In the last 2 years, and accelerated by COVID, native advertising has exploded across healthcare for DTC and HCP marketing. Native ads have been adopted by all healthcare industries including pharma, device, health systems, retailers, pharmacies, payers, and the gamut of regional service providers. But there are still a handful of advertiser holdouts, and they are missing out on highly engaged audiences.

When it comes to moving the needle for your brand, your sales funnel or script lifts, healthcare marketers agree that content marketing works best. Content marketing means driving traffic to an editorial, an advertorial or even an information focused product landing page. But no matter what’s being promoted the bulk of clicks to landing pages are now coming from native ads.

Native ads are clearly disclosed as such, but, because they are formatted to match the surrounding content, are located within the content and are contextually relevant, those offers are engaged with at up to 20X that of branded ads. Healthcare content is particularly useful for reaching in-market, high intent target audiences at the right time – while they are seeking answers to important questions. The screenshot below is a native ad block from Tap Native, a leading healthcare focused native ad platform. Note there are mutiple offers, unlike a single banner ad, so users can and do make mutiple considerations.

For cautious or highly regulated markets, like pharma, it’s becoming much easier to get approval to run native ads. To get the green light, marketers should focus on 5 key areas.

1. Trust & Education – Educating a patient or HCP has always been the primary goal of any healthcare org’s marketing efforts. Emphasize trust within editorial content and continued discovery for chronic patients eager to learn more, especially after having just finished an article or video on a specific health topic.

2. Overcoming Banner Resistance – Native ads are ideal at reaching and engaging consumer and HCP audiences that have been overmarketed to and developed banner resistance. It’s clear that audiences prefer learning about products through content vehicles, rather than traditional banner advertising. By dipping your toe into native advertising, you will be tapping a new group of users that you may not have interacted with before.

3. Time Tested Legal Compliance – Native ads have been mainstream for over 10 years now. Native ad units have been acknowledged by and are compliant with FTC advertising guidelines. Native ads DO properly and prominently disclose that the ad or block of ads are paid for by an advertiser. Pharma’s version of the native ad is nearly identical to a “help-seeking ad” because the ad calls out a specific condition but does not mention a brand and therefore is not required to carry ISI disclosures. The brand is discovered by the user further down the journey funnel.

4. Simple & Inexpensive Creative – Most native ads are simple to create. They are composed of an image, a headline, a source name such as a product or company name, and a landing page URL. These 4 assets can be assembled fast and approved far more quickly and inexpensively than “banner creative”.

5. Performance pricing , measurability, and CPA focused results – Native ads are the preferred vehicle for CPA focused healthcare marketers. They are usually priced on a cost per click (CPC) basis and don’t require large financial commitments. Native advertising is truly about measuring highly scalable traffic and understanding how downstream visitors behave. You’ll be able to see metrics which provide demonstrable, not nebulous, value to your org’s educational objectives and sales funnel. You can use conversion pixels to track sales, lead form fills, videos watched, registrations, CME courses completed, discount cards downloaded or other trackable CPA/ROI focused metrics. 

Remind those holding the purse strings how much time and money your org spends on advertising. Don’t let past marketing disappointments deter you from testing these new native formats. Remind yourself and your colleagues that somewhere in a galaxy, not that far away, there exists the real possibility that you’ll “crack the code” and discover a better way to reach and engage your target audience.

To learn more about Tap Native marketing capabilities for consumers or HCPs visit their website: