5 Effective Healthcare Marketing Strategies

graphic showing a doctor listening to the heart of a patient, overlayed over mobile phones, to illustrate Healthcare Marketing Strategy

The rapid adoption of emerging technologies is causing a major shift in how advertisers approach their healthcare marketing strategy. For a successful healthcare marketing strategy in today’s market, healthcare marketers should account for these shifts and apply them to their media plans.

Read on to learn about how healthcare marketing has evolved in response to new trends in the industry and discover actionable recommendations you can take to help navigate these shifts. Be sure to read to the end of this blog to get 3 essential tips for driving results this year!

Healthcare is an evolving market that brings unique challenges. Global health events continue to make consumers more mindful of their health while wanting to minimize in-person healthcare visits. The result is widespread adoption of virtual healthcare tools and technology and more healthcare funding.

Let’s dive into the specific trends specific trends that will guide future healthcare marketing campaigns.

The Adoption of Telehealth

Many healthcare practitioners are experiencing a decrease in patients visiting their practice. Patients are seeking information about healthcare services, treatments, and prescriptions from digital content rather than physically visiting healthcare institutions. 

There was also a surge in the demand and adoption of telehealth services—64% of US broadband households elected to use telehealth services in 2021. This is good news for healthcare marketers. Instead of leaving a pamphlet that may or may not be read on the waiting room coffee table, marketers can opt for digital channels to deliver their message.

Increased Use of Tech for Health Monitoring

Today’s patients are more willing to share their data and use technology for health monitoring. People are becoming increasingly comfortable using modern technology to share their data, monitor their health, measure their fitness, and order prescription drug refills. Younger generations, in particular, are growing up with more trust and appreciation for tech services that are convenient and easy to use.

Alongside the adoption of health technology, we saw a surge in the use of apps and at-home self-diagnostics like genetic and blood tests. This surge is likely in part because of the pandemic, which motivated people to turn to tech instead of going to the doctor’s office.

Government Funding Toward Healthcare Innovation Has Increased

The US government placed emphasis on easing regulations and enforcing policies that enabled digital health innovations since patients were less likely to visit healthcare facilities in person. The result was a record year in digital health investment in the US, with $57.2 billion in funding, and the FDA launched its Digital Health Center of Excellence and approved its first-ever digital therapy for ADHD. 

Healthcare facilities received even more financial incentive. The Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) delivered $94.5 billion in funding to hospitals to support this growing trend toward innovation and technology within the industry. 

The Digital Advertising Landscape for Healthcare

Society adapting to this new technology-enhanced world of healthcare has caused the overall industry to evolve as well. Now, healthcare and pharma companies have reason to keep spending on digital advertising. For these organizations, digital healthcare ads provided a way to raise awareness around testing, safety measures, and general information related to medical emergencies. 

With so many people staying at home and using devices like laptops, tablets, and smartphones, digital channels are becoming instrumental to advertisers reaching audiences wherever they may be. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are moving toward informative messaging in their healthcare advertising to educate patients on steps they should take to safely access healthcare services through digital channels.

Healthcare Marketing Strategy

Source: eMarketer, US Healthcare and Pharma Digital Ad Spending 2020, September 2020

Digital spend in the industry totalled $12.2 billion in 2021 and is said to reach $13.63 billion by the end of 2022. This upward trend of digital ad spend in the US healthcare and pharma industry will most likely continue. 

Since the healthcare industry tends to target older audiences who prefer larger screens, digital healthcare marketers choose to focus on desktop, mobile, and OTT advertising. But the way audiences engage with these digital channels has evolved.

Experts are noticing an increase in the amount of time spent at home which is leading to the faster adoption of connected TV (CTV). Over 80% of TV households now have at least one connected TV device, making CTV the fastest growing video advertising platform for this industry. 

5 Tips for an Effective Healthcare Marketing Strategy

The new trend toward telehealth services isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Patients have become accustomed to the ease of access and seamless delivery of virtual healthcare, and they have now made the use of tech for health monitoring a habit. 

Given this new digital landscape, here are 3 strategic healthcare marketing tips for 2022:

1. Leverage the Right Advertising Channels

Desktop, mobile and CTV will continue to be a focus for healthcare and pharmaceutical advertisers this year. The healthcare industry will continue to invest in desktop—growing 17.5% to reach $4.75 billion, while mobile device spending will grow another 18.4%, reaching $6.49 billion. 

2. Invest in Connected TV (CTV)

Traditionally a large portion of B2C pharma marketing campaign spend went into linear TV. CTV ad spend is expected to grow by 33% in 2022, which could be a massive opportunity for B2C pharma and healthcare companies to reach a broader audience and grow their sales.

