Healthcare digital marketing 2021
Learn how to budget for healthcare and pharma ads, where to advertise, and who your competition is when advertising in 2021.

Guide to healthcare and pharma advertising in 2021

Pharma and healthcare digital ad spend is expected to beat $11 billion by the end of 2021, representing a 32% increase over the past two years. This steady increase in digital marketing is driven by the present global situation, as a growing number of people spend their time online, instead of in markets with traditional static advertising.

Budgeting pharmaceutical ads

Planning out a healthcare advertising budget has always been complex, but in 2021, it's harder than ever. To attract potential customers, healthcare and pharma companies have to increase brand awareness and step up their marketing efforts.

In medical advertising, who you’re competing with is just as important as where you spend your budget. We’ll consider these two areas to prepare your marketing tactics for the differences brought about by digital channels.

Where you need to advertise

Advertising in the digital realm is crucial for any business, but it's not enough to be online — you have to choose the right digital marketing channels. Healthcare ads have been venturing into the digital space for a long time, but the industry has not fully explored the opportunities it offers. If you exploit it to the fullest, online marketing can yield greater returns for your business than traditional methods.

Research has shown that digital videos on healthcare topics lead to greater returns for companies. In one study, 39% of patients made an appointment following a health-related video. This should come as no surprise considering that over 65% of people are considered visual learners, meaning they need to see something to understand it.

Further, messages that use some type of visual are 43% more effective than those that don’t: increasing conversions, improving ROI, building trust, and increasing visibility on social media. This includes television advertising, which has increased 65% in the last five years. COVID has made digital even more critical for the foreseeable future, directing people to the internet for both business and pleasure.

If you're seeking to grow your business, invest in social media marketing. More and more people are spending their time on social networks — video advertising in particular has massively expanded its reach. Marketers report skyrocketing engagement from video advertising on Facebook, doubling clickthrough and increasing conversions by 30%.

Who you’re competing with?

The pharma industry is slowly transitioning from traditional to digital marketing. Creating a successful marketing campaign requires special attention to ongoing changes, and a well-crafted digital marketing strategy. Two changes are essential to consider for healthcare marketing: the increasing availability of medications from China, and new technologies entering the market.

Increased Chinese involvement in the pharma industry

China entering the pharma space forces health ads to compete directly with their advertising by showcasing the benefits of domestically available drug therapies. The Chinese pharma market is considered one of the strongest globally, with treatments being approved, modified, and released much faster than is possible in the United States.

To be approved for use, drug therapies created in the United States must receive FDA approval, which requires meeting specific regulatory requirements. These drugs must undergo several testing phases to prove themselves safe and effective, conforming to standards that far exceed China's. The FDA approves roughly 18-26 drugs per year, while China’s National Medical Products Administration approves upwards of 50 medications classified as ‘chemical drugs’ or ‘biological products.’

When promoting specific drug therapies through medical ads, one of your best strategies is to explain the benefits of safety standards and drug trials conducted in the United States. While customers in the Chinese market may have access to more treatments overall, the higher standards in the United States make it far more likely that treatments will be effective. At the same time, strict FDA regulations sharply decrease the chance of adverse side effects.

Advanced technologies in medicine

AI, robotics, improved security, and blockchain are only a few of the new technologies taking the pharmaceutical industry by storm. They affect drug supply chains, development, and more, improving how drugs are created and promoted on the market.

These technologies can provide big benefits to pharma companies who know how to apply them. They make it easier to find the right audience, develop ads, and deploy new strategies utilizing real-time data analysis. Likewise, AI’s advancement can benefit overall disease control and patient care by, for example, identifying the best drug for the treatment of specific conditions.

Final thoughts

When creating your digital marketing strategy and determining where to advertise, consider your goals. If your goal is to grow your business by attracting new clients, your message and pharma ads will be different than if your goal is to inform current clients of their medical treatment options.

By engaging fully with each of these areas and looking for digital medical advertising methods that focus on building communication with the client, pharma companies will make the most of their advertising budget.