Advanced Display Targeting Options for Pharma Brands

Justin Freid, Director, SEM | Alya Sherman, VP, Partner Innovation

February 23, 2021

Background:  As online marketing technology advances, new innovative targeting options become available to advertisers. Over time, display advertising has grown from contextual and demographic targeting to now offer high impact, targeted media buys. Traditionally, the pharmaceutical market has been hesitant to take advantage of these new options due to restrictive policies and lack background on how these targeting options work.

Advanced display targeting presents a unique opportunity for pharmaceutical and health brands to target HCPs at levels not available with traditional display. Where traditional display is focused on brand building and awareness, advanced targeting allows advertisers to select and target an audience more precisely.

Industry Implications:  To target HCPs, advertisers often have to utilize a select few advertising partners and pay extremely high CPM based models. With HCPs visiting only a few select online resources for health related information, the limited supply and high demand drives up the pricing model for placing media buys.  By utilizing the following targeting options, CMI will be able to increase the frequency at which we touch HCPs as well as expand our reach onto new Web properties with significantly lower CPMs.

A study by comScore and ValueClick showed retargeting to provide the highest ROI of all display advertising options. Retargeting provided the highest lift in search queries and was also the most effective at generating clicks. A pharmaceutical client who participated in the study saw HCPs increase their time on site by 7 minutes after being exposed to a retargeting campaign.

Several Types of Advanced Targeting are Available:

Audience Extension targeting enables a focus on a certain demographic, such as HCPs who were exposed to a brand’s advertisements previously. This targeting option allows us to continue to serve ads to HCPs as they browse the Internet.

Search Retargeting offers the ability to target individuals based on a search query, such as a search for products or services on Google and Bing. A list of target keywords would be provided to the advertising partners that contain branded, unbranded and other keyword terms.

Email Retargeting is a great add-on to an email marketing campaign, as it allows targeting with display and text ads after the consumer opens an email and then moves on to browse the Internet.

When working with a specific target list, marketers can use CRM Targeting to match email addresses to an extensive online database and serve display and text ads directly to them while the consumer browses the Internet. This option is a great way to tie online and offline promotions together and can magnify the results of your offline campaigns.

Site Retargeting enables a brand to continue to serve display and text ads to consumers visiting the brand/owned website while they browse the Web. Different messaging can be created and served based on actions they took while on the brand/owned website.

Pricing:  Pricing is heavily dependent on the competitiveness of the market. Many of the potential advertising partners work through DSPs, which allow marketers to bid for impressions. Most are sold on a dynamic CPM basis but some partners do offer CPC or CPA based media buys.

Recommendation:  Any of the advanced targeting options can be paired alongside current campaigns run by our search and media experts. For example, adding on the CRM or email retargeting service to an email campaign could boost overall performance. As a best practice, HCP-based search programs should be accompanied by a site retargeting program whenever possible in order to bring HCPs back into the research funnel. Adding the audience extension onto traditional display campaigns provides brands great value and enables and increase  frequency and reach.

We recommend the following resources for additional information about targeting:

Due to many restrictive policies around the use of behavioral and demographic data, the pharmaceutical industry has been slow to add these additional targeting options to their media buys. However, by implementing these targeting options alongside your current media buys, brands can increase frequency and reach of campaigns and deliver one-to-one customized messaging in a cost effective manner.

The above mentioned targeting options are not a fit for every advertiser but we encourage our clients to engage in a conversation to understand how these options could increase their ROI. Should you be interested in learning more about any advanced targeting options, please reach out to your Media Director or Media Supervisor to schedule a call and a customized recommendation.