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The Future of Digital Advertising


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Global internet ad spending is projected to surpass TV this year, an astonishing digital ascent led by Google and Facebook. Never a guy to sit back and watch the world go by without wanting to rule it, Jeff Bezos is making his move in advertising. What might that mean for pharma marketers?

Adaptive companies understand that in a constantly changing market only the fastest will survive. Like the Red Queen in Through the Looking-Glass, today’s brands need to run just to stay in place—while born innovators sprint headlong into exponential experimentation.

Fearlessly accepting failure as stepping stones to success, mega-entrepreneurs are full of surprises. Case in point: Bezos and his embrace of everything from drones to space, and his most recent exploration of the pharmacy market and digital advertising.


Follow the Money—and Data

The ad move makes sense by the numbers, data after all an Amazon specialty: Of the company’s $4.2B overall operating income for 2016, a whopping $3.1B came from Amazon Web Services (AWS). In contrast, revenue from digital advertising was about $1.2B.

But that’s a good start, considering the significantly higher profit margins compared to their ecommerce engine. Using margins from Google (33%) and Facebook (46%) as a benchmark, a projection of $20 billion in ad revenues by 2020 could really make it worth Bezos’ while.

Amazon making a big move into digital advertising is compelling for several other reasons, too: For starters, more than 50% of online shoppers already begin their product searches on Amazon—behavior that will only increase with products like Echo as voice response rules.

Bridging the gap between ecommerce, content creation, and distribution, Amazon also leads with streaming movies and shows, acquisition of Twitch, a freshly inked deal with the NFL, and significant eSports opportunities. That amounts to millions of eyeballs eager to engage.

Most significantly, these tens of millions of consumers are measured and profiled at each touch point, across every device, even physical location. By analyzing and sharing shopping preferences and consumption habits, Amazon has already become the ultimate ad engine.


Digital Pharma Prime?

Healthcare and pharma spent $2B on digital ads last year, up over 15%. eMarketer goes on to predict double-digit growth through 2020, thanks to multiple factors: Concerns about DTC broadcast; better targeting for orphan drugs; mobile dominion; EHRs and wearables.

Check out the MM&M Trend Report for an in-depth and comprehensive analysis of the pharma media mix, its rationale, challenges, and opportunities. Suffice to say digital is not only increasingly vital for pharma, but despite the obstacles is poised to inevitably dominate.

That said, pharma marketers are tirelessly in search of tactics, platforms, and experiences for heightened audience engagement. All healthcare system stakeholders, from patients to caregivers to professionals, across providers and payers, are ripe for digital connection.

Disparate tactics abound, the traditional approach one of cobbling together search and display ads, email, websites, etc. True omnichannel marketing has ushered in the age of strategic intent and data-driven execution, integrated with a singular approach.

That means decisions, decisions, decisions for digpharm, striving for an optimal, integrated media mix. With Google and Facebook dominating the digital ad space, the rise of a viable third option in the form of a relentless, data-savvy platform could hold tremendous promise.


From Tap to Klick

How that plays out remains to be seen, but if initiatives like the Alexa Diabetes Challenge are any indication, a new era of heavily experiential, hyper-targeted, and contextually relevant digital advertising is looming. The question then becomes: Is your media partner ready?

Here at Klick Health we connect the dots from brand to media strategy, creatively using technology and data to embrace the future of pharma marketing now.


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