Digital television consumption has grown steadily over the past several years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased its momentum. Just look at the rise in the utilization of streaming services as a case in point: Between January and June 2020, 92% of American adults reported watching Netflix; 80% reported watching Amazon Prime; 52% watched Hulu, and 40% watched either HBO, Disney Plus, or YouTube. Internet-connected TV and over-the-top content — think devices like Apple TV, Roku, etc., that don’t need cable access — are changing the way pharma marketers view streaming video and its contribution to the overall media mix.

Digital TV lets us move beyond basic delivery metrics to trackable, quantifiable metrics that demonstrate ROI — far more than linear (a.k.a., traditional) TV was ever able to provide. Benefits of digital TV include the ability to better target new patients, identify unique viewers, and connect with healthcare professionals on a more human level — which may be more important now than ever.

Reaching New Patients Via Programmatic Buys
Digital TV spots, purchased programmatically (i.e., through automated, audience-based TV advertising via a software platform), can reach new patients with each incremental dollar spent. This is accomplished by employing advanced targeting models and the process of suppression, which — like it sounds — suppresses (or excludes) viewers who have already seen an ad. For organizations that have smaller budgets but still want to compete with their larger peers this has the potential to be a way in.

Deduplicated Incremental Reach: Finding Unique Viewers
At a certain point, linear TV’s reach only goes so far. For example, after the first $10MM spent on linear advertising, a brand’s TV spots continue to reach the same people over and over again. Deduplicated incremental reach — which, yes, is a mouthful, but really just means that marketers can connect with viewers who haven’t yet seen an ad — is an approach that can ensure each additional dollar spent is being used to target new viewers. Being able to identify patients who have not yet seen a pharma company’s linear DTC TV spot provides an enormous benefit and a strategic advantage over the competition.

Reaching HCPs Via Addressable TV
A key part of targeting healthcare professionals (HCPs) is connecting with them on a personal level — they are human, after all. Addressable TV, which allows advertisers to carefully segment TV audiences and serve different ads within a common program or navigation screen, is an efficient way to make those connections. Using addressable and programmatically purchased TV strategies may seem off-limits for HCP marketing, but intelligent scaling, which involves taking a small match list and expanding it via a range of resources like medical claims and organizational data makes reaching HCPs on a more personal level possible.

What Does This Mean for Pharma Brands and Agencies?
The largest investment in pharma marketing budgets, aside from the field force, is TV.
In addition to building out TV capabilities that support addressable, programmatic and other opportunities digital provides, pharma marketers can help make brands, procurement teams and other client stakeholders feel comfortable with the new reality that digital TV reach will exceed linear, and in many instances can produce better and far more targeted results more efficiently.

For more insights on digital TV and the evolving media landscape, including automatic content recognition, the cookieless future, and privacy versus personalization, get Intouch’s whitepaper, Future State: The New Media Landscape.