Data management programs enabled with technologies have completely changed the way marketers buy media today. A growing number of companies are embracing technologies that facilitate media transactions in real-time as well as at a granular level. Programmatic buying ecosystem reaches the core on this revolution and it has triggered a paradigm shift from medical internet marketing buying to targeted ad placements based upon user behavior.
Programmatic buying means sale and get of media live in an automated manner through software and algorithms. Automation is real time and accurate to such extent it not just saves time but in addition improves efficiencies in terms of ROIs and reaching a audience with laser-guided precision.
While Programmatic buying has not yet taken the healthcare domain by storm, a buzz round the topic has begun getting louder lately.
Media buying in healthcare quintessentially has been carried out in a regular 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 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 what Programmatic is great at solving.
So 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 employed in the Programmatic Buying world and also how the Programmatic ecosystem really works.
Each time a user clicks an internet page that has a marketing space on it, the publisher in the webpage sends a cookie to user’s web browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Bing… whichever).
What exactly is Cookie: Cookie, in simple terms, can be a small data file which is sent from publisher’s web server to user’s browser which serves to ascertain user’s identity
In case an inventory (advertising space on the website) is available, 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 may think of Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) similar to a library or storehouse of Ad Inventories available for placing your advertisement. This is a platform that connects sellers (internet sites, blogs, directories etc.) with buyers or advertisers who compete against each other for available Ad space.
A number 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 an individual who is going to start to see the Ad like her demographic profile, browsing history, etc. These details helps DSPs to make a well informed decision about a user before you make a bid.
Just what is a DSP? : Demand Side Platform or DSP, because they are referred in programmatic world, is actually a doorway to purchase advertising space within an automated fashion. Consider 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 number 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 whether or not to take part in the auction for an advertiser. If DSP decides to participate in in bid auction, it sends a bid response straight back to SSP
SSP gathers all bid responses and picks a success depending on the second-price auction, which means, the individual who bids slightly higher than the second highest bidder.
SSP notifies winning DSP and 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 then be served together with other content over a web page.
And all sorts of these steps take place at the lightning speed at the back end whilst the page loads!
Types of Programmatic Buying
Programmatic Buying, as you may know now, is automated buying of ad space on a web page. There are actually fundamentally 2 types of programmatic buying dependant upon whether or not the ad space or inventory is bought through auction (Auction based) or if you are paying a fixed rate on the publisher (fixed price).
Open auction: This will depend on real-time auction-based bidding. Most prevalent of most programmatic buying
Invitation-only auction: This too is auction-based but bidding has limitations to decide on advertisers selected with 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 interest rate: Prices are prefixed but no ad space is placed aside upfront
Automated guaranteed or Programmatic premium: This is an automated technique of buying guaranteed ad space that doesn’t involve an auction, where the pricing is 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 medical 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 continues to be confined to lexicons and concept rather than 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 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 media buys being programmatic, healthcare marketers use a great opportunity on his or her hands. Not simply is programmatic the newest buzzword, however it is estimated that 70% of most media buys is going to be programmatic in 2016. That’s significant growth over two years.
Healthcare media buying in India continues to be predominantly completed 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 arrive at target customers with better engagement and minimize costs. Let me present some real world scenarios to take home the impact of Programmatic Buying dental seo marketing.
Imagine you will be visiting nearby pharmacy store to get sugar control medication after doing a little online search about medicines dosage and adverse reactions. Suddenly your smartphone buzzes. Curious to know, you examine your inbox and find email message inviting you to definitely have a free diabetes check-up at the Clinic merely a block far from your location.
Almost scary, isn’t it! Well, this is exactly what Programmatic is capable of doing. It reaches your predefined customers or audience on the right moment with a right message. And all sorts of this happens in milliseconds in an automated fashion, as a result of footprints, or say Cookies, you left while searching the internet.
Programmatic buying has evolved the approach from rendering same advertising message to an incredible number of customers to making an original message for individual customers depending on her need right then of your time. A proof of concept for this can be how health insurance could be bought employing a Programmatic platform.
As you were renewing medical health insurance policy online for your personal parents, an advert banner flashed across your laptop screen proclaiming to offer better coverage with accessories at the lesser premium. The content is very timely and apt that you could not resist but clicking the ad. It feels that ‘someone’ is following your foot trails online. It turns out that there should indeed be ‘someone’ that follow users to provide messages which are very apt and timely.
