Pharma video ads surge after initial COVID-19 slowdown, adtech company tracks significant year-over-year growth

After a short pause in March, pharma video ads have bounced back. Initial COVID-19 shelter-in-place advice and uncertainty dampened pharma video placement. However, video ad tech company Innovid has since tracked consistent growth.

Pharma video volume, in fact, led all categories with 85% year-over-year growth for the last week of July. The pharma market saw jumps in both broadcast (10%) and programmatic (9%) video ads for the week.

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“In pharma, we saw a small dip at the beginning, but there has been a nice comeback then through the entire time,” Innovid co-founder and CTO Tal Chalozin, said.

While maybe obvious, pharma products tend to be more recession proof during economic downturns in general, along with a few other categories such as consumer packaged goods (CPG).In fact, pharma, CPG and telecom were the three biggest ad categories seeing year-over-year growth in video ad impressions through the end of July, according to Innovid.

Led by pharma, the uptick in programmatic video ads repeated across multiple categories. The moves were driven by the need for flexibility and convenience during the pandemic, Chalozin said. Programmatic ads, which are automatically placed basde on advertisers’ pre-selected metrics such as audience and budget details, found fans with industries’ looking to be more agile during the crisis.

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In conversations with marketers across verticals, many said they shifted to programmatic to be able to move more quickly to find audiences or to reconfigure ad budgets on the fly. That second reason—the ability to quickly shift ad spending during the COVID-19 crisis—was especially true. Chalozin pointed to the example of sporting and live events getting cancelled or postponed and advertisers stuck with pre-paid media spent on broadcast TV.

When it came to where viewers were watching video ads, mobile was the no-surprise winner at 47% at the end of July. However, connected TV wasn’t far behind at 37%, and a jump over last year’s more typical highs in the upper 20 percentiles.

Chalozin said he expects connected TV, like programmatic, is another COVID-19 trend that will continue to hold going forward in video advertising.