Data management programs enabled with technologies have completely changed just how marketers buy media today. More and more companies are embracing technologies that facilitate media transactions in real-time and in a granular level. Programmatic buying ecosystem reaches the core with this revolution and has triggered a paradigm shift from medical marketing solutions buying to targeted ad placements according to user behavior.
Programmatic buying means sale and buy of media instantly in a automated manner through software and algorithms. Automation is realtime and accurate to such extent which it not only saves time but additionally improves efficiencies when it comes to ROIs and reaching a audience with laser-guided precision.
While Programmatic buying has not yet taken the healthcare domain by storm, a buzz across the topic has begun getting louder recently.
Media buying in healthcare quintessentially continues to be done in a conventional manner through sales teams approaching publishers either offline or online and then go through a long process RFQs, negotiations, preparing artworks and specs modifications, purchase indenting, vendor onboarding and eventually releasing payment. And all this convoluted process has to pass through ahead of the ad is even published. Hence there is a lag between purchase intent and actual media release. And that is what Programmatic is useful at solving.
Just how does Programmatic buying works and why hasn’t it caught the imaginations of healthcare marketer yet? We will dig into details.
How exactly does Programmatic Buying Works? The Programmatic Ecosystem
First, allow us to understand some popular terms employed in the Programmatic Buying world and also just how the Programmatic ecosystem really works.
Every time a user clicks on a web page which includes an advertising space into it, the publisher in the webpage sends a cookie to user’s browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Bing… whichever).
Exactly what is Cookie: Cookie, in simple terms, can be a small data file that is sent from publisher’s web server to user’s web browser which serves to ascertain user’s identity
Just in case an inventory (advertising space with a web site) is on the market, it triggers a request from publisher’s Ad Server to their Supply Side Platform (SSP) to fill the Ad slot
Concept of SSP: You may think of Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) similar to a library or storehouse of Ad Inventories available for placing your advertisement. It really is a platform that connects sellers (sites, blogs, directories etc.) with buyers or advertisers who compete against the other for available Ad space.
Several 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 details about the consumer who is about to view the Ad like her demographic profile, browsing history, etc. This information helps DSPs to help make an informed decision with regards to a user before making a bid.
What is a DSP? : Demand Side Platform or DSP, because they are referred in programmatic world, is a doorway to purchase advertising space inside an automated fashion. Imagine DSPs as advertiser’s gatekeepers who matches inventories with buyer’s marketing objectives. DSPs make bidding decision on behalf of a buyer after evaluating parameters like publisher’s profile, ad placement, the floor expense of available impression, etc.).
Several of better-known DSPs include DoubleClick Bid Manager by Google, AdMission, MediaMath etc.
Depending on the algorithm, DSPs assesses inventories to determine how valuable the sense is and if you should be involved in the auction for an advertiser. If DSP decides to participate in bid auction, it sends a bid response straight back to SSP
SSP gathers all bid responses and picks a winner in line with the second-price auction, this means, the individual that bids slightly over the second highest bidder.
SSP notifies winning DSP along with 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 is going to be served along with other content on a web site.
And these steps take place at a lightning speed at the back end while the page loads!
Types of Programmatic Buying
Programmatic Buying, as we know now, is automated buying of ad space on a webpage. You will find fundamentally 2 types of programmatic buying based on if the ad space or inventory is bought through auction (Auction based) or by paying a set rate towards the publisher (fixed price).
