Data management programs enabled with technologies have completely changed how marketers buy media today. More and more companies are embracing technologies that facilitate media transactions in actual-time and with a granular level. Programmatic buying ecosystem is in the core of the revolution and has triggered a paradigm shift from medical office marketing buying to targeted ad placements based on user behavior.
Programmatic buying means sale and buy of media in real time in an automated manner through software and algorithms. Automation is real time and accurate to such extent it not simply 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 yet taken the healthcare domain by storm, a buzz throughout the topic has begun getting louder lately.
Media buying in healthcare quintessentially is done in a traditional manner through sales teams approaching publishers either offline or on the web and go through a long process RFQs, negotiations, preparing artworks and specs modifications, purchase indenting, vendor onboarding and ultimately releasing payment. And all sorts of this convoluted process has to go through before 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 good 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 commonly used terms employed in the Programmatic Buying world as well as how the Programmatic ecosystem really works.
When a user clicks a web page which includes a marketing space upon it, the publisher in the web page sends a cookie to user’s internet browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Bing… whichever).
Precisely what is Cookie: Cookie, in simple terms, is really a small data file that is sent from publisher’s web server to user’s web browser which serves to determine user’s identity
In the event that an inventory (advertising space on the website) is on the market, it triggers a request from publisher’s Ad Server for their Supply Side Platform (SSP) to fill the Ad slot
Concise explanation of SSP: It may seem 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 (websites, 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 details about the consumer who is going to view the Ad like her demographic profile, browsing history, etc. These details helps DSPs to produce an informed decision with regards to a user before making a bid.
Just what is a DSP? : Demand Side Platform or DSP, because they are referred in programmatic world, is really a doorway to purchase advertising space in a automated fashion. Consider DSPs as advertiser’s gatekeepers who matches inventories with buyer’s marketing objectives. DSPs make bidding decision for a buyer after evaluating parameters like publisher’s profile, ad placement, a floor price of available impression, etc.).
A few of better-known DSPs include DoubleClick Bid Manager by Google, AdMission, MediaMath etc.
Based on the algorithm, DSPs assesses inventories to figure out how valuable the impression is and if they should participate in the auction on the part of an advertiser. If DSP decides to participate in in bid auction, it sends a bid response to SSP
SSP gathers all bid responses and picks a winner depending on the second-price auction, that means, the one that bids slightly higher than the second highest bidder.
SSP notifies winning DSP along with 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 then served as well as other content over a webpage.
And all of these steps happen at a lightning speed behind end while the page loads!
Types of Programmatic Buying
Programmatic Buying, as you may know now, is automated buying of ad space with a website. You can find fundamentally 2 types of programmatic buying dependant upon regardless of if the ad space or inventory is bought through auction (Auction based) or if you are paying a fixed rate for the publisher (fixed price).
Open auction: This is dependant on real-time auction-based bidding. Most prevalent of programmatic buying
Invitation-only auction: This too is auction-based but bidding is restricted to select advertisers selected from a publisher. More premium inventory sold at the 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 scheduled aside beforehand
Automated guaranteed or Programmatic premium: It becomes an automated procedure of buying guaranteed ad space that doesn’t involve an auction, where the pricing is prefixed and impressions are guaranteed. Generally, this sort is most premium of all types.
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 if this marketing phenomenon is discussed in marketing conferences and agency boardrooms however its role remains to be limited to lexicons and concept instead of on actual spending of advertising dollars. Out of 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 this medical 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 new buzzword, however it is estimated that 70% of all media buys will probably be programmatic in 2016. That’s significant growth over 2 years.
Healthcare media buying in India is still 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 get ad space or inventory. Programmatic buying, on the flip side, allows precision and previously unthought-of granularity to arrive at target customers with better engagement and reduce costs. Allow me to present some real world scenarios to create home the impact of Programmatic Buying dental marketing solutions.
Imagine you will be visiting nearby pharmacy store to acquire sugar control medication after doing a bit of online search about medicines dosage and side effects. Suddenly your smartphone buzzes. Curious to understand, you examine your inbox and locate email message inviting one to go on a free diabetes check-up at the Clinic only a block from where you stand.
