PM360 2021 Innovative Strategy Digital Media In-housing from Bayer

Digital Media In-housing


Erica Hawthorne, Executive Director, Digital Media Strategy & Operations

Paid media comprises the lion’s share of a pharmaceutical marketing budget. To make matters worse, digital media plans are often rigid, cookie-cutter, and rely on pricey endemic buys and broad reach tactics, while locking valuable customer insights in platform or agency siloes.

In 2020, Bayer Pharmaceuticals embarked on an industry-first strategy that will bring all digital media planning and buying in-house by mid-2022. This is not a new idea. In fact, 69% of U.S. brands have taken programmatic in-house, according to a 2020 survey by IAB and Accenture Interactive. However, pharma has been slow to adopt this trend.

Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals division partnered with

Media.Monks to design and activate an in-house model. They hired a head of Digital Media Strategy & Operations and mobilized a team to stand up adtech platforms, process direct buys, and transition more than $50MM in digital media buys in-house.

In just 10 months since transitioning to the new model, the strategy has already made a difference:

  • Bayer has saved millions in agency fees.
  • As the in-house model has grown, the overall digital media spend has increased.
  • Media buying processes have resulted in reductions in cost-per-qualified-audience across all major brands.
  • Customer engagement has resulted in higher ROIs per digital media tactic.

With the impending deprecation of cookies, and the ability to translate data into actionable insights, in-housing will become a competitive advantage. Bayer Pharmaceuticals is removing the barriers that lock data and customer insights in unactionable siloes and cutting down the time from insight to action, setting up for a sustainably differentiated future.


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