Expanding Reach and Engagement with College Students Using Influencers


Coegi collaborated with agency partner, True Media, on a key initiative for Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO). The client needed to reach current college students (aged 18-24), specifically those in STEM fields who are undecided about their careers. Previous marketing efforts focused on standard website traffic generation and career messaging; however, they were looking to expand into additional tactics that would connect with students in an authentic, trust-inspiring way.


of impressions served to those potentially interested in Optometry field

of post engagements driving an authentic connection between ASCO and potential students

31 pieces of content
created and amplified efficiently across channels


Our teams leveraged the power of social media influencers to provide a new way of engaging with the target audience. Recognizing the influence of peer recommendations on college students, we partnered with a selection of young Optometrists and Optometry students (3 creators in total). These creators produced a mix of 31 pieces of content, including standard branded messages alongside a unique UGC (User-Generated Content) challenge. The UGC challenge encouraged viewers to share their top six “sights to see” and tag others in the Optometry community, aiming to spark a viral trend on Instagram and TikTok. Paid amplification was utilized on both platforms to further extend the reach of the influencer content and build genuine connection with relevant individuals beyond the creators’ core followers.


Organically, we drove nearly 3,000 organic engagements at a 7.9% engagement rate through the 31 pieces of content. 

Through amplification on Instagram, we achieved over 1.2 million impressions at a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) of $7.71, generating over 70,000 post engagements. Similarly on TikTok, boosted content delivered nearly half a million impressions at a CPM of $3.97, with over 2,000 post engagements. Amplification not only allowed the content to reach a broader audience of relevant individuals, but also drove greater attention and consideration as evidenced by the content engagement. 

While the success of the UGC challenge is still to be determined, the initial results from the boosted influencer content are promising. 

Key Takeaways

  • Influencer Selection: Partnering with creators who are both relatable and relevant to the target audience (young Optometrists/students) proved effective.
  • UGC for Engagement: The UGC challenge fostered audience participation and could potentially lead to a viral trend, further amplifying the campaign reach.
  • Paid Amplification Benefits: Utilizing the Paid Partnership tool on Instagram and TikTok allowed for seamless content integration and audience expansion beyond the influencer’s followers.

Overall, this campaign demonstrates the effectiveness of influencer marketing in reaching and engaging with a specific audience of college students. The combination of relatable creators, engaging content formats, and paid amplification strategies hold promise for driving brand awareness and consideration within the Optometry field.

Want to explore ways influencer marketing can boost your strategy? Contact our strategists today!

Building Trust and Awareness for Medicaid Options within Multicultural Communities


Coegi’s client, a government health plan provider, needed to raise awareness of their Medicaid options among Hispanic and African American communities. These communities often face historical distrust of the medical care system, further compounded by rising healthcare costs.


higher recall among Hispanic/Latino demographics

higher recall among Black/African American demographics

increase in the perception that our brand supports member health goals, care about the community, and offer relevant services

lift in aided brand awareness compared to 2% healthcare benchmark


We developed an omni-channel pilot campaign to break through the noise and resonate with these core audiences. The strategy focused on three key goals:

  • Increase Awareness: Reach qualified Latino and African American audiences.
  • Build Trust: Position the client as a trustworthy partner who understands their needs.
  • Drive Engagement: Encourage interaction with the brand through the website.

Reaching Key Segments: Identify core audiences by utilizing precision targeting parameters such as first-party data, zip codes, eligibility criteria, racial and ethnic demographics.

  • Moms (Parents): Targeted adults with children, emphasizing importance of childhood and postpartum health.
  • Functionally Disabled Members: Targeted audiences concerned with health issues like mental health and disabilities.
  • New to Medicaid: Targeted audiences interested in health management and wellness, active on digital platforms.

Media Strategy: Maximize impact with Medicaid-eligible audiences by placing personalized messages across an omnichannel digital media plan.

  • Diversity in Digital Media: Moving beyond competitor channels, we explored diverse digital platforms and implemented programmatic buying to find audiences efficiently.
  • Right Audience, Right Message: Layered niche cultural targeting with culturally appropriate messaging for deeper resonance.
  • Upfront Digital Footprint: Prioritized a strong digital presence (70% audience reach) for speed to market, hyper-targeting, and competitive differentiation.
  • Expanding into Traditional Media: Layered in localized print publications, billboards & Radio for increased community relevance.
  • Test and Learn: Established a foundation for future campaigns by measuring engagement and optimizing messaging for better personalization.


The campaign delivered significant positive lifts across various metrics:

  • Unaided & Aided Awareness: Increased brand recognition.
  • Brand Perception: Improved perceptions of the brand as supportive, community-focused, informative, and meeting health needs.
  • Decision Maker Impact: Positively influenced decision-making within both Hispanic/Latino and Black/African American audiences.

Channel Performance: The campaign delivered a significant lift in aided awareness across all forms of media, with a notable lift in awareness among consumers exposed to the banner and 30-second video ad. Brand recall was higher when 4+ channels were utilized, signaling the power of an omnichannel approach.

