Three Considerations for Healthcare Marketers Switching from Linear TV to CTV

For decades, traditional or linear TV has dominated the budgets of healthcare marketers. To meet industry recommendations developed decades ago, which call for audience sizes to be at least 10% of the targetable population, life sciences companies have turned to TV where it’s possible to reach millions at scale. But increasingly, healthcare marketers are moving their dollars to where a growing share of consumers is choosing to view their content: connected TV. Comparing linear TV vs CTV, how can healthcare marketers make the shift?

The shift from linear to CTV is not just a trend but rather marks the start of a new era for digital advertising in healthcare. By switching to CTV – including Internet-connected smart TVs, streaming devices like Fire TV Stick, and game consoles – advertisers can be much more targeted in their efforts. Moreover, like other forms of programmatic advertising, CTV offers improved speed, efficiency, and measurement that’s unmatched by traditional media buying.

But considering that linear TV still accounts for around 70% of overall pharmaceutical advertising budgets, clearly, not all healthcare marketers are all-in on CTV yet. Some are still on the fence or choosing to adopt a wait-and-see approach to CTV as the space evolves. They may feel like their current approach is working – so why risk changing it? It’s for these groups that this article is written for, and I’ve outlined three items below that they should consider when planning campaigns in 2022.

1. CTV Can Improve the Incremental Reach of Linear TV Campaigns

Linear TV remains an effective avenue of reaching consumers for many healthcare brands. But with the number of “cord-cutters” on the rise and the rapid adoption of streaming content viewing, which has only accelerated during the pandemic, healthcare marketers are rethinking strategies that rely on linear TV.

Notably, they’re realizing they can reach new, unique audiences that their traditional campaigns will miss – which according to recent DeepIntent campaign data, represents an extra 10 to 30% in incremental viewers unreached by linear TV.

This level of visibility into incremental audiences is made possible thanks in large part to automated content recognition (ACR) data, which allows advertisers to understand exactly who is watching what and when. By leveraging ACR data to plan their CTV campaigns, advertisers can ensure that they’re finding new audiences – and not simply reaching existing viewers. Considering that many marketers say their ability to manage reach and frequency across CTV and digital channels is a top concern, integrating ACR data offers a novel approach to this challenge.

2. CTV Can Reach Specific Patient Populations, Including Those With Rare Diseases and Low-Prevalence Conditions

CTV’s superior data-driven targeting capabilities are now enabling healthcare marketers to reach specific patient populations with a level of privacy-safe HIPAA-compliant precision that was impossible until just a few years ago. Consider that historically speaking, media buyers have always had to cast a wide net based on program demographics when planning TV campaigns – no matter how small the target audience they wanted to reach. In addition, planning decisions were mostly made based on one or two variables, such as a show’s target age or gender, versus the four or more variables that programmatic CTV affords.

Today, it’s possible to reach specific patient populations in a privacy-safe way with the use of machine learning technology, which can pore over real-world clinical data to determine correlations between demographics and disease to create campaign-specific modeled audiences. Machine-learning algorithms can even find audience-specific correlations down to a single show or program and automatically optimize campaigns based on real-world outcomes.

In fact, recent campaign data from DeepIntent shows that CTV is much more effective at reaching qualified patient audiences compared to linear TV, with 82% higher on-target patient reach.

That means that advertisers can eliminate inefficiencies that add cost to our healthcare system and risk annoying consumers generally, who report that most healthcare advertisements are not relevant to them.

Another key difference with regard to linear TV vs CTV is the latter’s superior patient audience targeting, which is game-changing for pharma brands that offer treatments for rare diseases and low-prevalence conditions. Small patient populations and limited awareness have historically served as roadblocks to care, but the arrival of HIPAA-compliant audience modeling marks an important milestone – since now marketers can effectively reach rare disease patients in the critical window soon after diagnosis and, hopefully, make a more substantial difference in their lives.

3. CTV Is Cookieless by Nature

2022 will mark the last year that advertisers can reliably count on third-party cookies. However, CTV offers a novel approach to identity and measurement as cookie deprecation comes to fruition, giving marketers another reason to consider adopting it more fully.

Cookieless by nature, CTV relies on other unique identifiers to determine addressability, such as IP addresses, device IDs, registered emails, and more. Moreover, healthcare marketers can now match those digital IDs with clinical, behavioral, and first-party publisher data to not just ensure audience quality but to measure and optimize campaigns based on script performance. These capabilities make CTV jump ahead of traditional linear buys based on demographics and make CTV a natural alternative to even other digital formats that face disruption with the looming deprecation of third-party cookies.

Switching From Linear TV to CTV Represents a New Era for Healthcare Advertising

Linear TV may have dominated healthcare marketing in the past, but that’s starting to change. Consumers are increasingly embracing new forms of media, and it’s time for the healthcare industry to catch up or risk getting left behind.

Many leading pharma companies have already recognized this landscape shift and begun trialing CTV as a larger portion of their ad budgets. With linear TV vs CTV, they’re generally improving the ROI of their campaigns while becoming much more targeted in their approach by embracing CTV. At a higher level, this shift further points to a new era for healthcare advertising that’s data-driven and meets consumers where they are, in a much more efficient way than previously thought possible.

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