The Presidential Election Will Reduce Patient Ad Reach—Here are 3 Steps for Getting Patients What They Need in 2024

You probably didn’t need another reminder that the election is coming up. As usual, political campaigns are poised to dominate media in the U.S.—and when you’re a healthcare marketer, it’s important to be prepared for the blitz. Competing with political campaigns for ad space calls for a fortified strategy.

At DeepIntent, we studied how much this year’s presidential election will impact pharmaceutical advertising campaigns and how pharma and healthcare marketers can confidently reach their audiences despite the crowded ad marketplace.

 

DeepIntent VP of Media Measurement and Analytics Jennifer Loga presented our election-year study at the 2024 Biopharma eMarketing Summit. Watch it here or continue reading below.

Step #1: Know your competition

To equip pharma marketers with the 2024 intel they need, we analyzed the 2023 off-cycle gubernatorial elections in New Jersey, Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Our deep dive showed an average increase of 13% in CPMs over the previous year, illustrating the heightened competition for ad space.1 And the intensity and scale of presidential advertising campaigns lead to even steeper competition. Recent trends suggest that 2024 will see a higher surge than ever, with an estimated $3.46 billion to be spent on digital political ads.2

This competition becomes crucial for pharma marketers, given which specific groups of people presidential advertising campaigns will target in 2024. Presidential advertising campaigns target African Americans, Hispanics, women, senior citizens, and young voters. These demographic segments aren’t just key political audiences—they’re also crucial pharma audiences, given that certain conditions disproportionately impact each of them.

This means that advertising to people who suffer from those conditions will cost significantly more. And that’s especially true of those condition sufferers in battleground states,3 where presidential advertising campaigns will spend even more to reach those demographic groups.

So, for example, if you’re a marketer trying to reach breast cancer audiences — disproportionately comprised of women — it will be harder to reach the large percentage of women living in battleground states, given how much money presidential campaigns will be spending to place ads in front of them.

To describe the impact more precisely, we quantified the number of condition sufferers across five large diseases who live in battleground states and will thus be more challenging to reach this year.

Sickle cell anemia disproportionately impacts African Americans

Condition Sufferers % of Condition Sufferers Living in Battleground States
166,287 35%

Type 2 diabetes disproportionately impacts Hispanics

Condition Sufferers % of Condition Sufferers Living in Battleground States
18,191,982 28%

Breast cancer disproportionately impacts women

Condition Sufferers % of Condition Sufferers Living in Battleground States
3,128,907 44%

Rheumatoid arthritis disproportionately impacts seniors

Condition Sufferers % of Condition Sufferers Living in Battleground States
2,222,816 41%

HIV disproportionately impacts people aged 24 and under

Condition Sufferers % of Condition Sufferers Living in Battleground States
3,479,931 30%

While presidential advertising campaigns are well underway, already targeting these and other groups, the competition to reach those groups will become steepest later in the year.

Step #2: Master the calendar

Regarding advertising space, the most competitive stretch of 2024 will be the six weeks leading up to election day, September 24–November 5. Pharma marketers should plan, build, and execute campaigns as early in the year as possible to minimize competition with political advertisers during this period. Other particularly competitive weeks are the Republican caucus and primary (July 15-19) and the Democratic caucus and primary (August 19-23).

Notably, in previous years, advertising spending did not immediately decrease after political campaigns ended, as the election season rolled into the holiday season. This reflects sustained high demand—and emphasizes the necessity for a well-thought-out strategy and a flexible budget through 2024.

Regarding advertising space, the most competitive stretch of 2024 will be the six weeks leading up to election day, September 24–November 5. Pharma marketers should plan, build, and execute campaigns as early in the year as possible to minimize competition with political advertisers during this period. Other particularly competitive weeks are the Republican caucus and primary (July 15-19) and the Democratic caucus and primary (August 19-23).

Notably, in previous years, advertising spending did not immediately decrease after political campaigns ended, as the election season rolled into the holiday season. This reflects sustained high demand—and emphasizes the necessity for a well-thought-out strategy and a flexible budget through 2024.

Step #3: Adjust your strategy

Reaching your target audiences will demand an expanded programmatic advertising budget, even if you activate your campaigns to avoid overlap with those critical election weeks. Based on our study and expected political ad spending, we recommend a 30% increase over your budget from last year to maintain visibility and achieve high audience quality, reach, and script lift. Without an adjusted budget, brands will likely spend more and reach fewer people.

Patients and providers are extra distracted during an election year. But with thoughtful decision-making now, you can ensure that they discover the health information they need most, no matter what 2024 brings.

Learn more about reaching health audiences with clinically relevant campaigns here.

1Date range: 7/31/23–12/31/23. Sample size: ~5B bid requests.
2Insider Intelligence | eMarketer Forecast, Dec. 2023.
3Battleground states: Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

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