Data management programs enabled with technologies have completely changed the way in which marketers buy media today. A lot more companies are embracing technologies that facilitate media transactions in real-time as well as at the granular level. Programmatic buying ecosystem is at the core with this revolution and has triggered a paradigm shift from medical advertising buying to targeted ad placements based upon user behavior.
Programmatic buying means sale and purchase of media instantly within an automated manner through software and algorithms. Automation is live and accurate to such extent that it not only saves time but in addition improves efficiencies when it comes to ROIs and reaching a audience with laser-guided precision.
While Programmatic buying has not yet yet taken the healthcare domain by storm, a buzz round the topic has begun getting louder in recent times.
Media buying in healthcare quintessentially is carried out a normal manner through sales teams approaching publishers either offline or internet and then go through a long process RFQs, negotiations, preparing artworks and specs modifications, purchase indenting, vendor onboarding and finally releasing payment. And this convoluted process has to go through prior to the ad is even published. Hence you will find 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 widely used terms found in the Programmatic Buying world plus just how the Programmatic ecosystem actually works.
Every time a user clicks an online page which has a promotional space upon it, the publisher of your web site sends a cookie to user’s browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Bing… whichever).
Exactly what is Cookie: Cookie, in simple terms, can be a small data file which is sent from publisher’s web server to user’s web browser which serves to ascertain user’s identity
In case an inventory (advertising space on a website) is on sale, it triggers a request from publisher’s Ad Server on their Supply Side Platform (SSP) to fill the Ad slot
Concept of SSP: You may be thinking of Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) such as a library or storehouse of Ad Inventories available for placing your advertisement. This is a platform that connects sellers (web sites, blogs, directories etc.) with buyers or advertisers who compete against the other person 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 details about an individual who is going to start to see the Ad like her demographic profile, browsing history, etc. This data helps DSPs to create a well informed decision regarding a user before making a bid.
Exactly what is a DSP? : Demand Side Platform or DSP, because they are referred in programmatic world, can be a doorway to acquire advertising space inside an 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 surface price of available impression, etc.).
Several of better-known DSPs include DoubleClick Bid Manager by Google, AdMission, MediaMath etc.
Depending on the algorithm, DSPs assesses inventories to ascertain how valuable the sense is and whether or not to get involved in the auction for an advertiser. If DSP decides to sign up in bid auction, it sends a bid response to SSP
SSP gathers all bid responses and picks a winner in line with the second-price auction, this means, the individual that bids slightly over the second highest bidder.
SSP notifies winning DSP along with 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 is then served together with other content with a web page.
And all of these steps transpire in a lightning speed behind end even though the page loads!
Kinds of Programmatic Buying
Programmatic Buying, as we know now, is automated buying of ad space with a web site. There are fundamentally 2 forms of programmatic buying according to if 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 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 select advertisers selected by a publisher. More premium inventory sold with a higher price. Some publishers give ‘first look’ advantage to some advertisers before ad space is visible to others
Unreserved fixed interest rate: Cost is prefixed but no ad space is defined aside in advance
Automated guaranteed or Programmatic premium: It is an automated procedure for buying guaranteed ad space that doesn’t involve an auction, where 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 health care 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 but its role remains to be confined to lexicons and concept as an alternative to on actual spending of promoting dollars. From the global spending of USD 22 Bn on Programmatic buying in 2015, spending in India was actually 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 most media buys being programmatic, healthcare marketers have got a great opportunity on their hands. Not simply is programmatic the brand new buzzword, however it is estimated that 70% of all media buys will be programmatic in 2016. That’s significant growth over 2 yrs.
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 get ad space or inventory. Programmatic buying, on the other hand, allows precision and previously unthought-of granularity to achieve target customers with better engagement minimizing costs. Permit me to present some real life scenarios to create home the impact of Programmatic Buying dental advertising.
Imagine you will be 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 examine your inbox and look for email message inviting one to go on a free diabetes check-up with a Clinic simply a block away from where you stand.
Almost scary, isn’t it! Well, this is exactly what Programmatic is capable of doing. It reaches your predefined customers or audience with the right moment having a right message. And all of this happens in milliseconds within an automated fashion, because of footprints, or say Cookies, you left while looking the world wide web.
Programmatic buying changed the approach from rendering same advertising message to an incredible number of customers to creating a unique message for individual customers according to her need right then of your time. A proof of concept for this might be how medical health insurance could be bought utilizing a Programmatic platform.
