Here is a PM360 piece that we are quoted in regarding pharma’s participation in programmatic media buying.
Programmatic buying allows for an open marketplace of buying and selling of media through a bidding process. While purchases can be done across many parameters, sites, contextual, search terms, etc… the big shift is towards buying “audiences” not specific secondary targeting. Media buyers are caring less about the content, context, site, etc… and more about specifically who they are reaching with their message. So the targeting of end users, through cookie tracking technologies, across the whole Internet is the end game.
This presents numerous challenges for pharma who prefers (and needs to based on current MLR policy) to know exactly what they are buying, where their ad will appear, etc. It presents challenge for pharma marketers as well who typically want firm commitments on their exposure levels, budgeted “known” prices for their inventory, etc… For those pharma organizations willing to adapt, the world of programmatic offers great opportunity, lower costs, and potentially greater ROI though as well.
Many, but not all, of the current needs of pharma can be met today. For example, buying can occur over known and approved white lists of sites (so ads don’t show up in random locations on the web that are potentially problematic for MLR or the brand). However, to execute well and really take advantage of programmatic, these white lists need to be fairly broad in scope. It is a clear opportunity, but there is also a significant learning curve. The good news is that we are adept at helping clients climb that learning curve and take advantage of opportunity.