Data management programs enabled with technologies have completely changed the way marketers buy media today. A growing number of companies are embracing technologies that facilitate media transactions in actual-time and with a granular level. Programmatic buying ecosystem is in the core with this revolution and it has triggered a paradigm shift from medical marketing consultants buying to targeted ad placements based on user behavior.
Programmatic buying means sale and purchase of media in real time in an automated manner through software and algorithms. Automation is realtime and accurate to such extent which it not only saves time but in addition improves efficiencies regarding ROIs and reaching a target market with laser-guided precision.
While Programmatic buying has not yet yet taken the healthcare domain by storm, a buzz across the topic has begun getting louder recently.
Media buying in healthcare quintessentially has been completed in a regular manner through sales teams approaching publishers either offline or on the internet and go using a long process RFQs, negotiations, preparing artworks and specs modifications, purchase indenting, vendor onboarding and finally releasing payment. And all of this convoluted process has to pass through before the ad is even published. Hence there exists a lag between purchase intent and actual media release. And that is certainly what Programmatic is good at solving.
Now how does Programmatic buying works and why hasn’t it caught the imaginations of healthcare marketer yet? Allow us to dig into details.
How can Programmatic Buying Works? The Programmatic Ecosystem
First, allow us to understand some frequently used terms employed in the Programmatic Buying world and in addition just how the Programmatic ecosystem really works.
Every time a user clicks on a web page that has a marketing space upon it, the publisher of your website sends a cookie to user’s web browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Bing… whichever).
What exactly is Cookie: Cookie, in simple terms, is really a small data file which is sent from publisher’s web server to user’s browser which serves to determine user’s identity
Just in case an inventory (advertising space on a webpage) is on sale, it triggers a request from publisher’s Ad Server on their Supply Side Platform (SSP) to fill the Ad slot
Concept of SSP: It may seem of Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) just like a library or storehouse of Ad Inventories readily available for placing your advertisement. It is a platform that connects sellers (sites, blogs, directories etc.) with buyers or advertisers who compete against one another for available Ad space.
A number of the well known supply side platforms are AppNexus, PubMatic, AOL or Google’s DoubleClick Ad Exchange.
SSP then issues a bid request to Demand Side Platform (DSP). This bid request contains information about an individual who is about to view the Ad like her demographic profile, browsing history, etc. These details helps DSPs to produce an informed decision in regards to a user before you make a bid.
What is a DSP? : Demand Side Platform or DSP, because they are referred in programmatic world, can be a doorway to get advertising space within an automated fashion. Think about DSPs as advertiser’s gatekeepers who matches inventories with buyer’s marketing objectives. DSPs make bidding decision with respect to a buyer after evaluating parameters like publisher’s profile, ad placement, the surface value of available impression, etc.).
A few of better-known DSPs include DoubleClick Bid Manager by Google, AdMission, MediaMath etc.
In accordance with the algorithm, DSPs assesses inventories to find out how valuable the impression is and whether to get involved in the auction for an advertiser. If DSP decides to participate in bid auction, it sends a bid response to SSP
SSP gathers all bid responses and picks a success in line with the second-price auction, that means, the one who bids slightly above the second highest bidder.
SSP notifies winning DSP as well as the DSP, consequently, sends Ad serving code to SSP. Finally, SSP passes on Ad serving code to user’s browser and renders the Ad. The Ad will then be served and also other content on a website.
And all these steps happen with a lightning speed behind end whilst the page loads!
Kinds of Programmatic Buying
Programmatic Buying, as we know now, is automated buying of ad space with a webpage. There are fundamentally 2 kinds of programmatic buying according to if the ad space or inventory is bought through auction (Auction based) or if you are paying a set rate for the publisher (fixed price).
Open auction: This is dependant on real-time auction-based bidding. Most prevalent of all the programmatic buying
Invitation-only auction: This too is auction-based but bidding has limitations to select advertisers selected by way of a publisher. More premium inventory sold at the higher price. Some publishers give ‘first look’ advantage to some advertisers before ad space is seen to others
Unreserved fixed rate: Prices are prefixed but no ad space is scheduled aside beforehand
Automated guaranteed or Programmatic premium: It becomes an automated process of buying guaranteed ad space that doesn’t involve an auction, where the prices are prefixed and impressions are guaranteed. Generally, this particular type is most premium of all.