  • Social and Print: Top performers, particularly in combination.
  • CTV & Display Banners: Effective in raising awareness and brand opinion.
  • Streaming Audio: Moderately positive impact.
  • Online Video & OOH: Provided strong campaign reinforcement, but had less direct campaign impact.

Key Takeaways

  • Go Where the Performance Is: Target audiences where engagement is strong and build scale through an omni-channel approach.
  • Brevity & Emotional Connection: Clear, concise messaging with emotional appeal leads to stronger creative performance.
  • Smaller Audience, Bigger Impact: Smaller audience segments can deliver strong engagement and results when targeted effectively.

This case study demonstrates that building trust within multicultural audiences requires a tailored approach that considers cultural values and prioritizes the right channels and messaging for maximum impact.


Driving Patient Lead Generation for a Pharmaceutical Brand 


Coegi worked with a pharmaceutical company that supports people living with primary immunodeficiency (PI) and their care partners. They work to empower individuals with resources, treatment and education to manage their conditions. They partnered with Coegi to develop a patient-first lead generation strategy to enroll more individuals in their support programs.


Lift in Sign-Ups

Lift in Form Fills

Registration Submissions


We faced the challenge of reaching and generating leads from a very niche healthcare audience. The brand did not yet have first-party data, so we partnered with Pulsepoint to leverage their healthcare targeting capabilities as well as compliant third-party audience segments and lookalike models. 


To engage this audience and provide resources for managing PI, our media drove towards key landing pages where users were encouraged to take action via guide downloads, assessment completions, and patient support program registrations. 

With a budget of around $1.4M for a 12 month campaign flight, we activated a cohesive media campaign spanning across paid search, paid social on Facebook and Instagram, and native and display programmatic ads. 

We outlined three primary goals:

  1. Engage audiences through thought leadership content. 
  2. Drive enrollment traffic through website sign-up forms. 
  3. Educate patients and providers by increasing landing page traffic to informational guides, assessment completions, and registration form fills.

To drive these actions, we amplified content centered around the realities of living with PI, patient empowerment, and other educational support provided by the brand. Through strategic retargeting and sequential messaging, we were able to develop a lead generation funnel 

This campaign was highly successful in generating a pool of first-party patient audiences including 502 patient program sign ups, 444 completed assessments, and 453 registration button submissions. For all key website actions, this campaign drove between a 225% to 3,539% lift in quarter over quarter results.

PM360 – 5 Digital Media Tactics to Amplify Public Health Marketing

Mass media public service announcement (PSA) campaigns on print, billboard, and linear TV have been the status quo for years. But we can do better. Digital media is transforming what’s possible for public health marketing, allowing brands to raise awareness in a much more efficient, measurable way.

Here are five actionable digital tactics you can use to engage audiences and elicit the behavioral changes needed to support important public health initiatives.

Read more in PM360:

The Impact of Inflation on Advertising | Whitepaper

Businesses are facing a familiar problem: economic uncertainty. This time, the coalescing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, record-low unemployment rate, and a newsworthy-high inflation rate have created a unique challenge for businesses and their marketing teams. What do we do when the population theoretically has money to spend, but the high cost of basic necessities makes them cautious to buy? 

In this whitepaper, Coegi researchers provide an overview of the recent North American economy as of Q1 2023 and the corresponding consumer behavior changes, acknowledging the current challenges and opportunities for businesses and marketers. 

Importantly, we acknowledge that each business’s target audience is made up of real, living people, and thus there is no one-size fits all approach to marketing during times of economic volatility.

However, using a data-driven approach to understanding outcomes of previous economic strife, we provide evidence-supported recommendations. In short: fully pausing your marketing communications rarely yields future dividends. 

Download Coegi’s whitepaper covering:

How brands should react to the inflation in 2023

  • The impact of inflation on consumer behavior
  • Finding the upside of marketing in a down economy
  • Pivoting with resilience: creating a future fueled by marketing efficiency

Key ways to recession-proof your marketing

The impact of inflation on advertising in key industries

  • CPG and retail
  • Financial services
  • Healthcare and pharma
  • Real estate and home buying

HIPAA Compliant Healthcare Marketing and Ad Targeting

Healthcare Marketing Compliance Guidelines

In healthcare marketing, compliance is of the utmost importance. At Coegi, we work with many healthcare and pharmaceutical clients to continuously navigate this highly regulated industry. Continue reading to learn more about what it means to be a compliant and ethical healthcare marketer with this guide. 

Who sets the regulations for healthcare marketing compliance?

In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was passed to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without consent. However, when it comes to understanding HIPAA for healthcare advertising, there’s a lot of room for interpretation. This leaves many advertisers unsure if certain marketing capabilities are compliant and ethical. 

This is especially true for pharmaceutical advertisers using health information to target audiences for prescription drugs, medical devices, and other pharmaceutical products through media. To provide an industry standard, there are committees devoted to giving pharma advertisers direction – including  the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), and the National Advertising Initiative (NAI). 

