Audience Targeting in a Changing Digital Landscape

Tips for efficiently reaching healthcare professionals (HCPs) and patients

How can brands most efficiently reach HCPs and patients, even after the deprecation of third-party cookies? Marketers have embraced a data-driven approach to audience targeting and many use third-party health data audience segments to reach their key customers. These segments are built using offline health data, and by activating the audience segments across programmatic and publisher channels, advertisers can reach health audiences wherever and whenever they are consuming content. As the digital media industry shifts to a cookieless future, the mechanism of activation will evolve, but marketers can continue to leverage these segments to reach their consumer and HCP audiences, across channels and devices.

Audience targeting delivers media efficiency and impact

HCPs and patients spend the vast majority of their digital time outside endemic health sites. While contextually relevant impressions will always be a part of the media mix, using audience segments improves overall media efficiencies and can drive down the cost for reaching each prescribing HCP or diagnosed patient.

Since one of the core benefits of using audience segments is driving down acquisition costs, it’s important to evaluate success by using KPIs tied to cost efficiencies and conversion. Not all health data providers deliver efficiencies at the same scale. In fact, customers using Crossix Segments reach more patients and have a cost-per-qualified patient that is 40% lower than other third-party health data partners. By optimizing based on the net cost of reaching a qualified patient, marketers can significantly increase the overall ROI for their media campaigns.

Activation will evolve in a future world without third-party cookies

As the industry plans for the deprecation of third-party cookies, many advertising tactics and their effectiveness will change. Addressable media—impressions tied to an authenticated user through registration—will continue to increase in both availability and value. We expect changes in inventory and pricing as demand for addressable media increases. The user experience may also evolve as more sites require user registration to access free content.

While changes to web browsers have dominated the headlines, other platforms, such as mobile apps and walled gardens, already restrict the use of third-party cookies. “Most people are mobile-first,” said Erica Hawthorne, Executive Director, Digital Media Strategy at Bayer Pharmaceuticals. “Look at Facebook. The vast majority of Facebook users are on mobile, and Crossix segments work exceedingly well on that platform.”

Fortunately, the process of building offline segments for health audience targeting is not dependent on third-party cookies or mobile ad IDs (MAIDs). Today, Crossix works with many customers who use the same segments across different types of channels, including connected TV, mobile, digital, and walled gardens.

Hawthorne says she considers audience segments an essential way to execute a connected journey of messaging. “We can message relevant consumers using audience segments on a targeted tv campaign, then follow up with an online ad,” she said.

To be successful, brands need to work with a partner focused on the healthcare industry, one who is fully prepared for the future of digital. It is also important to work with someone who follows the industry’s current privacy guidelines. The Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) is a self-regulatory group that has specific guidelines for data-driven health marketing. Working with NAI members will ensure that your campaigns are executed in a privacy-safe way.

Hold your partners accountable

The industry will come up with new solutions that are not dependent on third-party cookies. Working with a data partner with the leadership position and experience to navigate these changes will give you a competitive advantage. Marketers have a seat at the table, and should hold data providers, ad tech platforms, and publishers accountable for developing new, privacy-safe solutions that preserve the ability to efficiently reach health audiences.

Want to learn more? Listen to our webinar The Evolving Media Mix for Health Brands with Erica Hawthorne, Executive Director, Digital Media Strategy at Bayer Pharmaceuticals.

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