Scope of Programmatic Buying in Healthcare
Programmatic marketing has not taken health care industry by storm yet by any stretch of your imagination, especially so in India. Even though this marketing phenomenon is discussed in marketing conferences and agency boardrooms however its role continues to be confined to lexicons and concept as an alternative to on actual spending of advertising dollars. Out of the global spending of USD 22 Bn on Programmatic buying in 2015, spending in India was actually a mere USD 25 M rendering it just above 1% share (Source: Media Global report cited in eMarketer )
By 2018, it’s projected how the healthcare industry will spend $2.2 billion on digital media. With roughly 40% of media buys being programmatic, healthcare marketers have got a great opportunity on their own hands. Not simply is programmatic the latest buzzword, however it is estimated that 70% of media buys will probably be programmatic in 2016. That’s significant growth over two years.
Healthcare media buying in India continues to be predominantly completed by traditional spray-and-pray, at best loosely targeted media campaigns involving humans (read- sales team) that negotiate with publishers or media agencies to get ad space or inventory. Programmatic buying, however, allows precision and previously unthought-of granularity to arrive at target customers with better engagement and minimize costs. Allow me to present some real life scenarios to give home the impact of Programmatic Buying dental advertising.
Imagine you happen to be visiting nearby pharmacy store to buy sugar control medication after performing some online search about medicines dosage and side effects. Suddenly your smartphone buzzes. Curious to learn, you check your inbox and look for email message inviting you to definitely have a free diabetes check-up with a Clinic only a block far from your location.
Almost scary, isn’t it! Well, this is just what Programmatic can perform. It reaches your predefined customers or audience in the right moment using a right message. And all of such a thing happens in milliseconds in an automated fashion, because of footprints, or say Cookies, you left while searching the internet.
Programmatic buying is different the approach from rendering same advertising message to numerous customers to making a distinctive message for individual customers according to her need at that moment of your time. A proof of concept for this can be how medical health insurance could possibly be bought using a Programmatic platform.
While you were renewing health insurance policy online for your personal parents, an advertisement banner flashed across your laptop screen proclaiming to provide better coverage with accessories at the lesser premium. Your message is very timely and apt that one could not resist but clicking the ad. It feels that ‘someone’ is following your foot trails online. It appears that there is actually ‘someone’ that follow users to supply messages that are very apt and timely.
In many ways, data analytics is the lifeblood of automated buying. Although a tremendous level of info is gathered within the medical industry, for example, a hospital, virtually no from it can be used effectively to develop effective data-driven strategy.
First party data sources in hospitals like patient registration kiosk of Hospital Information System, CRMs or possibly a Website may be used to capture customer intent by putting a cookie on customer’s browser which can then follow and track a customer’s online journey and place meaningful and compelling messages to operate engagement with patients or customers. This primary data in addition to a second-party data from affiliates or online subscription agencies and third-party data purchased from outside data aggregators like telecom companies, other CRMs etc., is clustered to form homogenous number of audiences having similar traits like age, web surfing history, online purchases, content sharing on social websites, medical content consumed, etc.
We will conjure up a probable scenario for the hospital that is going to launch Diabetes Management Program and wants to reach targeted audience making use of their primary data base gathered over past years. Data points like e-mail address and make contact with numbers of patients undergoing care under endocrinologist would turn into a good audience pool to work targeted messages using GSP (Gmail Sponsored Promotions) or RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) campaigns. While a GSP would enable messages to get transported to prospective patient’s Gmail inbox, the RLSA campaign would guarantee that message is rendered on user’s SERPs wherever they go online.
The great thing of programmatic advertising is that it can integrate all media delivery options and give you the message to right audiences wherever they live online whether it be video, search ads, mobile, display or social media marketing. Such media optimization gets a captive and engaged audience to marketers causing maximum value out from marketing dollar spent.
Say you wish to target women inside their early 40s residing in North Bangalore for promoting cancer of the breast screening. Programmatic-method of doing this is deliver your message for the in-market audience directly by capturing basic patient’s intent then tracking their online behavior. As an illustration, say 45-years old women that visited your Oncology web site and is also searching information online on “protection against cancer of the breast”.