The NAI is one of the leading bodies for defining healthcare marketing compliance regulations. Founded in 2000, the NAI published a set of codes for targeted advertising and online profiling that is supported by the U.S. FTC. The most recent revisions to the code provide media targeting best practices, including a definition for Sensitive Health Information to provide pharmaceutical advertisers with more concrete direction for targeting consumer populations.

How does HIPAA affect healthcare ad targeting?

The first step is understanding if your brand’s core consumer audience falls under the ‘sensitive’ category. This will impact targeting capabilities. According to the NAI, there are two subsets of sensitive information: 

  1. Data about a health condition or treatment derived from a sensitive source 
  2. Data about certain sensitive conditions regardless of the source of the data

The NAI only provides a few sensitive categories. These include drug addiction, STDs, mental health, pregnancy termination, cancer, and all conditions predominantly affecting children that are not treatable with OTC medications. For other health conditions, the NAI provides guidance to help determine whether pharmaceutical targeting segments are considered sensitive. However, this guidance does not offer a clear list of compliant targeting capabilities. 

One of our leading media buying partners, The Trade Desk (an NAI member), also has a healthcare targeting policy. Using its own multi-factor analysis process, it defines whether a condition is high, medium, or low sensitivity to determine allowable targeting capabilities. Coegi recommends using these guides to inform client conversations and recommendations when aligning on the brand’s own definition of sensitivity. 

How do you approach pharmaceutical targeting compliantly?

The goal is to aggregate enough compliant data about an individual to create a complete picture. This allows you to meet their needs accurately while preserving their privacy. Make sure pharmaceutical advertising campaigns are compliant by examining the data sources informing them. Look for two specific criteria:

  1. Consent: Guarantee the audiences reached provide the brand permission to market to them
  2. Deterministic data: Validated user information so marketers know they’re reaching a person who gave consent

Despite the challenges, pharmaceutical brands still have a variety of ways to target patients. We can use first-, second-, and third-party data and machine learning to identify relevant consumers who are likely to be receptive to receiving advertising from your brand.

Best Practices for HIPAA Healthcare Marketing Compliance

  • Ensure FDA and HIPAA compliance of campaigns including messaging and targeting with legal counsel.
  • Use de-identified information from third-party data providers for patient behavioral targeting.
  • Gain opt-in consent from users for sensitive health segment targeting and geo-targeting. 
  • Leverage data partners to reach HCPs on a 1:1 basis at scale. 

Healthcare Consumer Ad Targeting

Once you determine whether your target is in the sensitive or non-sensitive condition category, use the following tactics to reach healthcare and pharmaceutical consumers:

Modeled Targeting

Modeled targeting using de-identified information from third-party data providers is compliant according to the NAI. The NAI’s Guidance for Health Audience Segments quotes, “the use of offline marketing segments that are also modeled, not based on any user-level purchase, behavior, or activity, would also be considered non-sensitive.”

From a blog post by Yeehooi Tee of PulsePoint, not all audience models are created the same. It is critical to analyze data collection methods. There are key factors to understand when evaluating health data segments. These include the source of the seed data, modeling attributes, the seed-to-output ratio, and many others. 

Contextual Targeting

There are no regulations on using contextual targeting for a consumer audience. This is a popular approach for reaching patient and caregiver audiences in a compliant manner. 

Connected TV is a useful medium for contextual healthcare targeting. A TV ad for a specific health condition can feel less invasive, yet still relevant, using contextual targeting. With third-party data partners, personal information is de-identified for HIPAA-compliant CTV targeting.


For both sensitive and non-sensitive conditions, geo-targeting a consumer audience requires the user’s opt-in consent to target by location data (like a clinic location). However, even with opt-in consent, there are still limitations for sensitive topics, such as reproductive health or addiction recovery, when it comes to location-based targeting. 

There are other forms of targeting patient audiences using geographic data. For example, using data partners, pharmaceutical brands can target programmatic buys to specific zip codes that over-index for a condition. Using anonymized provider prescription data, data can be matched to zip codes with the highest lift in specific prescriptions and even mapped to these households via IP addresses. This enables omnichannel online targeting to reach healthcare consumers through display, video, native, and social media channels. 

Condition-Based Targeting

We use third-party data providers to access unique condition-based healthcare segments. This anonymized data is not subject to some of the strict HIPAA guidelines, as it cannot be tied to personally identifiable records. This allows you to reach your relevant audience at scale with minimal media waste. 

Interest Targeting

Interest-based targeting can reach patients as well as caretakers with interest in a specific condition or topic. This expands reach to the key decision-makers in the healthcare process. The content consumers are reading or searching for online typically defines “Interest”. To engage these individuals as they are consuming relevant information, consider contextual targeting methods mentioned above. 

