Programmatic advertising for Pharma Industry - Tangoo
06.03.2023 Marketing Pills

Programmatic advertising for Pharma Industry

How pharmaceutical industry can maximise their ad spend

by Marketing department

Studies show that by 2026 digital transformation spending is projected to reach 3.4 trillion dollars. The pharmaceutical industry is expected to increase to $1.5 trillion by 2023. In today’s digital age, programmatic advertising has become an essential tool for the pharma companies to effectively reach and engage with their target audiences.

Changing Consumer Behaviour

The pandemic has brought about significant changes in consumer behaviour that are propelling digital transformation in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. For example:

  • 65% of people in Europe are now more likely to consider their health in day-to-day decision-making.
  • There has been a shift in consumption and shopping habits, with a focus on increased price, quality, and availability.
  • 55% of global consumers have significantly changed their use of traditional healthcare services.
  • 42% of consumers are uncomfortable going to a hospital for any treatment.
  • 58% of consumers report feeling “very comfortable” picking up medicines at their local pharmacy.


The changing face of pharma

The pharmaceutical industry is undergoing significant digital transformation, much like other industries. Since 2010, there has been substantial growth in the digital health market and COVID-19 has accelerated this. In fact, another study found that 35% of respondents said they believe that the industry has been digitally accelerated by more than five years.

By 2026 digital transformation spending is projected to reach 3.4 trillion dollars and in the pharmaceutical industry it is expected to grow to $1.5 trillion by 2023. 

The power of programmatic

Programmatic advertising has become a crucial aspect of digital marketing, and it grows year over year. It’s predicted to make up 91.1% of digital display advertising in 2023 and is expanding into other formats such as digital out-of-home, digital audio, and connected TV. In today’s digital age, programmatic advertising has become an essential tool for pharma companies to effectively reach and engage with their target audiences.

Digital Advertising is set for a significant year in 2023, with pharma marketers forecast to spend $18 Billion.

The pillars of marketing success

Paid Media: Paid media can quickly gain attention, especially when combined with an innovative and engaging content marketing strategy. It’s an effective way to grow an audience and expand reach.

E-commerce: With the e-commerce pharma industry projected to be worth $177,794.9 million by 2026, companies need to provide a smooth buying experience for consumers who research symptoms and products online. 

SEO: Being present in search results is critical as one in 20 searches conducted on Google is related to health. Companies should ensure they appear in relevant searches for their products, symptoms, and potential solutions. 

Content Marketing Strategy: Developing content marketing strategies for both consumers and healthcare providers is essential to establish credibility and build trust. 

Social Media & PR: While there are limitations on promoting some pharmaceutical products, social media still offers advertising opportunities. Social listening is a significant opportunity to understand consumer and healthcare provider needs and tailor messaging. 

Marketing Automation & CRM: With digital marketing covering many channels and tactics, it’s essential to track and manage relationships with consumers and healthcare providers using marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) tools.


Reaching your audiences


Digital out-of-home

Digital out-of-home is becoming part of marketer’s omnichannel strategies, with expected growth from $2.72 billion in 2020 to $3.84 billion in 2023. Healthcare’s rapid adoption of digital screens in hospitals, doctor offices, and pharmacies has led to a 10% annual growth rate for the $500 million point-of-care market.

This presents a unique opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to use DOOH to increase brand awareness, educate consumers, and promote new products in a highly effective manner. 

The benefit to managed programmatic DOOH campaigns are:

  • No reservation, select in real time which screens to use
  • Brands pay only for users exposed to the advertisement (OTS)
  • Full control and transparency in delivery and costs
  • Improved planning accuracy by utilising precise geographical and time-of-the-day targeting, and leveraging on third-party data
  • Advanced reporting and measurement with specific KPIs and brand lift studies

Use case: Tylenol used an omnichannel strategy to promote its products by deploying large billboards and screens near gyms and retailers. The strategy employed dynamic weather data to respond to increased demand for pain relief during rainy weather. The campaign resulted in a $36.83 return on ad spend, 17% new brand purchasers, and 35% new category purchasers. Retailer transaction data was used to measure results and optimise future budget planning.


Connected TV

The CTV landscape in Europe is experiencing substantial growth in terms of adoption and spending. Currently, only 55.2% of the population in Western Europe owns CTV devices, which is significantly lower than the 75% ownership rate in the US. This presents a vast potential for user growth in the region. 

Programmatic CTV ad spend has surged, with a 93% increase from 2020 to 2022. By the end of 2023, it is predicted that US marketers will spend almost $10 billion on subscription OTT video advertising, which will make up 3.4% of total digital advertising spend, and 10.2% of total video advertising spend. Programmatic CTV is also growing rapidly, with precision audience targeting as the top reason for increasing spending according to 56% of US agency and marketing professionals.

In 2023, AVOD will continue to rise, driven by major streaming companies like Netflix moving into the ad-supported space. Advertisers will demand deeper audience insights and media analytics on CTV buys. Next year is predicted to be the “Year of FAST,” with publishers offering a TV-like user experience in these environments. Roku sees an opportunity for pharma marketers to reach “cord-cutters” who are 35% less aware of pharma brands than linear TV viewers.

CTV is an excellent solution for pharma marketers and can benefit from more precise and programmatic targeting of patient audiences and HCPs. Tangoo can take advantage of the streaming service ecosystem to develop connected TV campaigns. Our strategy can include targeting both global and market-specific platforms, allowing us to reach users who are watching specific programs or channels that cover particular topics such as health, personal care, and fitness.

Use case:  Salix Pharmaceuticals has launched a new connected TV commercial for its opioid-induced constipation drug Relistor featuring an animated character called MU-MAN, which represents the patient’s gut. The 60-second commercial is currently running on streaming services including Netflix and Apple TV. This is the first streaming commercial for the company, but it won’t be used on general TV networks, although it plays on the formal Relistor website. 



In 2023, native display ad spending is expected to increase to $98.4 billion., Most of this g will be on mobile and social media platforms due to high user engagement. Native social display advertising is expected to grow by 13.9%, building upon the 17.6% growth seen in the previous year.

Native ads are becoming increasingly popular for pharma companies due to several factors: 

  • Healthcare organisations focus on educating patients and healthcare providers through trustworthy content, promoting continued learning for those with chronic conditions.
  • Native ads are easy to create with a clear and simple format, consisting of an image, headline, and source name.
  • Targeted and relevant native ad formats that blend seamlessly into web pages can drive high performance and sales.


At Tangoo, we provide advertising solutions that feature multiple integrations with native platforms and publishers. This enables our clients to establish a presence on a variety of popular and niche websites, thereby reaching a broader audience with specific interests and behaviours. We have the ability to design campaigns that use native formats throughout the entire funnel, incorporating high-impact display and video formats, as well as in-feed articles, to drive performance and increase sales.

We understand the unique challenges that pharma companies face when it comes to reaching the right audience with relevant, cost-effective campaigns. If you’re looking for an experienced partner to guide you and help you with your pharma digital transformation, we’re here for you. Get in touch to talk to one of our experts.

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