Health & Pharma Marketers Split Digital Spend Between Search, Display - eMarketer

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Health & Pharma Marketers Split Digital Spend Between Search, Display

The industry will spend $1.93 billion on paid digital advertising in 2016

June 23, 2016

Healthcare and pharma marketers in the US invested $1.67 billion in paid digital media in 2015. This year, those marketers will increase their spending 15.4% to reach $1.93 billion.

US Healthcare & Pharma Industry Digital Ad Spending, 2014-2020 (billions, % of total digital ad spending and % change)

As explored in a new eMarketer report, “The US Healthcare and Pharma Industry 2016: Digital Ad Spending Forecast and Trends,” by 2020, digital ad spending in the healthcare and pharma category will reach $3.10 billion annually, eMarketer estimates. Search and display are equally important formats for healthcare and pharmaceutical brands, with expenditures in 2016 remaining nearly equal between both.

However, healthcare and pharma remains the smallest sector in terms of digital ad spending among the industries measured by eMarketer.

Growth rates in the healthcare and pharma category will increase steadily through the forecast period, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.2% from 2015 to 2020. This is on par with the consumer packaged goods (CPG) and automotive sectors, and higher than the US digital ad spending growth rate of 12.0%.

US Digital Ad Spending, by Industry, 2015-2020 (billions and CAGR)

Among the verticals measured by eMarketer, healthcare and pharma’s share of spending in the digital ad marketplace will remain small: just 2.8% for 2016. That share is expected to reach only 3.0% by 2020.

However, digital ad spending in the healthcare and pharma sector will see double-digit growth throughout the forecast period. Digital ad spending in the healthcare and pharma sector will climb 15.4% this year, trailing only CPG, automotive and entertainment.

Top 20 Pharmaceutical Companies, Ranked by US Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Ad Spending, 2015 (millions and % change vs. prior year)

When looking at US direct-to-consumer (DTC) spending—advertising aimed solely at consumers as opposed to healthcare providers—the rankings of brands spending the most overall changed somewhat. Data from Nielsen (which does not include digital ad spending), as cited by trade publication Medical Marketing & Media, showed that Pfizer was also far and away the biggest spender on DTC advertising in 2015. But Merck, which ranked fourth in overall ad spending by Kantar Media, was eighth in DTC ad spending. AbbVie was fifth in overall ad spending but was the third-biggest spender in DTC. And Novo Nordisk, which wasn’t listed by Kantar Media, reported a triple-digit increase in DTC ad spending in 2015.


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