For more of my tips on the best strategies and channels for healthcare patient and provider targeting, view the video below:

Healthcare Provider Ad Targeting

Healthcare providers are relatively easier to target than patient segments due to publicly available information and fewer privacy restrictions. However, there can be challenges with achieving scale and managing higher costs. Regardless, brands can reach HCPs across the wide range of content they consume and the multiple devices they use.

Because you’re targeting by profession rather than a condition, there are fewer restrictions for HCPs. Let’s explore some of the most effective forms of compliant audience targeting for HCPs: 

ID-Based Targeting

ID-based targeting allows pharmaceutical brands to reach HCPs with a compliant audience-first approach. National Provider IDs are personal identifiers for specific healthcare providers, including their practice location and specialty. 

Utilizing this data set via demand-side platforms (DSPs) such as PulsePoint, MedData, CrossIX and HealthLink allows for compliant, one-to-one HCP targeting across multiple channels and devices.  Brands can target HCPs both by specific medical specialty or by an individual NPI number. 


Brands can also use NPI numbers to target relevant practice locations for particular physicians or specialties. By targeting a geo-radius around point-of-care locations with high volumes of particular diagnoses or treatment types, brands can remain compliant with HIPAA and the NAI while also reaching the target audience. Another opportunity for geo-targeting physicians is geo-fencing industry conferences and events where large groups of professionals congregate.  

Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting tools can look at categories, keywords, and tags on web pages to deliver highly relevant content to HCPs through programmatic channels. At Coegi, we map these to the National Library of Medicine MeSH Taxonomy to ensure the most relevant terminology is applied to our digital media. 

Rx and Dx Targeting

Through data partnerships, brands can target NPI numbers of providers who commonly prescribe certain prescription codes. Likewise, brands can target by diagnosis using ICD-10 codes to find their core HCP customers. 

Depending on each client’s goals, Coegi provides a recommended HCP targeting strategy. Even with fewer restrictions, we investigate and understand the source of the data segments associated with NPIs. 

For more on healthcare marketing compliance and best practices, read this Q&A article with more insights from myself and Pulsepoint’s Malcolm Halle or contact Coegi today. 

Q&A on Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Marketing Best Practices

Building business solutions for regulated industries is complex. At Coegi, we fearlessly take on clients across many regulated industries, and are well-known for expertise in healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing. Clients come to us regularly to build their knowledge in the space.

This Q&A blog shares our learnings over the years. Coegi’s subject matter expert, Account Strategy Director Colin Duft, and our technology partner PulsePoint’s Head of Strategic Accounts, Malcolm Halle, answer questions regarding healthcare and pharmaceutical digital marketing best practices. 


Q: What should healthcare and pharma marketers do to ensure they are being compliant in their digital advertising?

A: PulsePoint – The foundation of all digital advertising is the data behind it. While data sounds like something objective, in reality not all data is created equal. Do the homework and look under the hood to understand the data informing campaigns. From a compliance perspective, two things are crucial: 

1) Consent: guarantee healthcare audiences reached provide the brand permission to market to them

2) Deterministic data: the patient or physician information so marketers know they’re actually reaching person who consented to marketing 

Building on this, it’s also important to consider the data in totality. The goal is to aggregate enough pieces of data about an individual compliantly to create a complete picture. Then you can meet the patient’s needs accurately. However, this process needs to happen in a privacy-preserving way. Lastly, the freshness of data will affect its usefulness and accuracy. 

A: Coegi – Similar to other verticals, it’s important to keep a pulse on the regulatory committee guidelines. Compliance isn’t a black and white map. HIPAA allows room for multiple interpretations, so committees such as the NAI help provide greater clarity. Additionally, it’s important to always be transparent with the client. If something feels off, have a conversation to explain your compliance recommendation and hear their point of view.

Q: The ecosystem of healthcare provider (HCP) marketing is shifting, with the acceleration toward digital. What are the latest trends in healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing for targeting HCPs?

A: Coegi – No matter the strategy, measurement should always be the nucleus of a campaign. Companies like IQVIA and Veeva-Crossix provide marketing measurement products that tell a story and tie back success to a Rx. Use these solutions to complement and build on the brand’s sales team as they start to enter the doctors’ offices once again. 

A: PulsePoint – As digital becomes the dominant vehicle to reach HCPs, marketing to them doesn’t need to be restricted to office hours. Instead, understand and seamlessly align with HCPs’ shifting mindset as they go through their day. We can reach them with unique messaging during white coat moments as well as blue jeans moments. We see on our platform that HCPs are visiting work-related websites around the clock. But, we can also coordinate these marketing campaigns on other channels such as Hulu after dinner or on Spotify during a workout. These personalized touchpoints provide a more human experience.

Building on Colin’s point, PulsePoint offers an HCP measurement solution called HCP365. It enables healthcare companies to understand HCP brand actions across digital channels, including website, search and media, at the individual NPI level, in real time. This means brands can now know, with a very high level of certainty, that Dr. Susan interacted with a brand ad, or Dr. Patrick visited the web site. This kind of individual level analytics allows brands to understand, and therefore optimize, media performance with their specific target HCPs. 