A study done by Standard Media Index in partnership with Advertiser Perceptions shows that ad spend on CTV has already increased 57% in 2021 and will increase an additional 39% in 2022. Why do we see such a dramatic increase?

CTV can take traditional healthcare marketing campaigns and supercharge them with data. Marketers can manipulate this information to reach a hyper-focused target audience. Your team also gets the benefit of targeted video marketing metrics that allow new levels of insight into measurement and attribution.

Another more obvious reason for the adoption of CTV is viewership. Digital media is where the “eyeballs” are now. As mentioned earlier, over 80% of households have at least one connected TV. That means around 80% of your market share isn’t relying on traditional linear broadcast advertising to make purchasing decisions anymore. 

For almost a decade, viewership has drifted away from traditional cable or satellite TV programming and moved toward streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Apple TV. This major disruption in viewing behaviour only increases the power of connected TV for healthcare marketing campaigns. 

By their very nature, CTV ads also create a more immersive, relaxed ad-viewing experience. With sensitive subjects like people’s personal healthcare, getting your product or service in front of them in the least intrusive way possible is important.

3. Segment Your Audience for Personalization and Optimization

Break audience attributes into different campaigns to test performance and optimize towards specific key performance indicators (KPIs). Identifying subgroups within your target audience enables you to deliver more tailored messaging. This personalization, in turn, results in stronger connections. 

Dealing with people’s prescriptions and healthcare is a big responsibility. Ads for certain types of medications or treatments are sensitive and there are restrictions around what you can and cannot say. Using specific data to further break down your healthcare audience into niche groups ensures customers only see the ads they want to see.

If someone has diabetes, they have no use for a hearing aid ad and vice versa. Marketing teams can also ensure they’re hitting the right demographic. You can tailor your team’s healthcare marketing ideas to specific age groups to ensure the right customers receive the message.

4. Include Contextual Advertising in Your Media Plan

With patients increasingly consuming digital content related to healthcare services, treatments, and prescriptions rather than directly visiting healthcare institutions, it is more important than ever to be present as they begin their research online. One way to reach receptive audiences online is through contextual ads for healthcare marketing.

Contextual advertising targets ads based on the environment in which the ad appears. Using algorithms and AI, this method targets ad placements based on metadata. This way, ads are shown to audiences based on the content they are consuming at that exact moment. Healthcare marketers can use this targeting methodology to ensure that their ads reach users who are in a receptive frame of mind

For example, someone with a runny nose may start to search for home remedies online. Using contextual advertising, companies that sell throat lozenges or cough medicine can focus on metadata related to that topic, like targeting a key phrase like “cough remedies.” The user is already searching for remedies for their runny nose, which means seeing your ad will give them that “right place, right time” feeling and make them more likely to purchase your product.

Contextual advertising is also an essential component of marketing strategies for healthcare companies because of privacy legislation. Since contextual advertising leverages the context surrounding an ad, this type of advertising doesn’t make use of audience data. Brands who add contextual advertising to their healthcare marketing strategy may also win more sales as contextual advertising creates higher brand affinity and brand or product recall in users’ memories.

5. Monitor and Improve Your Strategy

While audience data is valuable, it can also be one of your team’s healthcare marketing challenges. Boosting the performance of your digital media through channels like OTT, CTV, and contextual may present you with so much data and KPIs that it could feel overwhelming. 

Navigating lots of incoming data requires effective monitoring of your healthcare marketing strategy. Be sure to check your campaign reports regularly and train your team to look for opportunities for optimization and improvement. Analyze your marketing dashboards to spot unique insights you can use to further target your healthcare marketing and boost your results.

Ready to Plan Your Healthcare Marketing Strategy?

Programmatic moves fast, but we move faster. StackAdapt provides best-in-class CTV advertising solutions that allow you to reach your audience wherever they are. Our team can also help you strategically target your audience with contextual advertising so that they’re receiving your message in a receptive frame of mind, with a non-intrusive delivery.

Want to get started with CTV for your healthcare campaigns? Request a demo to get started with StackAdapt.

Healthcare Marketing Strategies: FAQs

The top healthcare marketing challenges are:

  • HIPAA compliance issues
  • Tight marketing budgets
  • Marketing triangulation
  • Market segmentation
  • Resistance to change
  • Public perception
  • The power of reviews

In today’s marketplace, marketers need to reach their audience through digital channels, regardless of the industry. Contextual advertising becomes the best healthcare marketing strategy for marketers and their teams. Deliver your message to the members of your audience that need it most in a non-threatening way, all while putting privacy first.

Erin Hynes
Erin Hynes

Content Marketing Manager


Erin is a content marketer with experience crafting thought-provoking content that drives awareness and supports customer acquisition. She is also a travel writer and podcaster in the tourism space.