Data management programs enabled with technology has completely changed the way in which marketers buy media today. A lot more companies are embracing technologies that facilitate media transactions in real-time and with a granular level. Programmatic buying ecosystem is in the core of the revolution and it has triggered a paradigm shift from medical marketing firms buying to targeted ad placements based upon user behavior.
Programmatic buying means sale and buy of media instantly in an automated manner through software and algorithms. Automation is realtime and accurate to such extent that it not simply saves time and also improves efficiencies in terms of 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 in recent times.
Media buying in healthcare quintessentially is carried out in a regular manner through sales teams approaching publishers either offline or internet and go by way of a long process RFQs, negotiations, preparing artworks and specs modifications, purchase indenting, vendor onboarding and ultimately releasing payment. And all this convoluted process has to endure ahead of the ad is even published. Hence you will discover a lag between purchase intent and actual media release. And that is certainly what Programmatic is useful at solving.
So, 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 frequently used terms employed in the Programmatic Buying world and also exactly how the Programmatic ecosystem really works.
Each time a user clicks an online page which includes an advertising space onto it, the publisher in the web page sends a cookie to user’s internet browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Bing… whichever).
What exactly is Cookie: Cookie, in simple terms, is actually 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 over a web page) is available for sale, it triggers a request from publisher’s Ad Server for their Supply Side Platform (SSP) to fill the Ad slot
Concise explanation of SSP: You might think 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 each other for available Ad space.
A few 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 regarding an individual who is about to start to see the Ad like her demographic profile, browsing history, etc. This data helps DSPs to create an educated decision regarding a user before you make a bid.
What exactly is a DSP? : Demand Side Platform or DSP, as they are referred in programmatic world, is really a doorway to acquire advertising space in an automated fashion. Think about 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 ground expense of available impression, etc.).
A few of better-known DSPs include DoubleClick Bid Manager by Google, AdMission, MediaMath etc.
Depending on the algorithm, DSPs assesses inventories to find out how valuable the impression is and if they should get involved in the auction for an advertiser. If DSP decides to participate in bid auction, it sends a bid response returning to SSP
SSP gathers all bid responses and picks a success depending on the second-price auction, that means, the one that bids slightly on top of the second highest bidder.
SSP notifies winning DSP as well as 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 is going to be served as well as other content on a webpage.
And these steps transpire at the lightning speed at the back end as the page loads!
Varieties of Programmatic Buying
Programmatic Buying, as we know now, is automated buying of ad space over a web site. You will find fundamentally 2 kinds of programmatic buying based on regardless of if the ad space or inventory is bought through auction (Auction based) or if you are paying a set rate on the publisher (fixed price).
Open auction: This is founded on real-time auction-based bidding. Most prevalent of all programmatic buying
Invitation-only auction: This too is auction-based but bidding has limitations to pick advertisers selected by way of a publisher. More premium inventory sold at a higher price. Some publishers give ‘first look’ benefit to some advertisers before ad space is visible to others
Unreserved fixed rate: Price is prefixed but no ad space is scheduled aside in advance
Automated guaranteed or Programmatic premium: It becomes an automated process of buying guaranteed ad space that doesn’t involve an auction, in which the 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 yet taken healthcare industry by storm yet by any stretch of the imagination, especially so in India. Even though this marketing phenomenon is discussed in marketing conferences and agency boardrooms nonetheless its role is still restricted 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 was really 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 most media buys being programmatic, healthcare marketers use a great opportunity on his or her hands. Not merely is programmatic the latest buzzword, however it is estimated that 70% of all the media buys will 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, alternatively, allows precision and previously unthought-of granularity to arrive at target customers with better engagement minimizing costs. I want to present some real life scenarios to take home the impact of Programmatic Buying dental marketing solutions.
Imagine you are visiting nearby pharmacy store to buy sugar control medication after doing some online search about medicines dosage and adverse reactions. Suddenly your smartphone buzzes. Curious to know, you check your inbox and find email message inviting you to definitely take a free diabetes check-up at a Clinic only a block clear of what your location is.
Almost scary, isn’t it! Well, this is what Programmatic are capable of doing. It reaches your predefined customers or audience at the right moment by using a right message. And all sorts of such a thing happens in milliseconds inside an automated fashion, due to footprints, or say Cookies, you left while looking the web.
Programmatic buying changed the approach from rendering same advertising message to millions of customers to making an exclusive message for individual customers depending on her need right then of energy. A proof of concept for this can be how health care insurance might be bought employing a Programmatic platform.
Whilst you were renewing medical health insurance policy online for your personal parents, an advertisement banner flashed across your laptop screen proclaiming to offer you better coverage with accessories with a lesser premium. The content is really timely and apt that you may not resist but clicking the ad. It feels that ‘someone’ is following your foot trails online. It ends up there should indeed be ‘someone’ that follow users to provide messages that are very apt and timely.
