Data management programs enabled with technologies have completely changed just how marketers buy media today. A lot more companies are embracing technologies that facilitate media transactions in real-time as well as with a granular level. Programmatic buying ecosystem are at the core of this revolution and possesses triggered a paradigm shift from medical marketing agency buying to targeted ad placements based on user behavior.
Programmatic buying means sale and acquire of media in real time in a automated manner through software and algorithms. Automation is real time and accurate to such extent that it not merely saves time but additionally improves efficiencies regarding ROIs and reaching a audience with laser-guided precision.
While Programmatic buying has not yet taken the healthcare domain by storm, a buzz throughout the topic has begun getting louder recently.
Media buying in healthcare quintessentially has become carried out in a conventional manner through sales teams approaching publishers either offline or internet and then go via a long process RFQs, negotiations, preparing artworks and specs modifications, purchase indenting, vendor onboarding and ultimately releasing payment. And this convoluted process has to undergo just 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 great at solving.
Now how does Programmatic buying works and why hasn’t it caught the imaginations of healthcare marketer yet? Let us dig into details.
So how exactly does Programmatic Buying Works? The Programmatic Ecosystem
First, we will understand some widely used terms found in the Programmatic Buying world and also the way the Programmatic ecosystem really works.
When a user clicks a web page which includes an advertising space upon it, the publisher of the website sends a cookie to user’s internet browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Bing… whichever).
Precisely what is Cookie: Cookie, in simple terms, is a small data file which is sent from publisher’s web server to user’s web browser which serves to build user’s identity
In the event that an inventory (advertising space on a website) is on the market, it triggers a request from publisher’s Ad Server with their Supply Side Platform (SSP) to fill the Ad slot
Definition of SSP: You might think of Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) similar to a library or storehouse of Ad Inventories designed for placing your advertisement. It is a platform that connects sellers (web sites, blogs, directories etc.) with buyers or advertisers who compete against each other for available Ad space.
Some of the popular 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 an individual who is going to begin to see the Ad like her demographic profile, browsing history, etc. This data helps DSPs to make a knowledgeable decision about a user before you make a bid.
What is a DSP? : Demand Side Platform or DSP, since they are referred in programmatic world, is actually a doorway to get advertising space in a automated fashion. Think about DSPs as advertiser’s gatekeepers who matches inventories with buyer’s marketing objectives. DSPs make bidding decision on the part of a buyer after evaluating parameters like publisher’s profile, ad placement, the surface cost of available impression, etc.).
Several of better-known DSPs include DoubleClick Bid Manager by Google, AdMission, MediaMath etc.
Based on the algorithm, DSPs assesses inventories to ascertain how valuable the sense is and whether or not to be involved in the auction for an advertiser. If DSP decides to sign up in bid auction, it sends a bid response straight back to SSP
SSP gathers all bid responses and picks a success in accordance with the second-price auction, this means, the individual who bids slightly above 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 will be served and also other content on the webpage.
And these steps take place in a lightning speed behind end even though the page loads!
Forms of Programmatic Buying
Programmatic Buying, as we know now, is automated buying of ad space on a webpage. You will find fundamentally 2 varieties of programmatic buying depending on if the ad space or inventory is bought through auction (Auction based) or if you are paying a fixed rate to 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 restricted to choose 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: Cost is prefixed but no ad space is scheduled aside in advance
Automated guaranteed or Programmatic premium: This is an automated process of buying guaranteed ad space that doesn’t involve an auction, in which the price is prefixed and impressions are guaranteed. Generally, this sort is most premium of all.
Scope of Programmatic Buying in Healthcare
Programmatic marketing has not yet taken healthcare industry by storm yet by any stretch in the imagination, especially so in India. Although this marketing phenomenon is discussed in marketing conferences and agency boardrooms however its role remains to be limited to lexicons and concept as an alternative to on actual spending of marketing dollars. Out of your global spending of USD 22 Bn on Programmatic buying in 2015, spending in India was actually a mere USD 25 M which makes it just above 1% share (Source: Media Global report cited in eMarketer )
By 2018, it’s projected that the medical industry will spend $2.2 billion on digital media. With roughly 40% of all media buys being programmatic, healthcare marketers use a great opportunity on their hands. Not simply is programmatic the newest buzzword, yet it is estimated that 70% of all media buys will probably be programmatic in 2016. That’s significant growth over two years.
Healthcare media buying in India remains to be predominantly carried out by 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 other hand, allows precision and previously unthought-of granularity to achieve target customers with better engagement and minimize costs. Permit me to present some the real world scenarios to bring home the impact of Programmatic Buying dental website marketing.
Imagine you happen to be visiting nearby pharmacy store to get sugar control medication after doing some online search about medicines dosage and side effects. Suddenly your smartphone buzzes. Curious to find out, you examine your inbox and find email message inviting one to require a free diabetes check-up with a Clinic merely a block from where you stand.
Almost scary, isn’t it! Well, and this is what Programmatic can do. It reaches your predefined customers or audience on the right moment using a right message. And this occurs in milliseconds in a automated fashion, due to footprints, or say Cookies, you left while looking the world wide web.
