Facebook May Enter the Pharma Ad Market

As much as ad watchers are touting Facebook’s possible entrance into the pharma ad market as a breakthrough and a push into Google and Twitter’s market share, Target Marketing sees the move as a bit slow.

Social healthcare[Marketers who’d like to discuss the cloud race into healthcare marketing, as well as other challenges and opportunities the vertical, are invited to attend the June 15 dinner and panel discussion in Philadelphia. Register now for the Target Marketing Healthcare Roundtable.]

As much as ad watchers are touting Facebook’s possible entrance into the pharma ad market as a breakthrough and a push into Google and Twitter’s market share, Target Marketing sees the move as a bit slow.

Today, CNBC reports, Facebook is hosting an invite-only healthcare summit in New York aimed at “marketers in the pharmaceutical industry, although other health industry leaders might also be in attendance.” Christina Farr writes that the initiative, Facebook Health, will focus on the mobile video ad options the social media giant can provide the marketers who need to comply with many regulations.

What Target Marketing notices, though, is Google and many other digital players are making moves into the cloud healthcare space. Although Reuters noticed Facebook moving in that direction in 2014, its competitors appear to be lapping Facebook. Amazon, Google and Salesforce are going right for the healthcare dollars through possible pharmaceutical sales, healthcare consultations and medical billing options, respectively.

However, Farr notes in her article, the pharma industry itself is still lagging in social media advertising itself. (Let alone the direct competition with healthcare marketers that Target Marketing foresees.)

“Unlike other industries,” Farr writes, “the pharmaceutical industry faces strict regulations on how it can promote its drugs on social channels. On Facebook, for instance, a drug company might target a person who has ‘liked’ an advocacy page or fits a certain demographic profile. But it would not be allowed to target ads to specific people based on a disease that Facebook knows or suspects they have.

“Industry reports show that pharma has been slower than other industries to shift its ad budgets from television and print to digital, making it a prime target for tech companies,” she continues. “The research firm eMarketer estimated in 2016 that pharma and healthcare marketers spent $1.64 billion on mobile and online advertising, but projected that number to rise to $2.55 billion by 2019.”

What do you think, healthcare marketers? Should Facebook buy Patientory to integrate a healthcare marketing solution into its suite, as it did with other solutions?

Please respond in the comments section below.

Author: Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

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