AdTheorent Releases AdTheorentRx Healthcare Advertising Report Examining the Role of Digital Advertising Across the Patient Journey


According to eMarketer, digital ad spend in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries is expected to grow 11.5% in 2022, reaching $13.63 billion. As competition in the industry continues to increase, it is crucial for healthcare and pharmaceutical brands to gain popularity with consumers and wallet share. The AdTheorentRx Healthcare Advertising Trends Report shows that a majority of US consumers (72%) use their digital devices throughout the patient journey and that appropriate engagement drives desired actions and buying intent, if executed the right way. Appropriate targeting is important for creating positive brand associations, with many consumers (52%) saying they are comfortable receiving ads based on non-personal information, and a similar proportion (56%) stating that they are more likely to react to a drug. ad when the ad is relevant to them. Conversely, more than half of consumers (55%) find it annoying to be retargeted with ads for a related drug after visiting a health website and a similar proportion (52%) do not. comfortable with receiving targeted advertisements based on browsing activity.

DIGITAL DOMINATES THE PATIENT JOURNEY: The majority of Consumers are turning to their digital devices throughout the patient journey

  • 72% of consumers use their mobile devices to perform health-related tasks throughout their patient journey, such as:
  1. Research on health conditions (40%)
  2. Research drugs (35%)
  3. Search or find a doctor (30%)
  4. Find the nearest pharmacy (26%)
  5. Access medical apps (25%)
  6. Access an online pharmacy (25%)
  7. Attend telehealth appointments (23%)
  • 75% of consumers turn to their computer (laptop or desktop) for healthcare services, such as:
  1. Research on health conditions (45%)
  2. Research drugs (41%)
  3. Search or find a doctor (33%)
  4. Access an online pharmacy (26%)
  5. Attend telehealth appointments (23%)
  6. Access medical apps (23%)
  7. Find the nearest pharmacy (20%)
  • Consumers discover new arrangement drugs by:
    • Talking with a doctor or health care provider (54%)
    • Ads on TV or Smart TV (41%)
    • A pharmacist (29%)
    • Digital Ads (27%)
    • Word of mouth (24%)
    • Magazine ads (14%)
    • Radio Ads (11%)
  • Consumers discover new over the counter drugs by:
    • Ads on TV or Smart TV (49%)
    • Talking with a doctor or health care provider (39%)
    • Word of mouth (34%)
    • Digital Ads (32%)
    • A pharmacist (29%)
    • Magazine ads (16%)
    • Radio Ads (12%)

SEARCHING, ENGAGING AND PURCHASING MOBILE AND CTV ADS: Multiple engagements across devices lead to increased engagement

  • Mobile advertising prompts action: after seeing an advertisement for a medicine on a mobile device, consumers are very or somewhat likely to:
    • Ask their doctor about a prescription drug (71%)
    • Look for an over-the-counter (OTC) drug (66%)
    • Buy an over-the-counter medication (61%)
  • Connecting with Patients on Connected TV: After viewing a drug ad on CTV, consumers are very or somewhat likely to:
    • Asking their doctor about a prescription drug (67%)
    • Look for an over-the-counter medication (62%)
    • Buy an over-the-counter medicine (58%)
    • Scan a QR code to get more information (45%)
  • 71% of consumers are more likely to take action if they receive the same drug ad on multiple devices; the actions they would take include:
    • Ask their doctor about the medication (31%)
    • Remembering the medication (27%)
    • Search for more information about the drug (24%)
    • Pay attention to the ad (22%)
    • Visit the brand’s website (21%)
    • Consider buying over-the-counter medications (20%)
    • Buy over-the-counter drugs (13%)
    • Ask their doctor for a prescription (12%)
  • The drug ads that most effectively motivate action are those ads that:
  1. Current medication benefits (51%)
  2. Talk about a medical condition with a link to a brand name drug web page (45%)
  3. Present a discount/special offer for the medicine (41%)
  4. Are interactive (e.g., allow users to select a symptom, scroll through images, take a quiz, find a treatment plan) (38%)
  5. Use more visuals than text (30%)
  6. Are suitable for a person’s location (29%)

ADVERTISEMENTS MUST BE PROPERLY TARGETED AND RELEVANT: Personalization is key to driving purchase intent, but retargeting based on browsing activity can alienate consumers

