brings unique challenges—particularly in the wake of the pandemic. The pandemic led to consumers being more cognizant of their health, while wanting to minimize in-person healthcare visits. This led to increased adoption of virtual healthcare tools and technology, and more healthcare funding.

Here are 3 specific trends that have emerged in the last two years:

The adoption of telehealth.

Seventy-eight percent of healthcare practitioners saw a decrease in the number of patients visiting their practice. Rather than physically visiting healthcare institutions, patients turned to digital content to gather information related to healthcare services, treatments, and prescriptions. 

There was also a surge in demand and adoption of telehealth services. Use of telehealth went through an initial spike to more than 32% of office and outpatient visits occurring via telehealth in April 2020, before stabilizing at levels that are 38 times higher than before the pandemic.

Increased use of tech for health monitoring.

A growing number of patients are using technology for health monitoring and are more willing to share their data. People are becoming increasingly comfortable with sharing their data while using technology to monitor their health, measure their fitness and order prescription drug refills. Younger generations in particular are growing up with more trust and appreciation for tech services that are convenient and easy to use.

Alongside the adoption of health technology, we saw a surge in the use of apps and at-home self-diagnostics like genetic tests and at-home blood tests. This surge is likely in part because of the pandemic, which motivated people to turn to tech so they could avoid going to the doctor’s office.

Government funding towards healthcare innovation has increased.

The US government placed an emphasis on easing regulations and enforcing policies that enabled digital health innovations since patients were less likely to visit healthcare facilities in person. As a result, 2020 was a record year in digital health investment in the US with $9.4 billion in funding. 

For example, the Health and Human Services (HSS) delivered $100 billion in funding to hospitals. And, the FDA launched its Digital Health Center of Excellence and approved its first-ever digital therapy for ADHD. 

The Digital Advertising Landscape for Healthcare

The pandemic gave the healthcare and pharma industry a reason to keep spending on digital. For public health organizations and private medical institutions, digital advertising provided a way to raise awareness around testing, safety measures and general information related to the virus. 

With so many people staying at home and using their devices, digital channels also provide a way for advertisers to reach audiences where they may be. Healthcare institutions moved towards informative messaging to educate patients on steps they should take to remain safe and how they could safely access healthcare services through digital channels. 

Healthcare Marketing Strategy

Source: eMarketer, US Healthcare and Pharma Digital Ad Spending 2020, September 2020

In 2020, digital spend in the industry increased from $8.34 billion in 2019 to $9.53 billion. This upward trend of digital ad spend in the US healthcare and pharma industry will most likely continue into the future. 

Since the healthcare industry tends to target older audiences who typically prefer larger screens, desktop, mobile, and OTT are a focus for healthcare marketers. But the way audiences engage with digital channels has evolved throughout the pandemic. Increased time at home drove faster adoption of connected TV (CTV). Now, over 80% of TV households have at least one connected TV device, making CTV the fastest growing video advertising platform for this industry. 

Tips for an Effective Healthcare Marketing Strategy

The demand and shift in patient trends for telehealth services brought on by the pandemic isn’t going anywhere. Patients have become accustomed to the ease of access and seamless delivery of virtual healthcare, and they have now made the use of tech for health monitoring a habit. 

Given this new healthcare marketing landscape, here are three strategic tips for advertising healthcare and pharma in 2022:

Leverage the right advertising channels.

Desktop, mobile and CTV will continue to be a focus for healthcare and pharmaceutical advertisers in 2021. The healthcare industry will continue to invest in desktop—growing 17.5% to reach $4.75 billion, while mobile device spending will grow another 18.4%, reaching $6.49 billion. 

Traditionally a large portion of B2C pharma marketing campaign spend went into linear TV. CTV consumption is expected to grow by 53% in 2021 which could be a huge opportunity for B2C pharma and healthcare services campaigns.

Segment your audience for personalization and optimization.

Break these audience tactics into different campaigns to test performance and optimize towards key performance indicators (KPIs). Identifying subgroups within your target audience enables you to deliver more tailored messaging. This personalization in turn results in stronger connections. 

Include contextual advertising in your media plan.

With patients increasingly consuming digital content related to healthcare services, treatments and prescriptions rather than directly visiting healthcare institutions, it is more important than ever to be present as they begin their research online. One way to reach receptive audiences online is through contextual advertising.

Contextual advertising targets ads based on the environment in which the ad appears. Using algorithms and AI, this method targets ad placements based on metadata. This way, ads are shown to audiences based on the content they are consuming at that exact moment in time. Healthcare marketers can use this targeting methodology to ensure that their ads reach users who are in a receptive frame of mind

Want to learn more about healthcare marketing? Listen to this episode of StackAdapt’s podcast, How Agencies Thrive. 

Reach out to your StackAdapt Representative to get your copy of Evolving Beyond the Crisis: Consumer Trends and Healthcare Marketing.

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