Data management programs enabled with technologies have completely changed the way in which marketers buy media today. A growing number of companies are embracing technologies that facilitate media transactions in real-time as well as at the granular level. Programmatic buying ecosystem is at the core on this revolution and has triggered a paradigm shift from medical marketing service buying to targeted ad placements based upon user behavior.
Programmatic buying means sale and purchase of media in real time in a automated manner through software and algorithms. Automation is live and accurate to such extent that it not merely saves time and also improves efficiencies regarding ROIs and reaching a potential audience with laser-guided precision.
While Programmatic buying has not yet taken the healthcare domain by storm, a buzz around the topic has started getting louder recently.
Media buying in healthcare quintessentially is done in a conventional manner through sales teams approaching publishers either offline or on the internet and go through a long process RFQs, negotiations, preparing artworks and specs modifications, purchase indenting, vendor onboarding and in the end releasing payment. And all sorts of this convoluted process has to pass through before the ad is even published. Hence you will find a lag between purchase intent and actual media release. And that is certainly what Programmatic is nice at solving.
Just how does Programmatic buying works and why hasn’t it caught the imaginations of healthcare marketer yet? Let us dig into details.
How exactly does Programmatic Buying Works? The Programmatic Ecosystem
First, allow us to understand some popular terms found in the Programmatic Buying world and in addition just how the Programmatic ecosystem actually works.
When a user clicks on an internet page containing a marketing space upon it, the publisher from the web page sends a cookie to user’s browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Bing… whichever).
What exactly is Cookie: Cookie, in simple terms, is really a small data file that may be sent from publisher’s web server to user’s web browser which serves to determine user’s identity
In case an inventory (advertising space on the website) is on sale, it triggers a request from publisher’s Ad Server for their Supply Side Platform (SSP) to fill the Ad slot
Definition of SSP: You may think of Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) just like a library or storehouse of Ad Inventories designed for placing your advertisement. It really is a platform that connects sellers (web sites, blogs, directories etc.) with buyers or advertisers who compete against one another for available Ad space.
A few of the famous 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 the person who is going to start to see the Ad like her demographic profile, browsing history, etc. This data helps DSPs to create a knowledgeable decision about a user prior to making a bid.
What is a DSP? : Demand Side Platform or DSP, because they are referred in programmatic world, is actually a doorway to purchase advertising space in a automated fashion. Think of 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 ascertain how valuable the sense is and if you should take part in the auction on the part of an advertiser. If DSP decides to sign up in bid auction, it sends a bid response to SSP
SSP gathers all bid responses and picks a success in accordance with the second-price auction, this means, the one who bids slightly on top of the second highest bidder.
SSP notifies winning DSP and the DSP, therefore, sends Ad serving code to SSP. Finally, SSP passes on Ad serving code to user’s browser and renders the Ad. The Ad will be served along with other content on the web page.
And all these steps transpire in a lightning speed behind end whilst the page loads!
Varieties of Programmatic Buying
Programmatic Buying, as you may know now, is automated buying of ad space over a webpage. You can find fundamentally 2 types of programmatic buying dependant upon whether the ad space or inventory is bought through auction (Auction based) or by paying a set rate on the publisher (fixed price).
Open auction: This is founded on real-time auction-based bidding. Most prevalent of most programmatic buying
Invitation-only auction: This too is auction-based but bidding is limited to decide on 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 interest rate: Cost is prefixed but no ad space is scheduled aside ahead of time
Automated guaranteed or Programmatic premium: It is really an automated process of buying guaranteed ad space that doesn’t involve an auction, where prices are prefixed and impressions are guaranteed. Generally, this type is most premium of all types.
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. Although this marketing phenomenon is discussed in marketing conferences and agency boardrooms but its role is still tied to lexicons and concept instead of on actual spending of marketing dollars. Out of your global spending of USD 22 Bn on Programmatic buying in 2015, spending in India had been 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 the media buys being programmatic, healthcare marketers have got a great opportunity on the hands. Not only is programmatic the latest buzzword, however 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 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 purchase ad space or inventory. Programmatic buying, on the flip side, allows precision and previously unthought-of granularity to arrive at target customers with better engagement minimizing costs. I want to present some the real world scenarios to bring home the impact of Programmatic Buying internet dental marketing.
Imagine you happen to be visiting nearby pharmacy store to get sugar control medication after doing a bit of online search about medicines dosage and adverse reactions. Suddenly your smartphone buzzes. Curious to find out, you check your inbox and discover email message inviting anyone to go on a free diabetes check-up at the Clinic only a block from what your location is.
Almost scary, isn’t it! Well, and this is what Programmatic are capable of doing. It reaches your predefined customers or audience at the right moment with a right message. And all sorts of this takes place in milliseconds in an automated fashion, thanks to footprints, or say Cookies, you left while looking the world wide web.
Programmatic buying has evolved the approach from rendering same advertising message to numerous customers to making a unique message for individual customers based upon her need right then of your energy. A evidence of concept for this might be how medical insurance could be bought using a Programmatic platform.
While you were renewing health insurance policy online for the parents, an advert banner flashed across your laptop screen proclaiming to offer better coverage with add-ons in a lesser premium. Your message is very timely and apt that you might not resist but clicking the ad. It feels that ‘someone’ is after the foot trails online. It appears that there is indeed ‘someone’ that follow users to provide messages which are very apt and timely.
