Data management programs enabled with technology has completely changed the way in which marketers buy media today. Increasingly more companies are embracing technologies that facilitate media transactions in actual-efforts and at a granular level. Programmatic buying ecosystem are at the core with this revolution and contains triggered a paradigm shift from medical advertising buying to targeted ad placements depending on user behavior.
Programmatic buying means sale and get of media in real time within an automated manner through software and algorithms. Automation is live and accurate to such extent it not only saves time but additionally improves efficiencies in terms of ROIs and reaching a target market with laser-guided precision.
While Programmatic buying has not yet yet taken the healthcare domain by storm, a buzz across 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 online and go via a long process RFQs, negotiations, preparing artworks and specs modifications, purchase indenting, vendor onboarding and in the end releasing payment. And this convoluted process has to pass through before the ad is even published. Hence there is a lag between purchase intent and actual media release. And that is certainly what Programmatic is useful at solving.
So how does Programmatic buying works and why hasn’t it caught the imaginations of healthcare marketer yet? Allow us to dig into details.
So how exactly does Programmatic Buying Works? The Programmatic Ecosystem
First, we will understand some commonly used terms utilized in the Programmatic Buying world and also just how the Programmatic ecosystem really works.
Each time a user clicks on an internet page that has an advertising space on it, the publisher in the website sends a cookie to user’s web browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Bing… whichever).
Precisely what 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 build user’s identity
Just in case an inventory (advertising space on the web page) is on sale, it triggers a request from publisher’s Ad Server to their Supply Side Platform (SSP) to fill the Ad slot
Concise explanation of SSP: It may seem of Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) such as a library or storehouse of Ad Inventories designed for placing your advertisement. This is a platform that connects sellers (sites, blogs, directories etc.) with buyers or advertisers who compete against the other for available Ad space.
A number 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 specifics of the person who is about to begin to see the Ad like her demographic profile, browsing history, etc. This information helps DSPs to create a well informed decision regarding a user before making a bid.
Just what is a DSP? : Demand Side Platform or DSP, as they are referred in programmatic world, is a doorway to buy advertising space in a automated fashion. Imagine 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 ground price of available impression, etc.).
A few of better-known DSPs include DoubleClick Bid Manager by Google, AdMission, MediaMath etc.
In line with the algorithm, DSPs assesses inventories to find out how valuable the impression is and if you should participate in the auction with respect to an advertiser. If DSP decides to participate 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 higher than the second highest bidder.
SSP notifies winning DSP as well as the DSP, subsequently, 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 as well as other content on a web page.
And these steps occur at a lightning speed at the back end as the page loads!
Kinds of Programmatic Buying
Programmatic Buying, as we know now, is automated buying of ad space on the website. You can 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 towards the publisher (fixed price).
Open auction: This is based on real-time auction-based bidding. Most prevalent of programmatic buying
Invitation-only auction: This too is auction-based but bidding is restricted to decide on advertisers selected from a publisher. More premium inventory sold at a higher price. Some publishers give ‘first look’ advantage to some advertisers before ad space is visible to others
Unreserved set rate: Cost is prefixed but no ad space is set aside upfront
Automated guaranteed or Programmatic premium: It is an automated procedure for buying guaranteed ad space that doesn’t involve an auction, where the pricing is prefixed and impressions are guaranteed. Generally, this particular type is most premium of all types.
Scope of Programmatic Buying in Healthcare
Programmatic marketing has not taken healthcare industry by storm yet by any stretch in the imagination, especially so in India. Even though this marketing phenomenon is discussed in marketing conferences and agency boardrooms however its role continues to be restricted to lexicons and concept rather than on actual spending of promoting dollars. Out from the global spending of USD 22 Bn on Programmatic buying in 2015, spending in India was a mere USD 25 M rendering it just above 1% share (Source: Media Global report cited in eMarketer )
By 2018, it’s projected that the healthcare industry will spend $2.2 billion on digital media. With roughly 40% of all media buys being programmatic, healthcare marketers possess a great opportunity on their hands. Not only is programmatic the brand new buzzword, but it is estimated that 70% of all the media buys will be programmatic in 2016. That’s significant growth over 2 yrs.
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 get ad space or inventory. Programmatic buying, on the other hand, allows precision and previously unthought-of granularity to attain target customers with better engagement and minimize costs. Let me present some real life scenarios to take home the impact of Programmatic Buying internet dental marketing.
Imagine you might be visiting nearby pharmacy store to acquire sugar control medication after doing a little online search about medicines dosage and adverse reactions. Suddenly your smartphone buzzes. Curious to learn, you look at the inbox and find email message inviting anyone to require a free diabetes check-up at a Clinic simply a block from what your location is.
Almost scary, isn’t it! Well, this is just what Programmatic can do. It reaches your predefined customers or audience in the right moment using a right message. And all of this takes place in milliseconds in an automated fashion, because of footprints, or say Cookies, you left while searching the world wide web.
