Looking for a pharma marketing bump? Check out YouTube bumper ads, agency says

Give Google six seconds and it’ll give your brand a bump. That’s the premise, anyway, behind the six-second video “bumper ads” it’s been selling on YouTube since last year. What kind of bump? Google said it tested 300 bumper ads in 2016, with 9 out of 10 driving “significant lift in ad recall.” While that might makes sense for consumer brands like Old Spice deodorant or Krispy Kreme donuts, what about more regulated pharma brands?

One healthcare marketing and advertising agency that has been experimenting with bumper ads believes they’re a good way for pharma to engage with consumers. The short ads alone fit time-crunched consumers' shorter attention spans, but when used in conjunction with longer 30-second ads on YouTube, the brief “snackable content” bumpers can reinforce messages and build awareness and recall, CMI/Compas associate director of SEM Dan Nolan said.

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“Bumper ads were first created to serve as quick reminder ads, but really what we’ve seen and heard from Google is that the best way to use them is to reinforce a message. You’re not going to get everything you want to say to a user in six seconds. So what you want to do is use them in combination with another longer ad you’re running on YouTube as a reminder,” he said.

CMI/Compas used the ads alone to raise awareness for an online event for a pharma client. They ran the bumper ad with the event website link on the day before as well as the day of the event. While they didn’t have a previous event to compare it with, Nolan said they viewed the effort as a success with 440,000 impressions over the two days. One interesting finding was that the bumpers were mobile-heavy, with more than 84% of viewers accessing them on phones or tablets, Nolan said.

Overall, CMI/Compas' own research points to the general effectiveness of videos. Its 2017 Media Vitals study found that 60% of physicians want medical education videos on email versus 12% who want education via a sales rep.

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The agency is already working on new ways to use bumper ads for clients. Nolan said some possibilities include standalone bumpers to promote a savings card, a tease for a new treatment or product, or for a clinical trial coming soon. Combination campaigns could work for disease awareness or branded products, even if the ISI could be included in the 30-second video with the bumpers serving as reminders.

“It’s a new avenue for pharma clients. I know from a lot of our clients video is big, and they often ask how can they use their video assets like patient testimonials. This is another video option that I think pharma companies may not know is out there or overlooked because they didn’t think they could use six-second video,” Nolan said.