Q: What outdated advertising strategies do healthcare and pharmaceutical marketers need to leave behind?

A: Coegi  – On the healthcare provider side, marketers need to come to terms with the fact that doctors don’t just read medical journals all day. HCPs are people too. Even with a smaller audience, you can hyper target the doctor and scale simultaneously. For consumer campaigns, patients also don’t just read endemic articles on a particular condition all day. Use media to reach them throughout their day across various touchpoints. 

A: PulsePoint – Marketers definitely need to break their ties with old school geographic and demographic targeting. This is especially problematic with connected TV. More than half of all CTV buyers in healthcare still use geo/demo targeting. They’re reaching broad audiences with significant waste. CTV offers so many more targeting capabilities, for example, targeting specific HCPs based on clinical behavior or targeting likely patients who have recently researched specific condition content. Take advantage of these capabilities. It may slightly drive up costs, but will significantly improve impact and ROI.

From the patient perspective, we know advertising and content marketing works to drive consumers’ health decisions. But it’s not a simple ‘if X, then Y’ journey. All consumers start their journey at different points, so they react to different messages in different ways. Yet we serve them all the same content and expect to see the same performance. Instead, use predictive analytics and machine learning to identify patterns and recommend marketing actions based on the customer’s profile and previous behaviors. This will maximize downstream results.

Q: Building on this topic, how can marketers reach patients with sensitive health conditions?

A: PulsePoint – The most direct, privacy-safe and effective way to reach people living with sensitive conditions is with contextual media. But don’t think of contextual media from five plus years ago. Contextual is now quite sophisticated. We can serve ads alongside relevant content, of course. When setting up contextual campaigns, it’s also important to understand co-morbidities and correlating factors associated with each condition, and use these to extend reach.

A: Coegi – If a particular health condition is sensitive, there are two primary considerations: 

1) How did we collect this targeting data? and

2) if ISI is needed, can it work within the experience I’m trying to deliver an ad within? 

Marketers can’t just take data and enter into a platform. They need to do their homework on the company, how they’re collecting this data and the targeting pool. With ISI, some channels fall off when it comes to channel planning. Not all forms of media make sense when you have a long ISI. 

Q: Lastly, we know it’s important to lead with empathy. How can healthcare and pharma brands keep patients at the center of their marketing strategy?

A: PulsePoint – Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings and perspectives of another. We can use data to uncover customer perspectives in real time. And we can go one step further: to use these insights to drive marketing outreach, also in real time. 

A: Coegi – It’s important to lean into research tools, as well as patient panels/boards. These tools allow you to hear and feel for the individual affected by a particular condition. Translate these learnings into insights. They will then allow you to reach the patient/caregiver where they are in their journey in an empathetic way.

Colin’s final word of advice is to not fall into a rhythm of copy and paste strategies. It may be tempting to go that route as the “safe” choice given all the  regulations in healthcare and . But, we must be creative and break the mold with out-of-the box thinking to continue delivering the best strategies using these healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing best practices for your brands.

Want to learn more? Check out Coegi’s guide to healthcare and pharma marketing.

Download Coegi’s Healthcare Marketing Guide

How to Drive Job Applicants for Healthcare Recruiting Campaigns

The Brief

A hospital client tasked Coegi with developing a digital healthcare recruiting campaign to drive interest and qualified website traffic for open job positions. Using a combination of social and display tactics, we were able to generate a significant increase in website visits and drive new job applications from a niche audience. 


LinkedIn “Apply Now” conversions

page views from Display

Facebook CTR


The ultimate goal was to drive maximal website traffic. But Coegi understood it was critical to ensure the visitors were qualified potential applicants. Due to restrictions on employment-based ad campaigns, the team was creative with data usage across platforms, especially Facebook. Additionally, the client was recruiting for multiple positions, each with different qualifications. This resulted in separate creatives and messaging for each job position, adding a layer of complexity to campaign execution. 



We identified three primary channels for this healthcare recruiting campaign: LinkedIn, Facebook, and programmatic display. 


Linkedin was chosen to reach the job-seeking audiences while they were searching. Plus, because they could use job title targeting to be confident the intended audience was being reached. This tactic led to the highest number of “apply now” conversions.

Results: 1,496 application form submissions


Display was chosen to drive site traffic. Data segments allowed the team to reach niche job titles relevant to the target audience. Using custom data segments allowed for granular job title targeting, while also reaching a larger number of likely users. We ran all job titles in one campaign. Each ad set was targeting a specific job field driving users to unique landing pages. 

Display Results: Nearly 10,000 recruitment page views


With Facebook, we navigated targeting limitations since employment is a special ad category. This forced a more general targeting strategy focused more on consideration, driving scale for the campaign. Like display, this was primarily used to drive site traffic and make job seekers aware of open positions. 

