Healthline launches online ad network

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Healthline Networks, an online healthcare information portal, has launched Healthline Media Networks, offering advertisers vertical, full-network contextual buys.

According to Bill McGee, senior vice president, marketing services, the Healthline Media Network “provides DTC advertisers with three tactical advantages: contextually relevant, condition-specific content adjacencies; trusted blue chip and special interest health websites; and the reach and efficiencies of a network buy.” 

Healthline's HealthSTAT (Semantic Taxonomy Ad Targeting) matches content from publisher sites with ads, and recognizes not just keywords but health-related concepts as well. 

“There are different languages [used by different users]; doctors use clinical Latin, insurance companies use billing codes and patients use words like ‘heart attack,'” said McGee. “Our system operates with transferable language; it understands that a heart attack is also a myocardial infarction.”

McGee cited data from an eMarketer research report estimating pharmaceutical and healthcare online advertising to reach $2.2 billion by 2011. According to the eMarketer poll, current online spend for the same group in 2007 was just under $1 million. Part of the reason for the projected migration of online media spend has to do with consumer advocacy groups, the FDA and congressional scrutiny of traditional DTC marketing, noted McGee, pointing to an article about Pfizer's agency review announcement.

Regarding content available on the portal, several external publishers have announced formal partnerships with Healthline, while other large publishing outfits are expected to join soon, according to McGee. Publishers already announced include US News & World Report, SELF, ELDR, Practice Fusion, Vitals, Health Pricer and Just Answer. Healthline provides its own content as well, through three anchor sites. “Healthline is not a walled garden” in terms of content, said McGee. “Our results as well as web search results appear on our site.”
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