Why pharma marketers are leaning into impression-based TV buying

As streaming TV continues to win greater audience share, pharma marketers are using impression-based buying to drive DTC connections and build incremental reach. According to Statista, the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry’s digital ad spend will reach $19.66 billion by the end of 2024.

By leveraging the deterministic data, analytics and closed-loop measurement now available within the advanced television ecosystem, pharma companies are achieving a win-win: the scale of linear TV with the targeted messaging precision of digital. Pharmaceutical brands are leaning heavily into data-driven ad buying to drive brand impact.

Among streaming audiences, the 50-plus demographic has become a strong presence

While streaming TV audiences once mainly comprised millennials and Gen Zers, audiences over 50 increasingly embrace CTV, smart TVs and over-the-top (OTT) streaming services. According to Nielsen, individuals aged 50 and over constituted 39% of streaming watch time as of May 2022, exhibiting a faster adoption rate than any other age group, and a recent AARP study found that 80% of those over age 50 engage in some form of streaming, with 65% doing so on smart TVs. 

This expanding demographic within the streaming audience opens a new path to reaching the pharmaceutical industry’s traditionally older target viewers. As older audiences add streaming TV to their subscription stacks, healthcare marketers are applying the advancements in technology and data available today to connect with them across platforms.

Audience-based targeting is more precise than traditional demographic targeting

Historically, pharma brands have heavily relied on linear television to achieve scaled reach, usually through demo-based targeting. While this approach has generally achieved the lowest CPM, audience quality-wise, it’s less efficient and dependent on heavy messaging frequency. 

Advancements in addressable TV have made these inefficiencies apparent, and many pharma marketers have adopted an audience-based approach to TV buying. By targeting condition-specific audiences, pharma brands can have greater precision in directing their messaging to underserved patient populations and then measure campaign performance against those specific audiences.

Addressable TV is lowering the barrier to entry for advertisers

While addressable TV serves many use cases, it works best as a tailored, custom solution based on a brand’s campaign objectives. Brands can now take advantage of highly-effective solutions within the addressable toolkit, such as reach extension, which can retarget audiences that a linear campaign may have missed or, conversely, help suppress audiences (i.e., heavy TV viewers), all while controlling frequency. 

Addressable TV offers a low barrier to entry, allowing blue-chip pharmaceutical companies — nationally recognized, well-established and financially sound — but also emerging brands to get a foothold with their target audience. 

For example, with DTC pharma brands specifically, the patient journey can now happen without them needing to pull out a wallet. Patients can use QR codes seen on advertising to access a website where they can autofill their information, request a consultation or purchase directly. This fully-digital approach makes it easier to convert potential patients into active customers. 

Advancements in impression-based TV buying are establishing a new standard

An omnichannel strategy is crucial to media planning, finding patients and audiences, and pharma marketers know prospective patients spend more time streaming and consuming content across a diverse set of platforms. 

Given the increasing fragmentation of television across touchpoints, successful pharmaceutical marketers are applying a holistic approach and considering the entire buying landscape. Addressable TV provides pharma marketers with an expansive toolkit — retargeting audiences, suppressing audiences, controlling frequency and extending reach to make the most of their TV advertising. 

Ultimately, advancements in impression-based TV buying have enabled pharma marketers to leverage quality data, measurement, attribution and accountability in unprecedented ways. As the industry evolves, impression-based TV buying increasingly looks like a strong contender for a new standard.

Sponsored by: DISH Media

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