Open auction: This is based on real-time auction-based bidding. Most prevalent of all the programmatic buying
Invitation-only auction: This too is auction-based but bidding is restricted to decide on advertisers selected from a publisher. More premium inventory sold in a higher price. Some publishers give ‘first look’ advantage to some advertisers before ad space is seen to others
Unreserved fixed interest rate: Price is prefixed but no ad space is set aside beforehand
Automated guaranteed or Programmatic premium: This is an automated process of buying guaranteed ad space that doesn’t involve an auction, where pricing is prefixed and impressions are guaranteed. Generally, this sort 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 if this marketing phenomenon is discussed in marketing conferences and agency boardrooms however its role continues to be tied to lexicons and concept as opposed to on actual spending of promoting dollars. Out from the global spending of USD 22 Bn on Programmatic buying in 2015, spending in India was really a mere USD 25 M making it just above 1% share (Source: Media Global report cited in eMarketer )
By 2018, it’s projected how the medical industry will spend $2.2 billion on digital media. With roughly 40% of all media buys being programmatic, healthcare marketers possess a great opportunity on his or her hands. Not only is programmatic the latest buzzword, yet it is estimated that 70% of most media buys will likely be programmatic in 2016. That’s significant growth over 2 years.
Healthcare media buying in India remains to be predominantly done through traditional spray-and-pray, at best loosely targeted media campaigns involving humans (read- sales team) that negotiate with publishers or media agencies to buy ad space or inventory. Programmatic buying, on the other hand, allows precision and previously unthought-of granularity to attain target customers with better engagement and lower costs. Allow me to present some actual life scenarios to create home the impact of Programmatic Buying dental marketing ideas.
Imagine you happen to be visiting nearby pharmacy store to purchase sugar control medication after doing a bit of online search about medicines dosage and negative effects. Suddenly your smartphone buzzes. Curious to find out, you look at your inbox and look for email message inviting you to take a free diabetes check-up with a Clinic simply a block away from where you stand.
Almost scary, isn’t it! Well, and this is what Programmatic can perform. It reaches your predefined customers or audience in the right moment by using a right message. And all this occurs in milliseconds inside an automated fashion, as a result of footprints, or say Cookies, you left while searching the net.
Programmatic buying changed the approach from rendering same advertising message to countless customers to making an original message for individual customers according to her need at that moment of time. A proof of concept for this can be how medical insurance might be bought using a Programmatic platform.
Whilst you were renewing medical health insurance policy online for your parents, an ad banner flashed across your laptop screen proclaiming to offer you better coverage with accessories at the lesser premium. Your message is really timely and apt that one could not resist but clicking the ad. It feels that ‘someone’ is following your foot trails online. It appears there is definitely ‘someone’ that follow users to deliver messages that are very apt and timely.
In a way, data analytics is definitely the lifeblood of automated buying. Although a big amount of info is gathered inside the medical industry, for example, a hospital, virtually no of it is utilized effectively to develop effective data-driven strategy.
First party data sources in hospitals like patient registration kiosk of Hospital Information System, CRMs or even a Website could be used to capture customer intent by putting a cookie on customer’s browser which may then follow and track a customer’s online journey and put meaningful and compelling messages to operate a vehicle 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 bought from outside data aggregators like telecom companies, other CRMs etc., is clustered to make homogenous number of audiences having similar traits like age, web surfing history, online purchases, content sharing on social websites, medical content consumed, etc.
Let us conjure up a probable scenario for the hospital that is going to launch Diabetes Management Program and wishes to reach targeted audience utilizing their primary data base gathered over past years. Data points like e-mail address and make contact with variety of patients undergoing care under endocrinologist would be a good audience pool to run 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 use the internet.
The great thing of programmatic advertising is that it can integrate all media delivery options and deliver the message to right audiences wherever they live online whether it be video, search ads, mobile, display or social media marketing. Such media optimization receives a captive and engaged audience to marketers leading to maximum value out of marketing dollar spent.
Say you would like to target women with their early 40s located in North Bangalore for promoting breast cancer screening. Programmatic-means of carrying this out is deliver your message for the in-market audience directly by capturing basic patient’s intent and then tracking their online behavior. For example, say 45-years old women who visited your Oncology webpage and is searching information online on “protection against breast cancers”.
Programmatic Buying allows you to meet the needs of your specific target audience that is at the far end of buyer’s journey and has an increased propensity of getting in case your message touches their cord. Programmatic Buying enables you to track investment or put simply, makes returns attributable. Advertising has changed into a niche endeavor and Programmatic Buying has arrived as a potent tool in marketers purpose to unravel key steps to niche marketing.
