Healthcare Marketing Trends—2017 Midyear Review

It’s difficult to write a blog on trends these days. By the time you publish, they are almost yesterday’s news. But we have a few here we believe aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. And if you aren’t already acting on them, you’re missing out on opportunities to engage and build relationships with your consumers.

Doctors are having less influence on healthcare decisions.

Since the Affordable Care Act, the number of individuals purchasing coverage has been increasing. Unfortunately, insurance premiums are continuing to rise as well, driving consumers to take a more active role in their healthcare decisions. In a study by PEW Research Center, 72% of internet users search online for health information.1 Today’s healthcare consumer is savvy and shopping around. So, while marketing to doctors still matters, advertising budgets are making a bigger shift towards consumers as primary targets.

Traditional digital display advertising is declining.

Expect to see healthcare websites, previously driven by banner ads, adopting new content and ad models that perform better for mobile. According to Zenith Media, mobile advertising is predicted to grow 29% a year in 2017 and 2018, surpassing traditional display as the top advertising medium. All is not lost for desktop though. While banner ads will decline by 3.1% this year, social media and video are projected to grow at a whopping 20.1% a year, over the next three.2

Native ads are on the rise.

As more sophisticated methods for blocking ads are popping up every day, marketers are looking for other ways to engage consumers on their terms. Because native ads are written and formatted to blend into a website’s original content, consumers are more open to receiving them. Think of them as digital advertorials. In research conducted by IPG & Sharethrough, users viewed native ads 53% more than display ads and spent almost as much time with them as they did with the site’s other content.3 Forbes also believes native ads will drive 74% of ad revenue by 2021.4

A greater emphasis is being placed on experiential marketing.

Millennials want authentic interactive experiences with brands. According to Smart Business, experiential marketing “provides a platform and solution that allows healthcare organizations to connect with consumers face-to-face and engage with them over a long period of time.”5 In the next few years, expect to see an explosion of campaigns combining interactive tactics such as events, interactive displays, contests, promotions, social media, virtual and augmented reality.

Hospital systems are re-branding themselves.

As hospital mergers continue, healthcare systems both big and small are spending more to differentiate themselves from one another, leveraging affiliations, expanded services and a focus on overall wellness. According to Kantar Media, healthcare spending increased 20% between 2011 and 2014.6

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