In such a way, data analytics is definitely the lifeblood of automated buying. Although a big amount of info is gathered within the medical industry, as an example, a hospital, hardly any from it is commonly 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 can be used to capture customer intent by putting a cookie on customer’s browser that may then follow and track a customer’s online journey and set meaningful and compelling messages to operate 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 selection of audiences having similar traits like age, web browsing history, online purchases, content sharing on social media, medical content consumed, etc.
We will conjure up a probable scenario to get a hospital that is about 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 make contact with quantities of patients undergoing care under endocrinologist would become 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 become delivered to prospective patient’s Gmail inbox, the RLSA campaign would ensure that message is rendered on user’s SERPs wherever they search online.
The best part of programmatic advertising is it can integrate all media delivery options and give you the message to right audiences wherever they live online whether it is video, search ads, mobile, display or social media marketing. Such media optimization turns into a captive and engaged audience to marketers resulting in maximum value out from marketing dollar spent.
Say you would like to target women with their early 40s residing in North Bangalore for promoting cancers of the breast screening. Programmatic-means of accomplishing this is deliver your message towards the in-market audience directly by capturing basic patient’s intent and after that tracking their online behavior. As an example, say 45-year-old women who visited your Oncology webpage which is searching information online on “prevention of breast cancers”.
Programmatic Buying enables you to meet the needs of your unique audience who seems to be with the far end of buyer’s journey and contains an increased propensity of getting should 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 has come being 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 must stand guard against. Such bad practices permeate throughout the Programmatic ecosystem and they are omnipresent across industries including healthcare.
Within a highly regulated healthcare sector, these challenges are even more evident. So i want to address some burning issues plaguing the Programmatic Buying in healthcare
1) Restrictions on retargeting: Hospital industry is slow to adapt programmatic buying because medical ethics restrict any kind of advertising to patients, even audience retargeting using cookies
2) Ad misplacement: Ad placement while attempting to reach a prospect, say a health care provider in a non-clinical environment such as a Game Center or Expedia Travel site might actually dilute need for brand name and message
3) Control: As previously mentioned, Demand Side Platforms are aggregators of inventory and make them readily available for Advertisers. However, in medical industry, hardly any reputed medical publishers like PubMed, WebMD, The Lancet, NEJM etc. may renounce power over their inventory permit open ad ecosystem like Programmatic dominate. That is why most medical publishers still prefer reserved, non-auction according to programmatic buying like either Programmatic Direct.
4) Higher costs: As a result 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 has limitations and finite, mostly these are 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 that a media bought through Programmatic model is often 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, called the Programmatic Direct. Hence, precisely what is left is actually a less coveted, tier-2 inventory. Although buying this inventory might help derive engagement at much lower 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. which allow automated buying to healthcare publishers. However, considering the fact that transparency and neutrality of open buying platform would be compromised with such agencies, there is very little incentive for advertisers to do business with such private ad exchanges. Besides, scale and inventory available with such private exchanges is additionally limited in comparison to full-service media agencies.
Aside these challenges that are specific to healthcare industry, Programmatic Buying has some inherent conditions that are pervasive across industries. Like some outlined below:
8) Non-human traffic: Non-human traffic or perhaps the NHT as it is commonly referred in Programmatic world is the most prevalent type of fraud whereby programs imitate desired online behavior and register false matrices like impressions, views or clicks. Bots pretend to get actual humans while actually they are part of malware that inflates the performance matrices by masquerading as organic activity. Common types of this is paid ‘likes’ or ‘ 1s’ on social media marketing.
9) Viewability: Viewability is the probability of an advert to be seen. Many times a huge proportion of impressions that advertisers buy goes unseen either because of below-the-fold 60dextpky or user might scroll a page too rapidly to view 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 being the main supply of their revenue. Together with ad blocking set up, a blogger would lose a reason to make free-to-consume content unless the alternate stream of revenue is accessible directly to them. Likewise, publisher websites lose interest since their revenue model according to content-for-advertising is compromised
Programmatic buying has become a prominent inclusion in marketer’s quiver since last decade. Health care industry is slow to get up to this phenomenon because of industry-specific challenges. However, adoption of information, involvement of social websites companies and proliferation of healthcare specific ad networks to control automated buying in healthcare would only mitigate these challenges.
The marketing for plastic surgeons including hospitals and pharmaceutical companies will be wise to consider programmatic buying within a core marketing plan and move from broad, segment-based marketing to specific fine-grained messages crafted to get, nurture and convert potential customers or patients.