The Patient POV: Pharma Advertising on Linear TV vs. Connected TV

For years, the majority of pharma advertising dollars have been allocated toward linear TV. Digital advertising, including connected TV advertising, has only become more prominent as a result of the pandemic, when pharma companies needed an alternative to sending sales reps in-person to inform physicians about new treatments.

While linear TV may have worked well in the past for getting the word out to a wide audience, today’s fragmented media landscape has challenged pharma marketers to reevaluate their strategies. As more time is spent with digital channels like CTV, advertisers must ask, “Are my TV ads reaching the right audience of potential patients?”

And more importantly, “Do those patients find them relevant?”

We can certainly look to campaign analytics to provide answers to these questions, but what better way to determine the relevance of pharma ads on TV than by asking patients themselves? In our latest study, we partnered with LG Ads Solutions to understand the patient POV on pharma advertising, with a specific focus on how their perspectives differ between linear TV and CTV.

Here’s what we found.

Do Patients See TV Differently?

With viewership growing more fragmented across linear TV and CTV, we wanted to get a better sense of what TV viewing currently looks like as reported by the participants in our study. Surveying nearly 3,000 patients who also happen to be owners of LG smart TVs, we found that 96% of respondents reported watching their favorite shows exclusively on cable or satellite boxes.

However, using ACR data to measure their actual viewing on linear TV compared to CTV, we learned that only 48% of their viewership took place on cable or satellite boxes, meaning that 52% of respondents are actually spending more time with CTV.

This tells us that although patients don’t discern between the two mediums the same way advertisers do — in short, TV is TV is TV — they are now more likely to be reached on CTV compared to linear.

Combining all the benefits of linear TV advertising with the advanced measurement and optimization capabilities of digital, CTV is no doubt the future of pharma advertising.

Do TV Viewers Find Pharma Advertising Relevant?

In one of our previous studies on patient attitudes toward pharma advertising, the majority of survey respondents felt pharma ads could use improvement in terms of relevance; only 35% reported feeling that the ads they see are applicable to them. These particular findings are representative of their perspectives on ads served across the entire advertising ecosystem, including linear TV, CTV, display, direct mail, and social media.

When it comes to comparing ad relevance on linear TV vs. CTV, our latest study revealed that CTV viewers have a more positive impression of the ads they see, with 57% of respondents reporting that they find CTV ads more relevant than linear ads. This is likely due to CTV’s superior ability to reach clinically-relevant audiences with the right ad messages, especially when powered by privacy-safe health data.

The pharma industry has only just begun its expansion into CTV advertising, and linear TV will continue to play a significant role in driving awareness about pharmaceutical products. But by taking patients’ views on pharma advertising and their media habits into account, pharma marketers can better understand how to keep them informed and engaged throughout their health and wellness journeys.

For more insights from our custom study with LG Ads Solutions, download Seeing TV Differently: Patient Views During the CTV Renaissance.

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