How do regulations affect healthcare targeting?
The first step in determining targeting capabilities for your brand is to understand if the brand falls under the ‘sensitive’ category. According to the NAI, there are two subsets of sensitive information:
- Data about a health condition or treatment derived from a sensitive source
- Data about certain sensitive conditions regardless of the source of the data
Determining whether a health condition is considered ‘sensitive’ is unclear in the industry. The NAI provides only a few categories that define as sensitive which include drug addiction, sexually transmitted diseases, mental health, pregnancy termination, and all conditions predominantly affecting or associated with children not treated by OTC and Cancer.
There are resources to help guide the analysis of determining whether the brand falls into the sensitive category. The NAI provides a multi-step guidance for members on their best practice to help determine whether any targeting efforts or data segments are considered sensitive.
However, this guidance does not give advertisers a clear list of the targeting capabilities that are compliant. Coegi recommends to use the guide to help drive direct conversations with the client in coming to a mutual agreement on whether the brand falls into either the sensitive or non-sensitive category to influence targeting solutions that are compliant.
Because there is no clear list provided by any regulatory source, Coegi recommends working with the client to align on the brand’s definition of sensitivity as this will greatly affect compliant targeting capabilities.
The Trade Desk (a member of the NAI) also takes precautions and has implemented a healthcare policy to ensure all targeting efforts are safe. Because there is no official, comprehensive list from the NAI to deem health conditions sensitive or non-sensitive, The Trade Desk has its own process in defining whether a condition is deemed high, medium or low in the sensitive category to see what targeting capabilities are permitted for each brand. This policy uses a multi-factor analysis to take into account many considerations when calculating each condition’s category.
Other advertising platforms have similar protocols for brands in the healthcare space. Before running paid ads through Facebook, advertisers must apply for permission according to its Promotion of Prescription Drugs policy and first gain approval from Facebook.