Native advertising is exploding in the health sector, have you taken the plunge?

Over the past 2 years, and accelerated by Covid, native advertising has exploded in healthcare for DTC and HCP marketing. Native ads have been adopted by all healthcare industries including pharma, devices, healthcare systems, retailers, pharmacies, payers and the full range of regional service providers. But there are still a handful of reluctant advertisers, and they’re missing out on highly engaged audiences.

When it comes to moving the needle for your brand, sales funnel, or scripts, healthcare marketers agree that content marketing works best. Content marketing is all about driving traffic to an editorial, infomercial, or even an information-driven product landing page. But no matter what is being promoted, the bulk of clicks to landing pages now come from native ads.

Native ads are clearly disclosed as such, but, because they are formatted to match surrounding content, are located within content, and are contextually relevant, these offers engage up to 20x more than branded ads. . Healthcare content is especially useful for reaching high-intent target audiences in-market at the right time as they seek answers to important questions. The screenshot below is a native ad unit from Tap Native, a leading healthcare-focused native ad platform. Note that there are multiple offers, unlike a single banner ad, so users can and should make multiple considerations.

For conservative or highly regulated markets, like the pharmaceutical industry, it becomes much easier to get permission to run native ads. To get the green light, marketers need to focus on 5 key areas.

1. Trust and education – Educating a patient or HCP has always been the primary focus of any healthcare organization’s marketing efforts. Emphasize trust in editorial content and continuous discovery for chronic patients eager to learn more, especially after just finishing an article or video on a specific health topic.

2. Overcoming Banner Resistance – Native ads are ideal for reaching and engaging consumer and healthcare professional audiences who have been over-marketed and have developed banner resistance. It’s clear that audiences prefer to experience products through content mediums, rather than traditional banner ads. By dipping your toe into native advertising, you’ll reach a new group of users you may not have interacted with before.

3. Proven legal compliance – Native ads have been mainstream for over 10 years now. Native ad units have been recognized and comply with FTC advertising guidelines. Native advertisements PROPERLY and prominently DISCLOSURE that the advertisement or ad unit is paid for by an advertiser. The pharmaceutical version of the native ad is almost identical to a “help-seeking ad” because the ad calls out a specific condition but does not mention a brand name and is therefore not required to disclose ISI. The brand is discovered by the user further down the funnel.

4. Simple and inexpensive creation – Most native ads are simple to create. They consist of an image, a title, a source name such as a product or company name, and a landing page URL. These 4 elements can be put together quickly and approved much faster and cheaper than “creative banners”.

5. Performance pricing, measurability and CPA-driven results – Native ads are the preferred vehicle for CPA-focused healthcare marketers. They are generally billed on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis and do not require significant financial commitments. Native advertising is really about measuring highly scalable traffic and understanding downstream visitor behavior. You’ll be able to see metrics that bring demonstrable, not nebulous, value to your organization’s educational goals and sales funnel. You can use conversion pixels to track sales, lead form fills, videos watched, signups, CME courses completed, discount cards downloaded, or other trackable metrics focused on CPA/ROI.

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

To learn more about Tap Native’s marketing capabilities for consumers or healthcare professionals, visit their website:

Marilyn J. Hernandez