Data management programs enabled with technology has completely changed the way marketers buy media today. A lot more companies are embracing technologies that facilitate media transactions in real-some time and with a granular level. Programmatic buying ecosystem reaches the core of the revolution and it has triggered a paradigm shift from medical practice marketing buying to targeted ad placements according to user behavior.
Programmatic buying means sale and purchase of media live in a automated manner through software and algorithms. Automation is real-time and accurate to such extent which it not simply saves time but also improves efficiencies when it comes to ROIs and reaching a potential 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 is completed in a conventional manner through sales teams approaching publishers either offline or online and then go via a long process RFQs, negotiations, preparing artworks and specs modifications, purchase indenting, vendor onboarding and finally releasing payment. And all sorts of this convoluted process has to pass through just before the ad is even published. Hence there exists a lag between purchase intent and actual media release. And that is what Programmatic is great at solving.
Now 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, let us understand some popular terms employed in the Programmatic Buying world plus exactly how the Programmatic ecosystem actually works.
Each time a user clicks on a web-based page which has a marketing space upon it, the publisher from the web site sends a cookie to user’s 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 ascertain user’s identity
In the event an inventory (advertising space with a web site) is available for sale, it triggers a request from publisher’s Ad Server to their Supply Side Platform (SSP) to fill the Ad slot
Meaning 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. It is a platform that connects sellers (internet sites, blogs, directories etc.) with buyers or advertisers who compete against the 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 information regarding the user who is about to begin to see the Ad like her demographic profile, browsing history, etc. This info helps DSPs to help make an educated decision with regards to a user prior to making a bid.
What is a DSP? : Demand Side Platform or DSP, because they are referred in programmatic world, is actually a doorway to buy advertising space inside 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 value of available impression, etc.).
Some of better-known DSPs include DoubleClick Bid Manager by Google, AdMission, MediaMath etc.
Depending on the algorithm, DSPs assesses inventories to figure out how valuable the impression is and whether or not to take part in the auction on the part of an advertiser. If DSP decides to sign up in bid auction, it sends a bid response back to SSP
SSP gathers all bid responses and picks a winner in accordance with the second-price auction, which means, the one that bids slightly above the second highest bidder.
SSP notifies winning DSP and also 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 be served as well as other content on the web page.
And all these steps transpire in a lightning speed behind end whilst the page loads!
Varieties of Programmatic Buying
Programmatic Buying, as we know now, is automated buying of ad space on a website. You can find fundamentally 2 varieties of programmatic buying dependant upon whether the ad space or inventory is bought through auction (Auction based) or by paying a fixed rate towards 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 is limited to decide on advertisers selected by a publisher. More premium inventory sold with a higher price. Some publishers give ‘first look’ benefit to some advertisers before ad space is visible to others
Unreserved fixed interest rate: Price is prefixed but no ad space is scheduled aside ahead of time
Automated guaranteed or Programmatic premium: It is really an automated process of buying guaranteed ad space that doesn’t involve an auction, where prices are prefixed and impressions are guaranteed. Generally, this type is most premium of all.
Scope of Programmatic Buying in Healthcare
Programmatic marketing has not taken health care industry by storm yet by any stretch from the imagination, especially so in India. Even though this marketing phenomenon is discussed in marketing conferences and agency boardrooms nonetheless its role is still limited to lexicons and concept instead of on actual spending of advertising dollars. From the global spending of USD 22 Bn on Programmatic buying in 2015, spending in India was really a mere USD 25 M which makes 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 most media buys being programmatic, healthcare marketers have got a great opportunity on the hands. Not simply is programmatic the newest buzzword, but it is estimated that 70% of media buys is going to be programmatic in 2016. That’s significant growth over a couple of years.
Healthcare media buying in India is still 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 acquire ad space or inventory. Programmatic buying, however, allows precision and previously unthought-of granularity to reach target customers with better engagement and minimize costs. Allow me to present some real life scenarios to give home the impact of Programmatic Buying internet dental marketing.
Imagine you will be visiting nearby pharmacy store to purchase sugar control medication after doing a bit of online search about medicines dosage and unwanted effects. Suddenly your smartphone buzzes. Curious to learn, you examine your inbox and find email message inviting you to take a free diabetes check-up at the Clinic only a block clear of 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 in the right moment having a right message. And all of this occurs in milliseconds inside an automated fashion, due to footprints, or say Cookies, you left while looking the net.
Programmatic buying has evolved the approach from rendering same advertising message to an incredible number of customers to creating an exclusive message for individual customers based on her need right then of energy. A evidence of concept for this might be how health care insurance could be bought using a Programmatic platform.