Programmatic Buying comes with its share of challenges and unethical practices that digital marketers ought to stand guard against. Such bad practices permeate all over the Programmatic ecosystem and so are omnipresent across industries including healthcare.
In the highly regulated healthcare sector, these challenges are a lot more evident. So allow me to address some burning issues plaguing the Programmatic Buying in healthcare
1) Restrictions on retargeting: Hospital industry continues to be slow to evolve programmatic buying because medical ethics restrict any type of advertising to patients, even the audience retargeting using cookies
2) Ad misplacement: Ad placement while looking to reach a prospect, say a Physician inside a non-clinical environment such as a Game Center or Expedia Travel site could actually dilute significance of brand and message
3) Control: As previously mentioned, Demand Side Platforms are aggregators of inventory making them designed for Advertisers. However, in healthcare industry, very few reputed medical publishers like PubMed, WebMD, The Lancet, NEJM etc. may renounce control over their inventory permit open ad ecosystem like Programmatic take over. That is the reason why most medical publishers still prefer reserved, non-auction according to programmatic buying like either Programmatic Direct.
4) Higher costs: On account of publisher’s reluctance towards open-auction bidding in healthcare for reasons stated above, cost per impression (CPM) is more than in other industries like retail and travel.
5) Inventory scale: Since ad spaces on medical sites is restricted and finite, mostly they are bought via direct 1-to-1 Publisher-Advertiser model resulting in inflated CPMs and suboptimal performance parameters (read ROI)
6) Stale-on-Sale:General impression is the fact that a media bought through Programmatic model is generally a leftover, remnant inventory. This is not entirely untrue in healthcare either. Media space buying in healthcare predominantly is either through direct buyout involving humans or direct buyout involving automation, known as the Programmatic Direct. Hence, exactly what is left is actually a less coveted, tier-2 inventory. Although buying this inventory may help derive engagement at reduced cost.
7) Private Healthcare Ad Exchanges:In view of medical data security, misplacements and privacy issues in healthcare, some proponents of exclusive healthcare ad exchanges have emerged. In fact we already have some media buying platforms in healthcare like MM&M, Compas etc. that allow automated buying to healthcare publishers. However, considering that transparency and neutrality of open buying platform would be compromised by using these agencies, there is very little incentive for advertisers to do business with such private ad exchanges. Besides, scale and inventory provided by such private exchanges can also be limited in comparison with full-service media agencies.
Aside these challenges which are specific to health care industry, Programmatic Buying has some inherent issues that are pervasive across industries. For example some outlined below:
8) Non-human traffic: Non-human traffic or even the NHT as it is commonly referred in Programmatic world is easily the most prevalent kind 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 can be bit of malware that inflates the performance matrices by masquerading as organic activity. Common types of this is certainly paid ‘likes’ or ‘ 1s’ on social media marketing.
9) Viewability: Viewability is the probability of an advertisement to be noticed. Frequently a huge proportion of impressions that advertisers pay for goes unseen either on account of below-the-fold 60dextpky or user might scroll a page too rapidly to find out the ad.
Ad blocking: Today’s sophisticated programs allow users to remove advertising while browsing the world wide web or using apps. Most publishers and professional bloggers be determined by advertising as the main supply of their revenue. Along with ad blocking in position, a blogger would lose a motivation to make free-to-consume content unless the alternate stream of revenue is offered for them. Likewise, publisher websites get bored since their revenue model based 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 get out of bed to this phenomenon due to industry-specific challenges. However, adoption of web data, involvement of social websites companies and proliferation of healthcare specific ad networks to handle automated buying in healthcare would only mitigate these challenges.
The plastic surgeon marketing including hospitals and pharmaceutical companies would be smart to consider programmatic buying as part of a core marketing strategy and move from broad, segment-based marketing to specific fine-grained messages crafted to get, nurture and convert potential customers or patients.