In ways, data analytics may be the lifeblood of automated buying. Although an enormous level of info is gathered from the medical industry, for example, a hospital, virtually no of this is utilized effectively to create effective data-driven strategy.
First party data sources in hospitals like patient registration kiosk of Hospital Information System, CRMs or possibly a Website could be used to capture customer intent by placing a cookie on customer’s browser that may then follow and track a customer’s online journey and set meaningful and compelling messages to get engagement with patients or customers. This primary data together with 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 make homogenous group of audiences having similar traits like age, web surfing history, online purchases, content sharing on social networking, medical content consumed, etc.
Allow us to conjure up a probable scenario to get a hospital that is about to launch Diabetes Management Program and wishes to reach targeted audience employing their primary data base gathered over past years. Data points like e-mail address and contact numbers of patients undergoing care under endocrinologist would turn into a good audience pool to operate targeted messages using GSP (Gmail Sponsored Promotions) or RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) campaigns. While a GSP would enable messages to become transported to prospective patient’s Gmail inbox, the RLSA campaign would ensure that message is rendered on user’s SERPs wherever they use the internet.
The great thing of programmatic advertising is it can integrate all media delivery options and give you the message to right audiences wherever they live online be it video, search ads, mobile, display or social websites. Such media optimization turns into a captive and engaged audience to marketers resulting in maximum value from marketing dollar spent.
Say you wish to target women in their early 40s living in North Bangalore for promoting cancer of the breast screening. Programmatic-strategy for doing this is deliver your message to the in-market audience directly by capturing basic patient’s intent and then tracking their online behavior. For instance, say 45-year-old women that visited your Oncology website and it is searching information online on “prevention of breast cancers”.
Programmatic Buying allows you to meet the needs of your distinct target market who is with the far end of buyer’s journey and contains a greater propensity of purchasing if your message touches their cord. Programmatic Buying helps to track investment or to put it differently, makes returns attributable. Advertising has become a niche endeavor and Programmatic Buying has come like 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 ought to stand guard against. Such bad practices permeate all over the Programmatic ecosystem and so are omnipresent across industries including healthcare.
In a highly regulated healthcare sector, these challenges are more evident. So i want to address some burning issues plaguing the Programmatic Buying in healthcare
1) Restrictions on retargeting: Hospital industry has been slow to evolve programmatic buying because medical ethics restrict any form of advertising to patients, including the audience retargeting using cookies
2) Ad misplacement: Ad placement while seeking to reach a prospect, say a health care provider in a non-clinical environment similar to a Game Center or Expedia Travel site might actually dilute significance of brand name and message
3) Control: As previously mentioned, Demand Side Platforms are aggregators of inventory and then make them designed for Advertisers. However, in healthcare industry, only a few reputed medical publishers like PubMed, WebMD, The Lancet, NEJM etc. may renounce control over their inventory to permit open ad ecosystem like Programmatic take control. That is 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 greater than in other industries like retail and travel.
5) Inventory scale: Since ad spaces on medical sites is limited and finite, mostly they may be 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 that a media bought through Programmatic model is often a leftover, remnant inventory. This is simply not entirely untrue in healthcare either. Media space buying in healthcare predominantly is either through direct buyout involving humans or direct buyout involving automation, called the Programmatic Direct. Hence, precisely what is left is a less coveted, tier-2 inventory. Although buying this inventory may help derive engagement at lower cost.
7) Private Healthcare Ad Exchanges:Because of medical data security, misplacements and privacy issues in healthcare, some proponents of exclusive healthcare ad exchanges emerged. In reality we already have some media buying platforms in healthcare like MM&M, Compas etc. that allow automated buying to healthcare publishers. However, provided that transparency and neutrality of open buying platform would be compromised by using these agencies, there is very little incentive for advertisers to use such private ad exchanges. Besides, scale and inventory provided by such private exchanges is also limited compared to full-service media agencies.
Aside these challenges that are specific to health care industry, Programmatic Buying has some inherent problems that are pervasive across industries. Like some outlined below:
8) Non-human traffic: Non-human traffic or even 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 to be actual humans while actually they can be piece of malware that inflates the performance matrices by masquerading as organic activity. Common samples of this is certainly paid ‘likes’ or ‘ 1s’ on social media.
9) Viewability: Viewability is the probability of an advert to be seen. Often times a big proportion of impressions that advertisers pay for goes unseen either due to below-the-fold 60dextpky or user might scroll a page too quickly to find out the ad.
Ad blocking: Today’s sophisticated programs allow users to take out advertising while browsing the internet or using apps. Most publishers and professional bloggers be determined by advertising because the main source of their revenue. And with ad blocking in position, a blogger would lose an incentive to create free-to-consume content unless the alternate stream of revenue is available in their mind. Likewise, publisher websites get bored since their revenue model based upon content-for-advertising is compromised
Programmatic buying has become a prominent inclusion in marketer’s quiver since last decade. Health care industry continues to be slow to wake up to this particular phenomenon on account of industry-specific challenges. However, adoption of data, involvement of social media marketing companies and proliferation of healthcare specific ad networks to manage automated buying in healthcare would only mitigate these challenges.
The marketing for plastic surgeons including hospitals and pharmaceutical companies would be best if you consider programmatic buying included in a core online marketing strategy and move from broad, segment-based marketing to specific fine-grained messages crafted to get, nurture and convert prospective customers or patients.