Facebook Results: 0.63% CTR, 5,650 interview page views, 8,783 career page views

This cross-channel strategy allowed us to target niche job titles and drive high site traffic, despite limitations. Healthcare and pharma brands often defer to brand awareness campaigns due to restrictions in targeting sensitive audiences and compliance laws. However, this campaign showed how health-focused brands can shake that mold and achieve out of the box, lower-funnel goals, such as recruitment, using strategic digital media plans.

Digital Guide to Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Marketing

Healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing is a complex landscape. A long-standing emphasis on in-person rep sales and difficult to navigate privacy laws have made the industry slower to adopt new marketing technologies and trends relative to other industries.

Coegi created this guide to help healthcare and pharma marketers feel empowered to break the mold of antiquated marketing practices.

Creating A Clear Digital Roadmap For Your Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Marketing Strategy

This playbook aims to debunk the uncertainty surrounding health and pharma marketing. We outline best practices and provide a clear roadmap for your healthcare brand to create best-in-class marketing strategies. 

What You’ll Learn: 

  • How to leverage key trends affecting the industry
  • Targeting methods for reaching patients and HCPs
  • Most effective channels and strategic tactics for health advertising
  • How to set KPIs, measure campaign results, and impact your bottom line 
  • What steps to take to ensure compliant advertising
  • Best practices to improve healthcare marketing strategies

Why Digital Marketing Is Critical For Healthcare Advertisers

The healthcare industry as a whole is pivoting towards data-driven strategies. Events, provider education, and patient treatment itself have now shifted from in-person to blended online channels. Omni-channel advertising strategies work in tandem with consumer preferences moving towards digital treatment options such as tele-health to supplement more traditional healthcare. 

Ready To Level Up Your Healthcare And Pharmaceutical Marketing?

Download the Digital Guide to Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Marketing now. If you have any questions along the way, don’t hesitate to contact us to set up a discovery call.

A Disrupted Ecosystem Leads to New Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Marketing Opportunities

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated a large shift toward digital technologies in the healthcare landscape. For example, the acceptance of telehealth practice rose to 71% post-pandemic, despite very low adoption prior. As AI tools and telemedicine create efficiencies and digitize patient and healthcare provider communications, marketing efforts need to follow a similar trajectory. 

Similarly, visitation restrictions forced greater reliance on marketing channels rather than one-to-one sales meetings. This provides a massive opportunity for healthcare and pharma marketers to adapt and create a competitive advantage.  

How to Build Successful Patient Relationships

Patient-centric healthcare and pharmaceutical brands must gain loyalty through consumer relationships. Loyalty is at a historic low while openness to change and preference for convenience are soaring. 62% of consumers expected their preferred brand for healthcare to change post-pandemic. Additionally, 80% of patients said they’d switch providers solely for “convenience factors”. 

Marketing strategies must be customer-centric to capture loyalty. In today’s healthcare ecosystem, that requires leaning into omnichannel, digital strategies and leading with empathy. 

Patient Targeting Strategies for Health & Pharma Brands 

Despite the challenge of compliance and data privacy laws, brands still have a variety of ways to target patients by using first and third-party data as well as machine learning to identify and segment consumers who are receptive to healthcare advertising or are actively researching treatment options.

Local & Geo-Targeting

Hospital systems and healthcare practices should lean heavily into local targeting to reach their core audiences. These campaigns can drive location visits, but should also increase awareness and education. 1 in 4 people surveyed said they do not know enough about local health systems to make an informed choice. 

With data partners, pharmaceutical brands can target programmatic buys to specific zip codes that over-index for a particular condition. Using anonymous provider prescription data, data can be matched to zip codes with the highest lift in specific prescriptions. You can even map it to these households via IP addresses. This enables omnichannel online targeting to reach healthcare consumers through display, video, native, and social media channels.

Condition-Based Targeting

Use third-party data providers to access unique healthcare segments. This anonymous data is not subject to some of the strict HIPAA guidelines, as it cannot be tied to PII. This allows you to reach your relevant audience at scale without media waste. 

Interest Group Targeting

Interest targeting is a great way to reach patients as well as families and caregivers who are also interested in a specific condition or topic. This expands reach to the key decision-makers in the healthcare process. Data providers often define “interest” by what content consumers are reading online. 


By placing small pieces of code on a website, known as pixels, brands can retarget website visitors with programmatic ads. You can also build lookalike audiences to expand the retargeting pool. In instances where the topic or condition is considered sensitive, lean on the other tactics above to reach your key audiences.

Key Channels for Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Marketers to Reach Patient Audiences

Local and Paid Search

Search engine is often the first touchpoint in the patient journey as they begin researching a symptom or diagnosis. Establish your brand as a resource with relevant, helpful content through both paid and organic search. 

Local search is impactful when patients are looking for a nearby healthcare location. Providers should have mobile-optimized websites, complete Google business profiles, customer reviews, and relevant content for local optimization. 

Social Media

Use the power of social media to build brand trust and authenticity. These platforms are a great way to reach patients in a more personal environment where they are active daily. 