When you were renewing health care insurance policy online for the parents, an ad banner flashed across your laptop screen proclaiming to supply better coverage with accessories with a lesser premium. Your message is very timely and apt that you could not resist but clicking the ad. It feels that ‘someone’ is after the foot trails online. It ends up that there is indeed ‘someone’ that follow users to offer messages which can be very apt and timely.
In such a way, data analytics will be the lifeblood of automated buying. Although a tremendous quantity of data is gathered inside the health care industry, for example, 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 could 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 put meaningful and compelling messages to drive 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 form homogenous band of audiences having similar traits like age, web browsing history, online purchases, content sharing on social websites, medical content consumed, etc.
We will conjure up a probable scenario for 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 variety of patients undergoing care under endocrinologist would develop into a good audience pool to perform 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 certain 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 give you the message to right audiences wherever they live online whether it be video, search ads, mobile, display or social media marketing. Such media optimization receives a captive and engaged audience to marketers resulting in maximum value 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-method of doing this is deliver your message for the in-market audience directly by capturing basic patient’s intent and then tracking their online behavior. For example, say 45-year-old women who visited your Oncology website and it is searching information online on “prevention of cancers of the breast”.
Programmatic Buying lets you cater to your distinct target audience that is at the far end of buyer’s journey and possesses a greater propensity of getting if your message touches their cord. Programmatic Buying helps to track investment or put simply, makes returns attributable. Advertising has developed into a niche endeavor and Programmatic Buying has arrived like 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 all over the Programmatic ecosystem and are omnipresent across industries including healthcare.
In a 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 type of advertising to patients, even the audience retargeting using cookies
2) Ad misplacement: Ad placement while seeking to reach a prospect, say a doctor in the non-clinical environment like a Game Center or Expedia Travel site might actually dilute need for brand and message
3) Control: As previously mentioned, Demand Side Platforms are aggregators of inventory and then make them designed for Advertisers. However, in healthcare industry, very few reputed medical publishers like PubMed, WebMD, The Lancet, NEJM etc. may renounce power over their inventory to let open ad ecosystem like Programmatic take control. 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 more than 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 resulting in inflated CPMs and suboptimal performance parameters (read ROI)
6) Stale-on-Sale:General impression is the fact that a media bought through Programmatic model can be a leftover, remnant inventory. This is simply not entirely untrue in healthcare either. Media space buying in healthcare predominantly is through either direct buyout involving humans or direct buyout involving automation, referred to as the Programmatic Direct. Hence, what is left is really a less coveted, tier-2 inventory. Although buying this inventory might help derive engagement at 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 have emerged. Actually there are already some media buying platforms in healthcare like MM&M, Compas etc. that enable automated buying to healthcare publishers. However, provided that transparency and neutrality of open buying platform would be compromised by using these agencies, there is very little incentive for advertisers to use such private ad exchanges. Besides, scale and inventory provided by such private exchanges is also limited in comparison with full-service media agencies.
Aside these challenges which can be specific to medical industry, Programmatic Buying has some inherent conditions that are pervasive across industries. Like some outlined below:
8) Non-human traffic: Non-human traffic or the NHT as it is commonly referred in Programmatic world is considered the most prevalent kind of fraud whereby programs imitate desired online behavior and register false matrices like impressions, views or clicks. Bots pretend being actual humans while actually they are bit of malware that inflates the performance matrices by masquerading as organic activity. Common types of this is certainly paid ‘likes’ or ‘ 1s’ on social media.
9) Viewability: Viewability is the possibilities of an ad to be noticed. Frequently a large proportion of impressions that advertisers pay money for goes unseen either due to 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 take out advertising while browsing the web or using apps. Most publishers and professional bloggers depend upon advertising because the main supply of their revenue. And with ad blocking set up, a blogger would lose an incentive to make free-to-consume content unless the alternate stream of revenue is accessible to them. Likewise, publisher websites lose interest since their revenue model based upon content-for-advertising is compromised
Programmatic buying is a huge prominent inclusion in marketer’s quiver since last decade. Health care industry has become slow to wake up for this phenomenon on account of industry-specific challenges. However, adoption of web data, involvement of social websites companies and proliferation of healthcare specific ad networks to handle automated buying in healthcare would only mitigate these challenges.
The plastic surgeon seo including hospitals and pharmaceutical companies would be smart to consider programmatic buying as part of a core marketing plan and move from broad, segment-based marketing to specific fine-grained messages crafted to draw in, nurture and convert potential customers or patients.