In ways, data analytics may be the lifeblood of automated buying. Although a massive quantity of info is gathered within the healthcare industry, as an illustration, a hospital, hardly any than it is used effectively to create 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 could then follow and track a customer’s online journey and place 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 create homogenous number of audiences having similar traits like age, web browsing history, online purchases, content sharing on social media marketing, medical content consumed, etc.
Let us conjure up a probable scenario to get a hospital that is about 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 contact numbers of patients undergoing care under endocrinologist would develop 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 delivered to prospective patient’s Gmail inbox, the RLSA campaign would make sure that message is rendered on user’s SERPs wherever they search online.
The good thing of programmatic advertising is that it can integrate all media delivery options and provide you with the message to right audiences wherever they live online be it video, search ads, mobile, display or social networking. Such media optimization receives a captive and engaged audience to marketers causing maximum value out from marketing dollar spent.
Say you want to target women in their early 40s surviving in North Bangalore for promoting cancer of the breast screening. Programmatic-strategy for carrying this out is deliver your message on the in-market audience directly by capturing basic patient’s intent and after that tracking their online behavior. For instance, say 45-years old women that visited your Oncology website and it is searching information online on “prevention of cancers of the breast”.
Programmatic Buying allows you to focus on your distinct target market who seems to be with the far end of buyer’s journey and possesses an increased propensity of buying if your message touches their cord. Programmatic Buying helps you to track investment or quite simply, makes returns attributable. Advertising has turned into a niche endeavor and Programmatic Buying came like a potent tool in marketers purpose to unravel key steps to niche marketing.
Programmatic Buying includes 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 therefore are omnipresent across industries including healthcare.
Inside 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 adapt programmatic buying because medical ethics restrict any type of advertising to patients, including the audience retargeting using cookies
2) Ad misplacement: Ad placement while seeking to reach a prospect, say a doctor inside a non-clinical environment like a Game Center or Expedia Travel site could possibly dilute significance of brand name and message
3) Control: As earlier mentioned, Demand Side Platforms are aggregators of inventory and then make them readily available for Advertisers. However, in healthcare industry, hardly any reputed medical publishers like PubMed, WebMD, The Lancet, NEJM etc. may renounce power over their inventory to allow open ad ecosystem like Programmatic take control of. That is the reason why most medical publishers still prefer reserved, non-auction based upon programmatic buying like either Programmatic Direct.
4) Higher costs: Because of publisher’s reluctance towards open-auction bidding in healthcare for reasons stated above, cost per impression (CPM) is beyond in other industries like retail and travel.
5) Inventory scale: Since ad spaces on medical sites is restricted and finite, mostly these are bought via direct 1-to-1 Publisher-Advertiser model ultimately causing 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 is not entirely untrue in healthcare either. Media space buying in healthcare predominantly is through direct buyout involving humans or direct buyout involving automation, referred to as the Programmatic Direct. Hence, what is left is actually a less coveted, tier-2 inventory. Although buying this inventory could 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 there are already some media buying platforms in healthcare like MM&M, Compas etc. which allow automated buying to healthcare publishers. However, considering the fact that transparency and neutrality of open buying platform can be compromised with such agencies, there is little incentive for advertisers to work with 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 happen to be specific to healthcare industry, Programmatic Buying has some inherent issues that are pervasive across industries. Including some outlined below:
8) Non-human traffic: Non-human traffic or even the NHT as is commonly referred in Programmatic world is the most prevalent form of fraud whereby programs imitate desired online behavior and register false matrices like impressions, views or clicks. Bots pretend being actual humans while actually these are component of malware that inflates the performance matrices by masquerading as organic activity. Common instances of this is paid ‘likes’ or ‘ 1s’ on social websites.
9) Viewability: Viewability is the probability of an advert to be noticed. Frequently a huge proportion of impressions that advertisers pay money for goes unseen either on account of below-the-fold 60dextpky or user might scroll a page too quickly to discover the ad.
Ad blocking: Today’s sophisticated programs allow users to get rid of advertising while browsing the internet or using apps. Most publishers and professional bloggers depend on advertising as being the main supply of their revenue. Along with ad blocking in place, a blogger would lose a motivation to produce free-to-consume content unless the alternate stream of revenue can be obtained in their mind. Likewise, publisher websites get bored since their revenue model based upon content-for-advertising is compromised
Programmatic buying has been a prominent inclusion in marketer’s quiver since last decade. Medical industry has become slow to get out of bed for this phenomenon as a result of industry-specific challenges. However, adoption of data, involvement of social networking companies and proliferation of healthcare specific ad networks to control automated buying in healthcare would only mitigate these challenges.
The plastic surgeon seo including hospitals and pharmaceutical companies could be wise to consider programmatic buying as an element of a core online marketing strategy and move from broad, segment-based marketing to specific fine-grained messages crafted to attract, nurture and convert potential prospects or patients.