OOH Ads Are A Great Prescription For Any Entity in The Health Care

The world has always been concerned with healthcare as one of the most pressing issues. The healthcare ecosystem and the individuals it serves underwent a radical transformation during the COVID-19 pandemic. As technology became more prevalent, hospitals, health systems, and medical practitioners expanded into new areas – like virtual health services for patients and new approaches to urgent care. 

Consumers are rapidly adopting these new health care options. Additionally, Pharma companies are urged to modify their marketing strategies to reach their target audiences better, since social gatherings are few and far between, public spaces are being shut down in mass amounts, and ratings from traditional media are dropping. In this scenario, out-of-home (OOH) advertising might be helpful. 

In a recent study by Talon and loopme, researchers sought to learn more about how US consumers choose healthcare, learn about new services, and stay informed about COVID-19. The research findings included:

Would You Meet A Doctor Virtually?


As telehealth has grown in popularity and importance over this past year, consumers have been able to access the care they need while limiting their exposure to COVID-19. In this case, patients are increasingly interested in receiving vital healthcare services through video conferences, remote monitoring, and digital consultations, which can be obtained through outdoor advertising. Outdoor advertising is an excellent vehicle for raising awareness of new offerings like telehealth by reaching target audiences.

Care Centers Are More Accessible Than Before


As consumers increasingly turn to urgent care centers and retail clinics for quality and affordable on-demand health care, they have been stepping beyond the traditional health setting of a doctor’s office or an emergency room. A unique benefit of outdoor advertising is its proximity to care centers and clinics as well as its ability to deliver hyper-localized and contextualized content.

Consumers are turning to the news, government resources, and PSAs first for the most reliable and timely information to stay safe and informed on health. During the pandemic, the OOH industry stepped up like no other channel to deliver unified public-health PSA messaging, supporting public-information goals set by health professionals. 66% of respondents are looking to the news, government resources, and PSAs for information on COVID-19 and other healthcare updates, while just 15% are consulting their doctor or pharmacist.

OOH Amplifies COVID-19 Messaging Effectiveness

Because of its sheer scale, OOH is a major driver of brand awareness and conversations. When paired with other media channels, such as social and online, consumers are all the more receptive to advertising about COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, which builds on early pandemic messaging to prevent the spread of the virus and plasma donations. 43% of respondents found the combination of OOH, social, and online ads to be an effective way to be kept informed on COVID-19 testing and vaccination news

Does OOH Really Help Build Brand Trust?!

Brand trust is becoming increasingly fragile in our digital age. But by integrating OOH – the most brand-safe marketing channel – with social and online, consumers’ expectation that a new brand or offering is credible, grows. The same study mentioned that 45% of respondents trust healthcare brand messaging when distributed through a combination of OOH, social, and online ads. 

According to another study, indicating low level of trust between healthcare providers and consumers. There is only a 39% positive view of healthcare providers among consumers. Nearly half of consumers view healthcare providers negatively, while almost nine in ten consumers plan to change their healthcare providers. A strong relationship with a consumer after that person has seen your out-of-home ads will help you develop trust for your business.

Rapport’s study documented an impressive 275% boost in consumers’ loyalty by using OOH, when done along with online advertising, paid search, and social media. Another research by Nielsen concluded that OOH ads hold a higher level of trust in brands than other mediums in general, and more surprisingly within the younger generations, showing 56% of millennials trusting OOH rather than online displays (48%), or videos (46%).

Health Care Brands Are Increasing

Several changes in the media landscape, as well as changing lifestyle trends, are transforming the field, according to Zenith’s study, which covered 13 markets including Canada. In recent years, there is also a noticeable shift from using traditional mediums like television and radio to OOH and digital. While television ad spend still takes up roughly half the total amount of pharmaceutical advertising, the number is shrinking every year and is predicted to continue going down by 5.2% in 2020 and 2021. This is at an alarmingly faster rate than the whole market, which is decreasing only about 1% per year. On the other hand, OOH is rapidly making an impact, evidently by a strong increase of 11% in 2018 and an estimation of 15% in 2019.

Opportunity For Growth 

The U.S. healthcare system is also in the midst of this digital transformation with the introduction of electronic health records, telemedicine and remote medical monitoring. Some of the other factors that are driving the US healthcare advertising market include new drug launches, technological advancements, healthcare reforms, ageing population and an increasing presence of generic drugs. The IMARC Group expects the US healthcare advertising market to reach a value of US$ 24.7 Billion by 2026, exhibiting a CAGR of 6.10% during 2021-2026. 

In contrast, digital displays and OOH are gaining popularity in the healthcare field for mass awareness. Internet advertising already sees far more activity from healthcare brands, accounting for 34% of ad spend in healthcare in 2018. This represented 16% in growth, and Zenith predicts that it will repeat that growth rate this year. By 2021, Zenith also predicts that online advertising will take the biggest share of ad spend in healthcare, at 46%.

Pharmaceutical Companies Use OOH to Their Advantage

Advertising consumes a large percentage of the amount of money invested in the United States; pharma companies get the biggest bite. According to Statista, direct-to-consumer advertising spending in the U.S. increased from 2012 to 2019. Over the years, there has been a clear upward trend with a surge of 6.46 billion in 2018. Furthermore, the findings note that the number for 2019 is simply for the first 9 months and shows a similar growth rate to that of the previous year, 4.54 billion and 4.79 billion respectively. 

From 2013 to 2018, Zenith also reported a steady increase in pharmaceutical advertising spending in the U.S. on a yearly basis of 6%, greatly influenced by the freedom of prescription medicine advertising only in America.

Let’s End With This Creative OOH Ad

This billboard, in Stockholm’s Odenplan square, coughs when a smoker walks by. This advertisement, from pharmacy chain Apotek Hjärtat, is intended to capitalize on smokers’ desire to quit as a new year’s resolution.

TV screens and smoke detectors are used in the advertisement. At first, it appears to be a standard billboard photo, but when it detects smoke, the model in the photo coughs. After grabbing their attention, the screen shows a display ad for the pharmacy and the products that it will sell to help them quit.

“The purpose was to drive the conversation about this topic, documenting the reactions, encouraging people to live a healthy lifestyle,” Apotek Hjärtat’s Fredrik Kullberg told CNN. 

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