Spurred by the rise of health data innovation and digital growth, 2023 will be a “pivotal year” for pharma advertising, according to a recent report from DeepIntent.

The report, which brought in perspectives from pharma and ad-tech leaders, honed in on the main trends the industry expects to see in 2023. 

In particular, it highlighted the growing importance of data privacy, a continued explosion of growth in connected TV (CTV) and what they dub the “death of the third-party cookie.”

1. The year of ‘FAST’ — Free Ad-supported Streaming TV

Earlier this year, a DeepIntent report found that viewers prefer CTV ads compared to linear or traditional TV ones, particularly targeted ones. 

DeepIntent noted in its latest report that 87% of U.S. households have at least one CTV device. It’s not surprising, then, that pharma marketers honed in on the space as one of the fastest-growing digital channels.

That’s expected to accelerate in 2023, especially as major streaming companies like Netflix move further into the ad-supported space.

“As the pay TV subscriber decline continues, advertising-based video on demand (AVOD) is capturing the lion’s share of streaming revenue as most consumers prefer ads over paying more for a streaming service,” DeepIntent COO Amit Chaturverdi said in the report. “I predict this will lead advertisers to begin expecting much deeper audience insights and media analytics on most CTV buys.”

Greg Joseph, senior director of demand partnerships at TV and video advertising company FreeWheel, noted that he sees “2023 being the ‘Year of FAST,’ or Free Ad-supported Streaming TV.

Next year, he expects that “publishers will focus on taking advantage of these trends while sharpening their focus on the need for a TV-like user experience in these environments.”

Roku, meanwhile, pinpointed an opportunity for pharma marketers in the CTV space to gain the audience of so-called ‘cord-cutters,’ or people who have abandoned cable and traditional TV for CTV. One recent Roku survey found that cord-cutters are 35% less aware of pharma brands across a variety of chronic conditions than linear TV viewers, according to Chris Schneider, vertical marketing lead, health and wellness at Roku.

2. An increased focus on data privacy

DeepIntent highlighted the high pace of growth of healthcare data, with the health care system producing about 30% of the world’s total data each year. But data privacy is becoming more and more integral each year as well, and will be top of mind for pharma marketers entering 2023.

The report pointed to five U.S. states that have recently passed privacy laws that will go into effect next year. As more health data moves online and there’s an increased push for data privacy, the risk-reward stakes also grow for advertisers, according to Jamie Blackport, head of privacy hub by Datavant.

“To help ensure patient privacy protection, there becomes an increased need for privacy-preserving technology,” he noted in the report, adding that “investment in privacy-preserving tech is essential.”

“Data clean rooms will power the future of healthcare advertising, giving marketers a privacy-compliant and transparent environment that fosters greater data connectivity for planning and measuring HCP and patient campaigns,” Jen Werther, chief strategy officer at DeepIntent, said in the report.

3. Making campaign measurement more effective

Pharma marketers need new campaign measurement tools that go beyond clicks and impressions,  the report argues, and instead can monitor audience quality and script lift. As omnichannel growth across channels continues, “measurement must follow suit,” and health care marketers “need a one-stop shop for measurement.”

With clients demanding full transparency more, they’re “rebelling against opaque ‘status quo’ analysis and measurement,” noted John Mangano, SVP of analytics at DeepIntent. In 2023, there will be a “hyper-focus on the measurement that matters.”

That may become especially pressing given the recession and inflation burdening Americans moving in 2023. 

“Although we know integrated HCP and patient campaigns improve patients’ health journeys and outcomes, marketers may be faced with the decision to reduce or eliminate investments in one or both areas,” Dave Leitner, managing director, head of media at Klick Health, said in the report. “Investment in programmatic media may serve as the most viable option to maintain integrated campaigns, based on HCP and patient data signals.”

4. The cookieless future

As Google moves to phase out third-party cookies by the end of 2024, other major tech companies like Apple, Microsoft and Mozilla have already begun doing so, representing 40% of web traffic in the U.S. Pharma marketers are no longer waiting for a ‘cookieless future,’ the ‘cookieless present’ is already here.

In 2023, advertising companies will have to evolve beyond cookies, even though only 22% have a cookieless strategy in place at the moment, according to a survey out of ID5.“Health care marketers who are planning proactively and thinking progressively are moving off third-party cookies as identifiers,” Travis Clinger, SVP, activations and addressability at LiveRamp, said in the report. “The sooner you can do that, the faster you will be able to test and implement how an addressable solution will help you better reach your target audience” and “form a one-on-one relationship with your consumers.”

For a January 2024 article on the most effective pharma ads of 2023, click here.