As you were renewing health care insurance policy online for your parents, an advertisement banner flashed across your laptop screen proclaiming to supply better coverage with add-ons at the 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 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 amount of info is gathered from the medical industry, as an illustration, a hospital, almost no from it can be used effectively to create effective data-driven strategy.
First party data sources in hospitals like patient registration kiosk of Hospital Information System, CRMs or perhaps a Website enables you to capture customer intent by placing a cookie on customer’s browser which may then follow and track a customer’s online journey and set 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 purchased from outside data aggregators like telecom companies, other CRMs etc., is clustered to create homogenous group of audiences having similar traits like age, web surfing history, online purchases, content sharing on social websites, medical content consumed, etc.
Let us conjure up a probable scenario for any hospital that is going to launch Diabetes Management Program and wishes to reach targeted audience making use of their primary data base gathered over past years. Data points like e-mail address and contact quantities of patients undergoing care under endocrinologist would turn 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 shipped to prospective patient’s Gmail inbox, the RLSA campaign would ensure that message is rendered on user’s SERPs wherever they use the internet.
The great thing 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 be video, search ads, mobile, display or social websites. Such media optimization receives a captive and engaged audience to marketers leading to maximum value away from marketing dollar spent.
Say you need to target women in their early 40s located in North Bangalore for promoting cancers of the breast screening. Programmatic-way of accomplishing this is deliver your message to the in-market audience directly by capturing basic patient’s intent and then tracking their online behavior. As an illustration, say 45-year old ladies who visited your Oncology webpage which is searching information online on “protection against breast cancer”.
Programmatic Buying enables you to meet the needs of your unique audience who is at the far end of buyer’s journey and possesses a greater propensity of getting when 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 comes as a potent tool in marketers purpose to unravel key steps to niche marketing.
Programmatic Buying includes 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 a highly regulated healthcare sector, these challenges are even more evident. So let me address some burning issues plaguing the Programmatic Buying in healthcare
1) Restrictions on retargeting: Hospital industry has been slow to adapt programmatic buying because medical ethics restrict any form of advertising to patients, even audience retargeting using cookies
2) Ad misplacement: Ad placement while seeking to reach a prospect, say a doctor inside a non-clinical environment such as a Game Center or Expedia Travel site could possibly dilute need for brand and message
3) Control: As previously mentioned, Demand Side Platforms are aggregators of inventory making them available for Advertisers. However, in health care industry, not many reputed medical publishers like PubMed, WebMD, The Lancet, NEJM etc. may renounce control of their inventory to let open ad ecosystem like Programmatic take over. That is why most medical publishers still prefer reserved, non-auction depending on programmatic buying like either Programmatic Direct.
4) Higher costs: On account 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 a media bought through Programmatic model is usually 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 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:In view of medical data security, misplacements and privacy issues in healthcare, some proponents of exclusive healthcare ad exchanges have emerged. In reality we already have some media buying platforms in healthcare like MM&M, Compas etc. that allow automated buying to healthcare publishers. However, given that transparency and neutrality of open buying platform can be compromised with such agencies, there is little incentive for advertisers to work with such private ad exchanges. Besides, scale and inventory provided with such private exchanges is additionally limited in comparison to full-service media agencies.
Aside these challenges that happen to be specific to medical industry, Programmatic Buying has some inherent issues that are pervasive across industries. For example some outlined below:
8) Non-human traffic: Non-human traffic or maybe the NHT as is also commonly referred in Programmatic world is regarded as the prevalent form of fraud whereby programs imitate desired online behavior and register false matrices like impressions, views or clicks. Bots pretend to be actual humans while actually these are part of malware that inflates the performance matrices by masquerading as organic activity. Common instances of this can be paid ‘likes’ or ‘ 1s’ on social websites.
9) Viewability: Viewability is the prospect of an ad to be noticed. Many times a large proportion of impressions that advertisers pay money for goes unseen either as a result of below-the-fold 60dextpky or user might scroll a page too rapidly to discover the ad.
Ad blocking: Today’s sophisticated programs allow users to take out advertising while browsing the world wide web or using apps. Most publishers and professional bloggers depend on advertising because the main method to obtain their revenue. Together with ad blocking in place, a blogger would lose a motivation to make free-to-consume content unless the alternate stream of revenue is offered in their mind. Likewise, publisher websites get bored since their revenue model depending on content-for-advertising is compromised
Programmatic buying has become a prominent inclusion in marketer’s quiver since last decade. Healthcare industry has been slow to get out of bed for this 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 could be wise to consider programmatic buying within a core web marketing strategy and move from broad, segment-based marketing to specific fine-grained messages crafted to attract, nurture and convert prospective customers or patients.