While traditional television viewing has flattened out or even slightly declined, use of digital video is very much on the rise. According to a 2012 IAB/Nielsen study, monthly time spent streaming video increased 49% and total monthly streams per user went up 12% year over year.

To break it down further, those statistics are looking at two types of online video – short form and long form.  Short form refers to any online video that is shorter than 24 minutes in length.  Long form is longer than 24 minutes and encompasses full TV episodes watched via the web.

The good news for pharma advertisers? This vertical is among the most effective in both long and short form video advertising.  Although online video ads create higher recall and likeability than television ads, the real opportunity is in integrating both tactics.  The duplication of online and television reach is far more effective than either approach is on their own, especially for pharmaceutical brands.

How can online video be used to promote a brand or product?

Pre-roll, Mid-roll, Post-roll

To extend the reach of a TV plan, or in place of traditional television, commercials can be purchased within both long form and short form online video content.  The buy can be structured so that your ad comes before (pre-roll), in the middle of (mid-roll), or at the end (post-roll) of the video itself. These placements can often be purchased so that they aren’t able to be skipped – forcing the user to complete the full ad before viewing their content.

There are also many more targeting opportunities available within digital video as compared to traditional television.  Depending on whether you are purchasing the inventory directly, through an ad network, or programmatically – there is an opportunity to target your consumers demographically, contextually, behaviorally, or even based on their health history.


In addition to purchasing digital video placements, there is another opportunity to feature video content on your own site.  By doing so, you can enhance user experience and keep consumers engaged.  It is a great way to show before and afters, patient testimonials, and even doctor endorsements if applicable. Using video as a brand-to-patient resource on your site adds a human element that so many pharmaceutical sites lack.

Embedded in Email Advertising

Including video within emails nearly doubles click-thru rates and reduces opt-outs by 75%. In addition, customers who view videos are more likely to purchase or convert.

The Future

By 2017, video will represent more than two-thirds of global consumer Internet traffic. Consumers are going to continue to become more accustomed to being communicated to via this medium.  Video assets as learning tools on websites are going to become a normal consumer expectation.

Online video advertising will continue to grow as well, and targeting opportunities will become increasingly accurate.  Programmatic buying capabilities will allow a one-to-one type reach that you just aren’t able to get with traditional television.

Kay Driscoll
Kay Driscoll

Digital Media Supervisor

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