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Precision targeted ads won’t work without great creative

KEY TAKEAWAY: According to STAT news “the music streaming service Pandora is helping pharma advertisers follow users around as they listen to music on different devices throughout the day”. What in hell makes anyone think that consumers want to be interrupted with a pharma ad while listening to music?

So imagine this; you’re about to listen to Taylor Swift’s new album on Pandora when you are interrupted with an online mobile ad for a new drug to treat depression. Could anything be more annoying or irrelevant?

Highly targeted, precision ads don’t mean a damn thing unless the message/creative in those ads is personally relevant to the audience. But we’re talking about pharma and its’ agencies who would rather spend months on the development of a TV ad than test and develop compelling creative for online ads.

Forget the fact that the demographics of Pandora are not aligned with the high number of people who take prescriptions pharma DTC managers just don’t understand how to develop a compelling story telling to get users to raise their hand and say “I want to know more”.

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The online ads I executed for Cialis went through up to three months of testing before we actually launched a full online campaign. It was the targeting that proved to be a success, but rather, the message that was tested over and over again by the DTC manager.

Then there are the consumers who het pissed off because you are targeting them on their mobile devices which, by the way, cost them a lot of money. According to a study in 2016 70% of consumers dislike mobile ads.

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If pharma wants online ads to be successful they need to test them, but, more importantly, they need to think like users and develop creative that leads to user actions like clicking on the ad. An ad on Pandora, for example, may not go as far as a free sponsored playlist with a message like “don’t let your MS stand in the way of dancing to the music. We can help and we’re here to listen”.

Consumers have shorter attention spans divided between more devices and platforms than ever before.

How to stand out

  • Eye-catching visuals

Winning Creative Formula

  1. What are your target audience’s pain points and goals?

Great and compelling creative will always lead to more engagement not precision targeting alone.

Originally published at on September 26, 2017.

Written by

Marketing contrarian with over 15 years of developing leading edge and award winning digital marketing initiatives.

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