New York, NY— eMarketer’s latest numbers on healthcare and pharma’s digital ad spend are in, and the word of the day is growth. Current estimates call for more than $3B to be spent in this sector for digital ads in 2018. That’s across all connected devices—from computers to smartphones and from tablets to smart speakers. It’s also expected to balloon even further in the coming years—by 2020, that number is estimated to grow by a third to over $4B. 

Despite these significant investments and the projected growth, healthcare and pharma aren’t standouts in digital spending. Their combined investment accounts for only a small piece of digital ad expenditures, representing just 3 percent of the whole. Other sectors, including finance, retail and automotive, each account for well over three times that of our entire industry. eMarketer recently told FiercePharma,

“Dollars spent by healthcare and pharma on digital advertising will keep going up, but the share (% of total) will remain the same because total digital spending is growing as well. In other words, the entire pie is growing.” 

All in all, digital advertising is still in significant growth mode, and as of 2017, it accounted for nearly half of total media spend.  It’s gaining share from former giants, especially TV, which has shrunk back to about a third of the pie. In fact, mobile spend alone will surpass TV in 2018, and by 2022 will reach nearly half of all media spend in the US.

Why This Matters—

eMarketer’s data suggests that digital ad spending will likely remain in growth mode for the foreseeable future, both inside of our industry and beyond. While this likely comes as no surprise to many, it is worth noting that they’re projecting about half a billion dollars in growth year over year through 2021. Healthcare and pharma marketers must think digital first, finding innovative new ways to relay their messages across mobile, desktop and now voice. Take a minute to dive back into our 2018 Trends—the best ideas will Fit Me In through interactive media and up the ante with Blockbuster Boldness, all the while keeping The Human Ux at the center. 


About the Author:

Drew Beck has spent his entire career in healthcare — from direct patient care as an EMT in college to countless roles in pharma sales and global marketing for leading life science companies including Eli Lilly & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline. He is currently a leader on the Syneos Health Insights & Innovation team, a group charged with leveraging deep expertise in virtual collaboration, behavioral science, trends-based-innovation, custom research and global marketing insights.