Most social platforms offer demographic, interest and behavioral targeting parameters. There is also an emerging trend of HCPs becoming popular creators on channels like YouTube, Twitter and TikTok. This organic influencer content can be highly effective, especially if you amplify it through paid social. 

Programmatic Display 

Today, patients of all ages are consuming media digitally and using mobile devices to find healthcare information. In 2020, display was the fastest-growing format for healthcare and pharma ad spend. Mobile optimization is a key adaptation for advertisers moving forward. Over 80% of smartphone-using patients use them to identify or interact with physicians

Contextual display targeting places ads next to relevant, trustworthy content when consumers are in the appropriate mindset. This can be done with keyword matching for specific web content or by running PMPs on specific healthcare publications.

Native Ads

Native ads match readers’ interests with relevant content and generate higher brand engagement. You can repurpose high-performing social ad content and target these ads to the audience segments of the campaign. Match these ads with contextually relevant articles to align with health content that would demonstrate how your brand or facility could best serve that individual. 

Programmatic Video

Video Ads capture user attention on sites or social media channels with engaging motion and sound based messaging. Use quality video to: 

  • Show brand personality and bring messaging to life
  • Show your product/service in action
  • Optimize for mobile placements

Connected TV

Television streaming times are soaring. This is especially true for the 55+ age range, a core healthcare demographic, who also make up the highest proportion of CTV viewers. 

The high-impact video content and addressability of CTV ensure ads reach relevant audiences. Using specific healthcare patient and provider audiences on CTV buys reaches high-value, addressable segments. Cross-channel integration platforms can ensure you reach the right audience with the appropriate frequency, thus optimizing omnichannel strategies.

 “CTV is an untapped space eliminating barriers from a cost-to-market perspective. TV is now an accessible market for pharmaceutical players.”

Colin Duft, Coegi Account Strategy Director

Measuring Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Marketing Campaign Results

Using Full-Funnel Media Metrics

To measure campaign performance, it’s critical to understand how all your KPIs work together. We start by building a custom measurement framework factoring in multiple KPIs correlated to core business goals. Think outside the box of typical stats such as CTR, CPM and CPC to find more meaningful ways to track and attribute success. 

When media metrics do not answer your business questions, consider adding advanced measurement tactics. These data points will provide a more robust view of overall performance and marketing’s impact on your true business goals. 

Advanced Measurement Tactics for Healthcare Brands 

Healthcare brands with physical locations may find it difficult to measure the effects of digital marketing on in-person traffic. Medical device and pharmaceutical brands can likewise struggle to measure the results of in-person sales teams plus both on and offline marketing. In these instances, advanced measurement studies can help provide answers and display incremental lift in brand awareness, sales, or traffic. 

  • Foot traffic lift studies can be highly informative for hospitals or retail health brands. They provide online to offline attribution for campaigns aiming to drive consumers into physical locations. They use mobile location data to quantify the impact of media campaigns on incremental increase in visitation.
  • Brand lift studies can be effective for pharmaceutical brands to measure KPIs such as brand favorability, brand affinity, or ad recall. These can gauge success for omnichannel campaigns on branding goals.

Starting a Conversation with HCPs: Strategic Targeting, Channels & Measurement

Ad Targeting for Healthcare Providers 

Healthcare providers are relatively easier to target than patient segments. There is publicly available information and fewer privacy restrictions. However, there are occasionally some challenges with achieving scale as well as higher costs. Regardless, brands can reach HCPs across the wide range of content they consume to increase opportunities for engagement.

ID-Based Targeting

National Provider IDs are personal identifiers for specific healthcare providers including their practice location and specialty. Utilizing this data set via demand-side platforms allows for compliant, 1:1 HCP targeting across multiple channels and devices. 


Brands can also use NPI numbers to target relevant practice locations for particular physicians or specialties. By targeting a geo-radius around POC locations with high volumes of particular diagnoses or treatment types, you can remain compliant while also reaching your target audience.


Re-engage previous HCP website visitors with highly relevant creative. This tactic helps build consideration, with the ultimate intent to continue engaging based on prior actions. 

Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting tools can look at categories, keywords, and tags on web pages to deliver highly relevant programmatic content. At Coegi, we map these to the National Library of Medicine MeSH Taxonomy to ensure the most relevant terminology is applied to our digital media. 

Rx and Dx Targeting

Through data partnerships, brands can target NPI numbers of providers who prescribe certain prescription codes. Likewise, brands can target by diagnosis using ICD-10 codes to find their core provider audience. 

Key Digital Marketing Channels to Reach Healthcare Providers 

Endemic Display 

Reach healthcare providers on the key sites they visit for the latest trends and best practices in their field. These endemic sites are a more premium placement due to higher prices and lower supply. 

HCP Network: Doximity

Doximity is the leading social networking site specifically for healthcare providers. There are various ad placement options including sponsored content or in-feed ads. This can be a particularly helpful channel for new or emerging brands. It’s a great tool to educate and inform physicians about a new product offering. 

