Forget TV Spots—Just Go With Digital Video

2017 is the first year that online advertising will surpass TV advertising spend, primarily spurred by the continued growth of digital video.

In fact, digital video spend will grow by 20% in 2017 to $16.69B vs. a 2% projected increase in TV advertising, according to eMarketer. While overall TV spend is still higher, the double-digit increase in digital video can be attributed to the growth of premium-quality digital content, including full-episode TV shows, streaming movies, social, original programming, news, sports, entertainment, and lifestyle.

While TV ratings are on the decline, social and digital video are capturing broadcast-like audiences with some digital properties offering similar reach as traditional TV buys. Notably, TV budgets are shifting online, more specifically to large social platform­s4 of the top 10 online video properties are Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, and Twitter. Users on Facebook watch eight billion videos per day, many of which are professionally produced as content creators seed their traffic from sites such as Facebook.

Broadcast advertisers are taking notice: In a recent survey, 38% said they were planning to shift broadcast budgets to online video. More importantly, companies that do not use TV advertisements are now getting in the game as online video campaigns can be more palatable budget wise and offer the unique ability to hyper-target users, reducing waste and increasing performance.

While traditionally the pharmaceutical industry has lagged in more innovative digital mediums, according to eMarketer, the healthcare and pharma industry spent more than $222MM on digital video in 2016, indicating the industry is hungry to explore this platform.


Online Videos are More Sharable

Online video is appealing to more than just big pharma TV advertisers and, in fact, the targetability and relatively low cost of content creation makes online video and content appealing to smaller biotech companies. Outside the constraints of a traditional 15- or 30-second spot, healthcare companies can harness the power of online video to share patient videos, educate patients on symptoms, educate on MOA, or ignite a social movement.

Example: A pharma company with a heart failure drug implemented a global social initiative, which included a 360-degree-surround-effect social campaign that was video centric. For every paid impression served for that campaign, they garnered four earned media impressions from sharing. What made this campaign unique is the company did not have the funds for TV, yet they were able to attain significant reach via social to an audience who could not easily be reached on air.

Digital Video is Highly Targetable

Digital video also allows brands to capture symptomatic patients in real time.

Example: A pharma company that was a heavy TV advertiser implemented a TV-to-digital test and drove a 4:1 ROI with measurable prescription lift. This was due, in part, to the fact that digital video is nimbler, allowing the campaign to shift in and out of markets based on disease outbreak. Engagement was strong, despite running a long-form 60-second spot, as programs were optimized to prioritize long-form content and performance-based ad models so that the company only paid if a user completed the video. The campaign augmented TV reach by targeting light TV viewers and cord cutters. It is this type of precision targeting and accountability that is starting to make healthcare companies take notice of the potential of digital videos.

The Value of Snackable Content

Ultimately, video is part of an ecosystem of content that can be viewed, shared, liked, and engaged with in an interactive way. The growth of snackable digital content has introduced lower-cost video production, making video campaigns more accessible to more companies. Today’s healthcare marketers must be prepared to have many pieces of content that can be shared rather than one high-production-value TV spot. Content is king and consumers are fickle, so a variety of engaging content pieces can help drive response.

Finally, even advertisers without any video can get in the game as they can surround video content with other content (even image or text ads, as is the case for YouTube) while leveraging the power of targeting to reach the right audience.

  • Katie Schuyler

    Katie Schuyler, Director of Integrated Media at Greater Than One has 10 years of experience in consumer marketing and healthcare. An expert at tying clients’ goals and objectives to key strategies and tactics, she is passionate about delivering results.


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