Programmatic Buying enables you to serve your unique target audience that is in the far end of buyer’s journey and has an increased propensity of getting if your message touches their cord. Programmatic Buying helps you to track investment or to put it differently, makes returns attributable. Advertising has changed into a niche endeavor and Programmatic Buying comes as being a potent tool in marketers purpose to unravel key steps to niche marketing.
Programmatic Buying comes along with its share of challenges and unethical practices that digital marketers must stand guard against. Such bad practices permeate throughout the Programmatic ecosystem and so are omnipresent across industries including healthcare.
In a highly regulated healthcare sector, these challenges are a lot more evident. So let me address some burning issues plaguing the Programmatic Buying in healthcare
1) Restrictions on retargeting: Hospital industry has become slow to adapt programmatic buying because medical ethics restrict any type of advertising to patients, even audience retargeting using cookies
2) Ad misplacement: Ad placement while seeking to reach a prospect, say a doctor within a non-clinical environment just like a Game Center or Expedia Travel site could actually dilute incredible importance of brand and message
3) Control: As mentioned before, Demand Side Platforms are aggregators of inventory and make them designed for Advertisers. However, in medical industry, not many reputed medical publishers like PubMed, WebMD, The Lancet, NEJM etc. may renounce control over their inventory permit open ad ecosystem like Programmatic dominate. That is why most medical publishers still prefer reserved, non-auction based upon programmatic buying like either Programmatic Direct.
4) Higher costs: Due to publisher’s reluctance towards open-auction bidding in healthcare for reasons stated above, cost per impression (CPM) is greater than in other industries like retail and travel.
5) Inventory scale: Since ad spaces on medical sites is limited and finite, mostly they can be bought via direct 1-to-1 Publisher-Advertiser model creating inflated CPMs and suboptimal performance parameters (read ROI)
6) Stale-on-Sale:General impression is the fact a media bought through Programmatic model is generally a leftover, remnant inventory. This may not be entirely untrue in healthcare either. Media space buying in healthcare predominantly is either through direct buyout involving humans or direct buyout involving automation, referred to as the Programmatic Direct. Hence, precisely what is left is a less coveted, tier-2 inventory. Although buying this inventory might help derive engagement at reduced cost.
7) Private Healthcare Ad Exchanges:Because of medical data security, misplacements and privacy issues in healthcare, some proponents of exclusive healthcare ad exchanges have emerged. In reality there are already some media buying platforms in healthcare like MM&M, Compas etc. that enable automated buying to healthcare publishers. However, considering the fact that transparency and neutrality of open buying platform will be compromised with your agencies, there is very little incentive for advertisers to use such private ad exchanges. Besides, scale and inventory provided with such private exchanges is likewise limited in comparison with full-service media agencies.
Aside these challenges which can be specific to healthcare industry, Programmatic Buying has some inherent concerns that are pervasive across industries. Like some outlined below:
8) Non-human traffic: Non-human traffic or the NHT as they are commonly referred in Programmatic world is regarded as the prevalent method of fraud whereby programs imitate desired online behavior and register false matrices like impressions, views or clicks. Bots pretend being actual humans while actually they are part of malware that inflates the performance matrices by masquerading as organic activity. Common samples of this is paid ‘likes’ or ‘ 1s’ on social networking.
9) Viewability: Viewability is the possibilities of an advertisement to be seen. Many times a big proportion of impressions that advertisers buy goes unseen either on account of below-the-fold 60dextpky or user might scroll a page too rapidly to discover the ad.
Ad blocking: Today’s sophisticated programs allow users to get rid of advertising while browsing the world wide web or using apps. Most publishers and professional bloggers depend upon advertising as being the main way to obtain their revenue. Along with ad blocking into position, a blogger would lose a motivation to create free-to-consume content unless the alternate stream of revenue is offered to them. Likewise, publisher websites get bored since their revenue model depending on content-for-advertising is compromised
Programmatic buying has been a prominent inclusion in marketer’s quiver since last decade. Medical industry is slow to wake up to this particular phenomenon as a result of industry-specific challenges. However, adoption of data, involvement of social websites companies and proliferation of healthcare specific ad networks to deal with automated buying in healthcare would only mitigate these challenges.
The internet marketing plastic surgeons including hospitals and pharmaceutical companies could be wise to consider programmatic buying as part of a core web marketing strategy and move from broad, segment-based marketing to specific fine-grained messages crafted to bring in, nurture and convert potential clients or patients.