Programmatic buying has evolved the approach from rendering same advertising message to numerous customers to creating a distinctive message for individual customers based on her need at that moment of energy. A evidence of concept for this may be how medical health insurance might be bought employing a Programmatic platform.
Whilst you were renewing medical insurance policy online to your parents, an advertisement banner flashed across your laptop screen proclaiming to supply better coverage with accessories at a lesser premium. The content is so timely and apt that you may not resist but clicking the ad. It feels that ‘someone’ is after the foot trails online. It ends up that there should indeed be ‘someone’ that follow users to supply messages which can be very apt and timely.
In ways, data analytics is the lifeblood of automated buying. Although a tremendous volume of info is gathered from the healthcare industry, for instance, a hospital, hardly any than it is commonly used effectively to develop 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 can then follow and track a customer’s online journey and put meaningful and compelling messages to operate a vehicle engagement with patients or customers. This primary data in addition to 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 produce homogenous band of audiences having similar traits like age, web surfing history, online purchases, content sharing on social websites, 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 making use of their primary data base gathered over past years. Data points like e-mail address and contact variety 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 transported to prospective patient’s Gmail inbox, the RLSA campaign would make sure that message is rendered on user’s SERPs wherever they go online.
The best part of programmatic advertising is it can integrate all media delivery options and provide the message to right audiences wherever they live online whether it be video, search ads, mobile, display or social networking. Such media optimization turns into a captive and engaged audience to marketers resulting in maximum value away from marketing dollar spent.
Say you want to target women within their early 40s living in North Bangalore for promoting breast cancer screening. Programmatic-way of carrying this out is deliver your message on the in-market audience directly by capturing basic patient’s intent after which tracking their online behavior. As an example, say 45-yr old women that visited your Oncology web page and is searching information online on “protection against breast cancers”.
Programmatic Buying enables you to meet the needs of your unique potential audience who seems to be in the far end of buyer’s journey and it has a higher propensity of purchasing when 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 arrived being 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 are omnipresent across industries including healthcare.
Within a highly regulated healthcare sector, these challenges are a lot more evident. So permit me to address some burning issues plaguing the Programmatic Buying in healthcare
1) Restrictions on retargeting: Hospital industry continues to be 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 trying to reach a prospect, say a doctor inside a non-clinical environment similar to a Game Center or Expedia Travel site may actually dilute incredible importance of brand name and message
3) Control: As mentioned before, Demand Side Platforms are aggregators of inventory to make them readily available for Advertisers. However, in healthcare industry, hardly any reputed medical publishers like PubMed, WebMD, The Lancet, NEJM etc. may renounce control of their inventory to permit open ad ecosystem like Programmatic take control of. That is the reason most medical publishers still prefer reserved, non-auction depending on programmatic buying like either Programmatic Direct.
4) Higher costs: Due to 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 are bought via direct 1-to-1 Publisher-Advertiser model creating inflated CPMs and suboptimal performance parameters (read ROI)
6) Stale-on-Sale:General impression is 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 through direct buyout involving humans or direct buyout involving automation, referred to as the Programmatic Direct. Hence, exactly what is left is a less coveted, tier-2 inventory. Although buying this inventory may 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 emerged. Actually there are already some media buying platforms in healthcare like MM&M, Compas etc. that permit automated buying to healthcare publishers. However, given that transparency and neutrality of open buying platform could be compromised with such agencies, there is very little incentive for advertisers to work with such private ad exchanges. Besides, scale and inventory provided by such private exchanges is likewise limited in comparison to full-service media agencies.
Aside these challenges that are specific to medical industry, Programmatic Buying has some inherent concerns that are pervasive across industries. For example some outlined below:
8) Non-human traffic: Non-human traffic or maybe the NHT as they are 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 to get actual humans while actually they are piece of malware that inflates the performance matrices by masquerading as organic activity. Common examples of this can be paid ‘likes’ or ‘ 1s’ on social media.
9) Viewability: Viewability is the prospect of an advert to be seen. Frequently a big proportion of impressions that advertisers pay money for goes unseen either due to below-the-fold 60dextpky or user might scroll a page too rapidly to find out the ad.
Ad blocking: Today’s sophisticated programs allow users to get rid of advertising while browsing the web or using apps. Most publishers and professional bloggers depend upon advertising as the main supply of their revenue. And with ad blocking in place, a blogger would lose an incentive to create free-to-consume content unless the alternate stream of revenue is offered in their mind. Likewise, publisher websites lose interest 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 continues to be slow to get up to the phenomenon because of industry-specific challenges. However, adoption of web data, involvement of social media companies and proliferation of healthcare specific ad networks to manage automated buying in healthcare would only mitigate these challenges.
The marketing plastic surgery including hospitals and pharmaceutical companies can be a good idea to consider programmatic buying within a core marketing plan and move from broad, segment-based marketing to specific fine-grained messages crafted to attract, nurture and convert potential customers or patients.