Almost scary, isn’t it! Well, this is just what Programmatic is capable of doing. It reaches your predefined customers or audience on the right moment by using a right message. And all this happens in milliseconds in a automated fashion, as a result of footprints, or say Cookies, you left while searching the web.
Programmatic buying has evolved the approach from rendering same advertising message to numerous customers to creating a unique message for individual customers according to her need at that moment of energy. A proof of concept for this could be how medical health insurance might be bought utilizing a Programmatic platform.
As you were renewing health insurance policy online for your parents, an ad banner flashed across your laptop screen proclaiming to supply better coverage with accessories in a 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 there is definitely ‘someone’ that follow users to provide messages that happen to be very apt and timely.
In a way, data analytics will be the lifeblood of automated buying. Although an enormous level of information is gathered in the medical industry, as an illustration, a hospital, almost no from 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 a Website may be used to capture customer intent by placing a cookie on customer’s browser which could 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 plus 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 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 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 work targeted messages using GSP (Gmail Sponsored Promotions) or RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) campaigns. While a GSP would enable messages to be sent 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 that it can integrate all media delivery options and provide you with the message to right audiences wherever they live online whether it is video, search ads, mobile, display or social media. Such media optimization gets a captive and engaged audience to marketers leading to maximum value away from marketing dollar spent.
Say you would like to target women with their early 40s surviving in North Bangalore for promoting breast cancers screening. Programmatic-way of accomplishing 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 is searching information online on “prevention of breast cancer”.
Programmatic Buying lets you cater to your distinct audience who is in the far end of buyer’s journey and possesses a higher propensity of purchasing if your message touches their cord. Programmatic Buying enables you to track investment or to put it differently, makes returns attributable. Advertising has turned into a niche endeavor and Programmatic Buying came 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 across the Programmatic ecosystem and so 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 continues to be slow to evolve programmatic buying because medical ethics restrict any kind of advertising to patients, the audience retargeting using cookies
2) Ad misplacement: Ad placement while seeking to reach a prospect, say a Physician in the non-clinical environment similar to a Game Center or Expedia Travel site may actually dilute need for brand and message
3) Control: As previously mentioned, Demand Side Platforms are aggregators of inventory and make them available for Advertisers. However, in health care 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 over. That is the reason why most medical publishers still prefer reserved, non-auction based upon 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 higher than in other industries like retail and travel.
5) Inventory scale: Since ad spaces on medical sites has limitations and finite, mostly they may be 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 that a media bought through Programmatic model is usually 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 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. In reality 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 could be compromised with your agencies, there is 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 that are specific to healthcare industry, Programmatic Buying has some inherent concerns that are pervasive across industries. Including some outlined below:
8) Non-human traffic: Non-human traffic or perhaps the NHT as they are commonly referred in Programmatic world is easily 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 part of malware that inflates the performance matrices by masquerading as organic activity. Common samples of this is paid ‘likes’ or ‘ 1s’ on social networking.
9) Viewability: Viewability is the possibilities of an ad to be noticed. Many times a huge proportion of impressions that advertisers purchase goes unseen either as a result of below-the-fold 60dextpky or user might scroll a page too rapidly 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 on advertising as being the main source of their revenue. Along with ad blocking into position, a blogger would lose a motivation to produce free-to-consume content unless the alternate stream of revenue is available to them. Likewise, publisher websites lose interest since their revenue model depending on content-for-advertising is compromised
Programmatic buying is a prominent inclusion in marketer’s quiver since last decade. Healthcare industry has been slow to wake up to the phenomenon on account of industry-specific challenges. However, adoption of data, involvement of social media companies and proliferation of healthcare specific ad networks to handle automated buying in healthcare would only mitigate these challenges.
The plastic surgery marketing including hospitals and pharmaceutical companies would be wise to consider programmatic buying as an element of a core marketing strategy and move from broad, segment-based marketing to specific fine-grained messages crafted to bring in, nurture and convert potential customers or patients.