- 80 percent of internet users look for health information online
- Digital is close to becoming the largest advertising medium
- Mobile consumes 65 percent of all digital media time
- 54 percent of time spent on health-related platforms is via mobile devices
Despite these signposts of changing consumer behaviors and a shifting advertising landscape, pharma digital ad spend still trails far behind other verticals.
What does that mean for pharma marketers?
Digital creative agencies unlock the potential of digital ads
Digital ads are an underutilized tool in pharma marketing. They build brand awareness, connect with consumers and drive their clicks, often to branded microsites that offer services, samples, discounts or educational material in exchange for consumer information. It’s a streamlined experience for the consumer that delivers invaluable data and insights to marketing teams.
So, why isn’t pharma more heavily invested in the digital ad space?
Pharma pours most of their marketing resources into print and TV channels while skirting the digital landscape. The reason is threefold: complex regulations, muddy guidance from the FDA and a lack of digital production infrastructure (more on that in a minute).
But, with more consumers turning to the web to manage their healthcare needs and inquiries, the platform imbalance limits the reach and effectiveness of campaigns.
Forward-thinking pharma marketers have begun partnering with digital creative agencies that understand the strict regulatory frameworks of pharma. These partnerships speed up the digital production process, enabling pharma brands to get ahead of the competition.
Digital Creative Agency – Streamline and scale your digital production
The need for digital production speed isn’t just because of regulatory red tape.
Back in the old days (a.k.a. last year), Flash made digital ad creation relatively easy for pharma marketers. But, Flash also made it easy for cybercriminals to exploit its weaknesses, and it’s since been virtually replaced by HTML5. While HTML5 enables the creation of secure, cross-screen experiences, it’s resource intensive. Compressing assets, meeting a variety of media and ad server specs and quality assurance testing across multiple devices and platforms takes time and a variety of skill sets.
Most pharma marketing teams and ad agencies don’t have the bandwidth for consistent HTML5 and rich media ad digital production. That’s why they turn to digital production partners. Interactive agencies and digital creative agencies enable pharma marketers to scale their business and deliver campaigns faster.
Get in front of customers faster
Print and TV ads are a great way to get life-changing pharma messages in front of consumers. But, as everyone from baby boomers to millennials increase the number of their devices and their amount of screen time, a multi-platform marketing strategy is the most effective way to reach target audiences.
Digital ads are an important and powerful channel for connecting with customers. They tell better stories faster, thanks to rich media capabilities like interactivity, gamification and animation. Targeting capabilities enable personalized messaging. Complex regulatory frameworks and limited ad space force pharma marketers to develop concise, compelling creative. The clear, personalized messaging and design improve the chances of snagging consumer’s limited attention.
The result? An advertising experience that consumers can instantly interact with by requesting more information, unlike TV and print calls-to-action which require the consumer to take multiple steps before they can access more information.
Build a sustainable marketing strategy
The U.S. is one of two countries that allow direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising for prescription drugs. While this provides consumers with more information that enables them to take control of their health, the practice has its opponents. Detractors partially blame skyrocketing medical costs on pharma ads, claiming they increase demand for name brand medications and drive prices up. Pharma landed in the cross hairs of the last election, with Congress proposing a ban on DTC pharma ads for newly approved prescription drugs. Even consumers view the pharma industry with suspicion, believing it’s driven entirely by profits.
Considering most consumers turn to the web first when searching for health-related resources, pharma marketers have an opportunity to repair the industry’s reputation by using relevant, quality creative to educate consumers on health concerns and potential solutions.
Choose a good digital creative agency
Digital ads meet your audience when and where they’re looking for answers. And thanks to extensive regulations and muddy guidance from the FDA, the digital pharma marketing landscape is relatively open. The key to success is a digital production partner that’s experienced with strict pharma requirements. Check out our free guide on managing your HTML5 banner project. We’ve included a section with the exact questions to ask a potential production partner.
Ready to bring your pharma marketing efforts into the digital landscape? Drop us a line!