Health Care and Pharma Industry to Increase Digital Ad Spend

BY Rachel Cagle
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There have been a few industries that COVID-​19 has actually helped significantly. The health care and pharma industry is one of the big ones. This is also great news for those with health care and pharma advertising clients. This year, according to eMarketer, digital ad spend in this industry is expected to grow by 14.2%. That growth will bring total digital ad spend in this industry to $9.53 billion.

Health Care and Pharma Advertising in 2020


There has been an addition to the typical messages that the health care and pharma industries generally advertise. And it’s all thanks to COVID-​19. “The crisis also led to an influx of marketing around medical supplies, consumer adoption of telemedicine, and regional advertising for reopening doctor’s offices and medical clinics,” says eMarketer. Public health organizations and private medical institutions are also raising awareness for “testing, safety measures, and other pandemic-​related information.”

The digital advertising format that is hypothesized to receive the biggest share of ad spend this year is search. More than half (55.6%) of the health care and pharma industry’s ad spending budget will be allocated to this media. However, search isn’t the fastest growing digital ad medium this year. Digital display ad spend will increase by 15.7% this year. This means that 42.4% of the industry’s digital ad budget will be spent on digital display.

Most of the health care and pharma industry’s digital ad efforts will be geared toward mobile ads this year. 57.5% will be put toward mobile ads compared to the 42.5% of digital ad spend allocated to desktop and laptop. The difference may be great, but the health care and pharma industry still has a way to go to catch up with other industries’ mobile ad spend. The average industry in the U.S. allocated 68% of its digital ad spending budget toward mobile formats.

More Formats

eMarketer’s examples are just a few of the digital ad types health care and pharma clients can chose from for their next advertising campaign. According to the Routine Health Care Services Customers profile on AudienceSCAN on AdMall by SalesFuel, there are a few more digital ad formats your clients can effectively choose from. Last year, these consumers took action after receiving email ads (48.4%) and seeing ads on social media (46.1%), and 31.7% also clicked on text link ads on websites.

How is your health care and pharma client’s digital advertising holding up compared to their competitors’? An easy way to find out is to run a Digital Audit on their specific location. With information concerning your client’s digital advertising alignment and reputation score at your disposal, you can identify which digital media ad types your client needs to work on to stay competitive in their industry.