Marketing

The Future of Healthcare Marketing Including Facebook Ads

Based on our CEO, Peter Reitano’s speech to Bayer Canada about the Future of Healthcare Marketing.

Peter Reitano

Co-Founder and CEO at Abacus

December 17, 2018

Accessible information is empowering the healthcare consumer

 

We have access to way more information! As a result, healthcare marketers need to continue to adapt to the new reality brought about by the shift to increasing transparency, and an empowered healthcare consumer.

 

We research online, talk to people, read reviews.

 

One in three American adults has gone online to figure out a medical condition.

 

Nowadays, we can search for content online, and do our own research.  We do that with health all the time. Turn to Dr. Google, WebMd, Facebook,  Wikipedia.

 

Patients research medical and health information, treatment options, provider selection criteria and dozens of other considerations. Their research guides their decisions about treatment as well as their selection of provider and/or hospital.

 

As marketers, we need to be able to engage them with content that speaks to their needs.

 

Content should be authoritative, interesting and share-worthy. It should help them understand their health concerns and treatment options

 

It’s important to figure out how to communicate your brand’s value story to doctors and patients, instead of continuing the traditional approach of simply listing claims, benefits, and risks.

 

So all this is to say, influence and consideration/preference stage of the marketing has become critical. And that’s where Digital shines.

 

Digital will dominate traditional advertising channels

 

By 2020…

 

More money will flow into digital over traditional – the boat has already tipped for even the most conservative industries

 

Within that, mobile will become the dominant focus. And video will make up most of the content being consumed

 

The platforms we use for digital advertising will undergo enormous consolidation.

 

Right now there are thousands of ad tech platforms and networks, by 2020 we will see that filter to 3: Facebook, Google and for third place, a mix of Amazon, Verizon, and Apple.

 

Forget about all the thousands of programmatic guys. No one has got the might and utility of the main players.

 

As consumers attention shifts more to digital, we’re seeing more ad dollars move over.

 

Last year was the first year the major banks in Canada spent more on digital than traditional – and banks are very conservative institutions.

 

They’re like the back of the boat tilting.

 

Generally speaking, traditional is going to play and less of a role in the marketing mix as consumer behaviour changes.

 

Due to liability and risk concerns, marketers in healthcare have been largely sheltered from many of the trends, but that’s changing.

 

For example, social media has always been tough for healthcare and pharma – but platforms like Facebook are really keen to make things easier.

 

Ad spending for the US healthcare industry last year was at a record 9.7 billion, up 11% – While, TV still rules consumers are increasingly spending time online. The attention graph has shifted and will continue to shift online. We’re consuming more content online.

 

More mobile device usage, more social media. We’re using more web-connected devices to track health. IoT, Wearables, fit bits etc.

 

These innovations literally change how we live and work, creating new behaviors and expectations

 

As the Internet of Everything crosses the boundary between analog and digital worlds, people become central to the devices, data, and processes that will seamlessly tie together homework, and all places in between.

 

Across all industries dollars being digitized. And frankly, it’s better for the consumer and better for brands. For consumers, content is more relevant. For advertisers, it’s more targeted. More trackable and measurable. And more scalable.

 

Facebook and Healthcare Marketing

 

Facebook can be an important marketing platform for healthcare marketers. This is because Facebook wants to do more work with pharma and vice versa, so they have dedicated a whole team to build out the functionality of the platform to serve this industry as well.

 

Here are some of the reasons Facebook is an important platform for healthcare marketers:

 

Safety

 

Brands disabling comments on their ads can help to reduce risk.

 

Targeting / Audiences

 

No one else has the depth of data on audiences that Facebook does – so it’s the best when it comes to personalized messages.

 

Targeting: Likes, interests, behaviors, demographics,

 

Leverage your own data and build a custom audience.

 

Match existing customers and build lookalike audiences. Totally private and anonymous.

 

Community Pages

 

There are Branded Pages which you can use for brand optimization purposes as well as patient engagement etc.

 

Additionally, non-branded community pages which are intended as a place for patients to discuss living with a disease or health condition – disease awareness, this helps with community building.

 

Leading the charge are mobile and video

 

Video is everything!  75% of all mobile data will be video by 2020.

 

When we’re creating video on Facebook, we always go Vertical wherever we can. Mobile over Desktop. Vertical video makes for a way better mobile experience.

 

We create Quick micro-content – snackable –  that’s created quickly on the fly.

 

The traditional story arcs don’t work anymore. You can’t build to a conclusion, your story needs to be dynamic.

 

We are able to use agility and quick iteration. By developing the ability to quickly build campaigns and other marketing deliverables through a series of sprints, measuring results on-the-fly and then immediately adapting and learning from the resulting insights. Marketing activities need to happen in a timeframe of days and weeks, not months and years.

 

Final Thoughts

 

The future of healthcare marketing is bright. With consumers accessing information, marketers have the opportunity to create content that resonates with healthcare audiences. This will mean content that is mobile first and video.

 

By embracing digital over traditional marketing methods including Facebook ads, healthcare marketers can target more effectively, build communities, and ensure privacy/safety of their community members.