  • 55% of consumers find it very/somewhat annoying when they visit a health website and then repeatedly receive advertisements for a related drug
  • 52% of consumers are not at all or very comfortable with receiving ads based on browsing activity
  • 52% of consumers are very/somewhat comfortable receiving ads based on non-personal information (e.g. signals that include device type, time of day, operating system, editor and keyword data, etc.)
  • The three main scenarios that would make a consumer more likely to respond (e.g., click on an ad, ask a doctor, search for a drug) to a drug ad are:

1. The ad is relevant to the consumer (56%)
2. The ad conveys a relevant message and is delivered at the right time (32%)
3. The ad is received at a time when the consumer can pay attention to it (23%)

PAYMENT: Many consumers would use a debit or credit card to buy drugs, and cryptocurrency could be an emerging payment method

  • Debit card (58%)
  • Credit card (51%)
  • Cash (45%)
  • Health Spending Account/Flexible Spending Account (23%)
  • Cryptocurrency (9%)

TRUSTED SOURCE: Consumers see value in pharma company education

  • 74% say it would be helpful to receive educational information from a pharmaceutical company about a health condition they or a member of their household has
  • 70% would trust educational information from pharmaceutical companies
  • 69% appreciate having a pharmaceutical company to turn to for educational information throughout their patient journey

NON-TRADITIONAL METHODS: Majority of consumers are open to various alternative methods of health management

  • Precision medicine (71%)
  • Natural remedies (71%)
  • Telemedicine (66%)
  • Alternative medicine (64%)
  • Wearable technology (59%)

“At AdTheorent, our core business is that it is possible to drive campaign performance and tangible business results while respecting consumer interests and privacy sensitivities,” said Jim Lawson, CEO of AdTheorent. “AdTheorent uses advanced machine learning and statistics to drive superior digital ad campaign performance for healthcare and pharmaceutical brands and advertisers – measured by important business outcomes such as prescription fills, online sales and offline, as well as deep funnel site actions.” Lawson continued, “AdTheorent stands out because our targeting practices rely only on non-sensitive data and are not dependent on profiling and targeting specific users based on their web browsing or other behaviors. , which is crucial for healthcare and pharmaceutical brands. We commissioned this research to gain additional insights into pharmaceutical and healthcare consumers as we continue to refine our product offerings and solutions, and we are excited to build on these learnings in future campaigns.”

To view and download the AdTheorentRx Healthcare Advertising Trends Reportplease visit:

About AdTheorent

AdTheorent (Nasdaq: ADTH) uses advanced machine learning technology and privacy solutions to deliver impactful advertising campaigns to marketers. AdTheorent’s machine learning-based AT platform powers its predictive targeting, geo-intelligence, audience extension solutions and in-house creative capability, Studio AT. By leveraging only non-sensitive data and focusing on the predictive value of machine learning models, AdTheorent’s suite of products and flexible transaction models enable advertisers to identify the most qualified potential consumers associated with a optimal creative experience to deliver superior results, measured by the reality of each advertiser. global business goals.

AdTheorent is consistently recognized with numerous technology, product, growth and workplace awards. AdTheorent has been voted “Best AI-based Advertising Solution” (AI Breakthrough Awards) for four consecutive years and “Most Innovative Product” (BIG Innovation Awards) for five consecutive years. Additionally, AdTheorent is the only six-time recipient of Frost & Sullivan’s “Digital Advertising Leadership Award.” AdTheorent is headquartered in New Yorkwith fourteen offices across United States and Canada. For more information, visit

AdTheorentRx Healthcare Advertising Trends Report Survey Methodology:

This survey was conducted online in United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of AdTheorent September 30 – October 4, 2021 among 2,039 adults aged 18 and over. This online survey is not based on a random sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For full survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact [email protected].

About the Harris Poll:

The Harris Poll is one of the oldest surveys in the United States that has tracked public opinion, motivations and social sentiment since 1963 and is now part of Harris Insights & Analytics, a global consulting and research firm market that provides social intelligence for times of transformation. We work with clients in three main areas; build a 21st century corporate reputation, develop brand strategy and performance tracking, and earn organic media through PR research. Our mission is to provide information and advice to help leaders make the best decisions possible. For more information, visit

SOURCE AdTheorent


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