Paid Social 

Social media advertising helps reach HCPs outside of their professional environment. Use data providers to access ailment clusters and physician databases available for targeting on social and search. 

Programmatic Display

Display is the fastest-growing ad format in healthcare and pharma. Programmatic ads allow healthcare marketers to promote relevant information to HCPs outside the limitations of endemic websites. Also, banner display ads provide an easy format to drive traffic to specific website landing pages.

Paid Search

Similar to patients, practitioners also rely heavily on online resources to find new techniques, products, and information relevant to their practice. Outside of medical journal websites, providers prefer to receive communication from companies via search engines

Measuring HCP Marketing Campaign Results

At Coegi, we firmly believe all campaign spend can be accurately measured. When advertising to HCPs, the one-to-one addressability of some tactics allows for clearly traceable marketing ROI. However, other tactics can have less direct attribution toward objectives.  

In these instances, advanced measurement studies can help provide answers, explore correlations, and display incremental lift in metrics such as brand awareness, brand affinity and sales lift. 

Advanced Measurement Tactics

Brand lift studies can gauge success for omnichannel campaigns on brand-based goals. Awareness surveys with key practitioner groups can inform how a brand is perceived and the level of recognition or ad recall achieved within a target audience. 

Ready to level up your healthcare advertising? Schedule a discovery call with our business strategy team to get started today.

Connected TV: A New Frontier for Targeted Healthcare Marketing

Why is CTV a must-have for healthcare marketing?

In the ever-evolving world of digital advertising, marketers are constantly looking for the next opportunity and channel. Connected TV, in particular, is quickly gaining traction with a an increase in spending from $7.2B in 2021 to $9.39B in 2022. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Incremental reach
  • Segmentation & targeting
  • Positive consumer experience
  • Cost efficiency
  • High consumer engagement
  • Proven ROI & measurable outcomes 

Large entertainment and retail brands have been quick to implement CTV into their marketing plans. However, the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors have been slower to adopt. This leaves a huge opportunity for brands to pave the way in an unsaturated and underutilized space. 

Reach Niche Healthcare Segments

Traditionally, linear TV has been a core method used to reach broad healthcare audiences, often with a “spray and pray” approach. By using 3rd-party data partners, such as PulsePoint, advertisers can identify highly specific and reliable healthcare patient and provider audiences while maintaining HIPAA compliance. One to one consumer matching is overlaid on top of CTV buys driving campaigns directly to the core audience. For niche consumer demographics, this audience-first approach reaches high-value, addressable segments without overspending on mass media buys.  The content relevancy then enhances the user experience by serving relevant content in an engaging, large screen format.

Build Incremental Reach Across Media Channels

High quality video content is the memorable media to engage pharmaceutical audiences. However, consumers are fragmented across various screens and platforms. Programmatic CTV allows health and pharma brands to reach audiences across channels, staying top of mind and driving incremental reach. CTV bundled with linear TV and other digital programmatic buys work together to reach unique audiences as well as meet consumers across channels in a non-invasive way. Cross-channel integration platforms, such as The Trade Desk, can ensure you are reaching the right audience with the appropriate frequency, avoiding any siloes or ad fatigue. 

You can read our CTV Advertising Best Practices Q&A with The Trade Desk here.

Drive Health-Focused Outcomes with Measurable Results 

At Coegi, data is the core of what we do. CTV brings that data-driven aspect to the former wild, wild west of television advertising. One of our subject matter experts in the healthcare and pharma space, Colin Duft, stated, “CTV for healthcare marketing is an untapped space eliminating barriers from a cost to market perspective. TV is now an accessible market for pharmaceutical players.”  With CTV measurement capabilities, advertisers can now validate this channel and pull detailed insights on campaign impacts. There is a greater ability to connect TV campaign results to business goals and outcomes. 

HIPAA Compliant Targeting & Consumer Trust

Healthcare advertisers are often deterred by privacy laws and concerns when it comes to targeting individuals or sensitive patient sectors. However, consumers are becoming more open and are even expecting personalization from brands. A recent study showed that after direct mail, TV and radio ads are the most highly trusted media formats for advertising.  A TV ad for a specific health condition can feel less invasive, yet still applicable and relevant.  With third-party data partners, personal information is de-identified for HIPAA compliant targeting. As an additional resource, the NAI provides this healthcare targeting guide to help determine whether targeting efforts or data segments are considered sensitive.

Implications for Healthcare Brands

  • The time is now for CTV 
    • This is an opportune time for health-focused brands to capitalize on the CTV space. Users are cutting the cord, building an increasing demographic of users only reachable through streaming TV.
  • Precision buying optimizes TV ad budgets
    • Replace bulk linear buys with efficiently targeted ad placements.
  • Measurable results empower brands
    • Gather advanced demographic information and data from CTV ads to optimize campaigns, creatives, and audience sectors.

View our full healthcare marketing guide to learn more.

Download Coegi’s Healthcare Marketing Guide
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