As a healthcare marketer, you have undoubtedly been asked whether you would recommend running video as part of your campaign. You carefully evaluated whether the awareness a video generates would help to achieve the campaign’s goals and if it’s worth the investment. For years, digital video has proven to be a vital component of any robust healthcare marketing plan. YouTube reports that traffic to hospital sites has increased 119 percent year over year – a relevant statistic as web traffic translates to new patient leads more often than other entry points. The problem faced by digital marketers is ensuring we are making a positive impact once these 15 and 30 second long clips have been placed.
Since YouTube introduced pre-roll ads in November 2008, there has been an explosion of promoted video content on the web across all verticals and platforms. Every publication, app or network seems to have a video offering, and brands are commissioning expensive, labor-intensive video productions to keep up with the trend. While brands can maintain a firm grasp on the content they are producing together with their creative agencies, there is seemingly less control over where that carefully crafted message ends up. The objective of buying video placements has shifted from aligning with publications to aligning with the brand’s ideal audience through programmatic buying of ad space.
While most advertisers would agree that video is a vital component of any marketing campaign, there has been rising concern around brand safety when it comes to the placement of these artfully crafted seconds. In response to growing concern over brand safety, and in an effort to protect their images, major brands have pulled their content from the video giant, YouTube, willingly reducing their exposure. Before you instinctually pull your ads, there are preventive measures that your media partner can apply to avoid a brand crisis while reaping the benefits of having a strong digital video strategy.
Why Video is Necessary
Before you steer away from placing content on YouTube, it is important to consider the impact that video content has had on the healthcare industry already. Google has reported that 56 percent of patients search for their specific condition directly on YouTube. If that isn’t compelling enough, they also reported that the average person watches 5 different videos related to a hospital before making their decision on where to seek treatment.
We have experienced first-hand the high number of queries our campaigns receive from users looking for videos. They are looking for everything from videos of technical procedures to the testimonial from the patients that underwent a successful procedure. While the need for video content is eminent, the healthcare industry is still significantly behind other major industries in overall digital video spend. eMarketer reports show a small increase in spend year over year, which is especially striking in comparison to the large leap we’ve seen in traffic from YouTube to hospital sites.
Elements of Compelling Video Content
Don’t let yourself feel overwhelmed by the idea of having to create video content. As an advanced healthcare marketer, you already possess the means to make a compelling video: you have identified what users are searching for, you have found a patient willing to share their story, a doctor that wants to share an educational piece, etc. The most successful videos share a human element that quickly and efficiently shed light on the value of your procedures and facilities.
How to Reach Your Audience
When launching a video ad, reaching the appropriate audience is key, especially when it comes to driving new patient volume. Buying an audience vs. buying an ad spot direct with a publisher increases potential reach and improves the likeliness of penetrating the desired demographic. With programmatic audience buying, we now have the opportunity to reach the users we want to reach wherever they may be on the web, versus on the one site that most closely matches the desired demographic. The problem is that programmatic audience buying lends itself to a bit of mystery as to where the ads may appear. However, there are ways to contain this that any media partner doing their own placement can follow.
For example, on YouTube the targeting is extremely robust, advertisers have the ability to target based on demographics, interests, placements, and topics as well as the added layer of contextually targeting your ads. To reach the most appropriate audience, start with the basics: age, gender, and interests (interests identify audience categories to reach people interested in certain topics, even when they may be visiting pages about other topics). These filters will narrow the reach to the appropriate group.
Targeting topics is a way to avoid serving in alignment with questionable content because topics are limited to categorized videos within YouTube’s video catalog on YouTube and the Display Network. This is a best practice for YouTube campaigns. We have found that once you begin dedicating all of your video dollars towards hyper-targeted audiences, conversion rates increase. We take measuring performance one step further and we tag each video link with custom tracking to record patient leads directly in the client healthcare CRM system.
What About Brand Safety?
To ensure your brand’s safety, it’s just as important to utilize a campaign’s “negative target,” or exclusions. While YouTube automatically excludes Adult Content (DV-MA) and content that is not rated, we choose to upgrade this setting to exclude all sensitive subjects as well, including sensitive social issues, sexually suggestive content (beta), tragedy and conflict, and sensation and shocking content (beta). This extra measure has eliminated any risky content from appearing near our promoted videos.
To maintain air-tight security, it is also important to review the report of where ads were shown. These lists are typically thousands of placements long which is why it’s crucial to have your media partner monitor it regularly. If there is a placement that is not appropriate, the person performing the audit will exclude it on the spot.
The programmatic video space can seem like the Wild West to traditional marketers, but there are ways to control the seemingly random element to video targeting and placement. It all comes down to open communication and trust between the client and the media partner placing the video. When done correctly, video promotion can yield increased awareness and patient volume without putting your hospital’s reputation at risk.