Programmatic buying is different the approach from rendering same advertising message to millions of customers to making a unique message for individual customers based upon her need at that moment of time. A evidence of concept for this could be how medical health insurance may be bought using a Programmatic platform.
While you were renewing medical insurance policy online for your parents, an advert banner flashed across your laptop screen proclaiming to supply better coverage with accessories with a lesser premium. The content is really timely and apt that you might not resist but clicking the ad. It feels that ‘someone’ is following your foot trails online. It appears that there is indeed ‘someone’ that follow users to provide messages that are very apt and timely.
In many ways, data analytics is the lifeblood of automated buying. Although a big level of information is gathered inside the medical industry, as an illustration, a hospital, hardly any than it can be used effectively to construct effective data-driven strategy.
First party data sources in hospitals like patient registration kiosk of Hospital Information System, CRMs or perhaps a Website can be used to capture customer intent by placing 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 engagement with patients or customers. This primary data along with 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 create homogenous band of audiences having similar traits like age, web surfing history, online purchases, content sharing on social media marketing, medical content consumed, etc.
Let us conjure up a probable scenario for a hospital that is going to launch Diabetes Management Program and wants to reach targeted audience utilizing their primary data base gathered over past years. Data points like e-mail address and contact amounts of patients undergoing care under endocrinologist would turn into 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 be delivered to prospective patient’s Gmail inbox, the RLSA campaign would make sure that message is rendered on user’s SERPs wherever they use the web.
The best 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 is video, search ads, mobile, display or social websites. Such media optimization receives a captive and engaged audience to marketers contributing to maximum value out of marketing dollar spent.
Say you wish to target women inside their early 40s located in North Bangalore for promoting cancer of the breast screening. Programmatic-strategy for achieving this is deliver your message on the in-market audience directly by capturing basic patient’s intent then tracking their online behavior. As an example, say 45-years old females who visited your Oncology web site and is searching information online on “prevention of cancer of the breast”.
Programmatic Buying allows you to meet the needs of your unique target market who seems to be on the far end of buyer’s journey and contains a better propensity of purchasing if your message touches their cord. Programmatic Buying enables you to track investment or in other words, 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 incorporates its share of challenges and unethical practices that digital marketers need to stand guard against. Such bad practices permeate over the Programmatic ecosystem and they are omnipresent across industries including healthcare.
In the highly regulated healthcare sector, these challenges are much more evident. So allow me to address some burning issues plaguing the Programmatic Buying in healthcare
1) Restrictions on retargeting: Hospital industry has become slow to evolve programmatic buying because medical ethics restrict any form of advertising to patients, even the audience retargeting using cookies
2) Ad misplacement: Ad placement while seeking to reach a prospect, say a Physician 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 above mentioned, Demand Side Platforms are aggregators of inventory to make them designed for Advertisers. However, in health care industry, only a few reputed medical publishers like PubMed, WebMD, The Lancet, NEJM etc. may renounce control of their inventory to let open ad ecosystem like Programmatic dominate. That is why most medical publishers still prefer reserved, non-auction based on 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 limited and finite, mostly they may be bought via direct 1-to-1 Publisher-Advertiser model leading to inflated CPMs and suboptimal performance parameters (read ROI)
6) Stale-on-Sale:General impression is 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, known as the Programmatic Direct. Hence, what exactly is left is a less coveted, tier-2 inventory. Although buying this inventory can help derive engagement at far 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. The truth is we already have some media buying platforms in healthcare like MM&M, Compas etc. which allow automated buying to healthcare publishers. However, given 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 available with such private exchanges is also limited when compared with full-service media agencies.
Aside these challenges which are specific to health care industry, Programmatic Buying has some inherent concerns that are pervasive across industries. Including some outlined below:
8) Non-human traffic: Non-human traffic or maybe the NHT as is also commonly referred in Programmatic world is considered the most prevalent form of fraud whereby programs imitate desired online behavior and register false matrices like impressions, views or clicks. Bots pretend to become actual humans while actually these are piece of malware that inflates the performance matrices by masquerading as organic activity. Common types of this is certainly paid ‘likes’ or ‘ 1s’ on social networking.
9) Viewability: Viewability is the prospect of an advert to be noticed. Often times a sizable proportion of impressions that advertisers purchase goes unseen either because of below-the-fold 60dextpky or user might scroll a page too quickly to see 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 be determined by advertising because the main method to obtain their revenue. And with ad blocking set up, a blogger would lose an incentive to generate free-to-consume content unless the alternate stream of revenue is available in their mind. Likewise, publisher websites lose interest 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. Healthcare industry has become slow to awaken to this particular phenomenon on account of industry-specific challenges. However, adoption of information, involvement of social media marketing companies and proliferation of healthcare specific ad networks to control automated buying in healthcare would only mitigate these challenges.
The plastic surgeon marketing including hospitals and pharmaceutical companies will 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 prospects or patients.