Selecting Engaging Content for Contextual Display Media

Content is King

HCPs continue to report how important clinical guidelines, opinions of peers and colleagues, and clinical efficacy data are in their treatment decisions. And while our Media Vitals research shows us they still rely heavily on traditional channels like journals for this information, HCPs are like the rest of us, always looking for more interesting ways to learn.

Watching video currently composes one-third of all online activity. Among HCPs, CMI/Compas Media Vitals™ 2018 data indicates that this is occurring often too, with 35% of HCPs watching medically related videos daily. With all this activity, video consumption is driving a critical part of their digital learning experience.  This of course presents benefits for brands developing their own videos. However, pharmaceutical companies’ own websites are one of the least frequent places where HCPs report watching videos for professional purposes according to Media Vitals.

Therefore, a growing opportunity is to leverage contextually-based digital display, where banner ads are targeted to run specifically adjacent to a publisher’s relevant video content.

A Wealth of Opportunities for Pharma

In combination with a targeted display campaign, broader reaching contextual display can serve to block competitors and align non-personal promotion with HCPs’ most trusted associations and publications. As demonstrated in third party publishers’ own data, showing higher page views on pages with video, the HCP is already in a clinical learning mode.

For advertisers, there are benefits too. When watching videos online, HCPs frequently notice ads.

SOURCE: CMI/Compas Media VitalsTM 2018: Information Usage and Preference Survey

We’ve seen that adjacency to third-party publishers’ video can benefit contextually targeted display placements’ performance. Of course, not all HCPs will regularly have the availability to consume video. But for those that do, in work with our clients CMI has observed as much as a 70% improvement in Click Through Rates in contextual display placements adjacent to video, compared to display placements not adjacent to a trusted third party’s video.

While costs of video creation previously limited this to niche publishers and smaller inventories, medical publishers and associations are finding for themselves how well users are engaging with video content. Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (JNCCN) for example now sends its video film crew to every major oncology conference around the world.

The advances in production efficiency and the growing demand for video content have pushed both larger medical portals and specialty journals to enter the space. And production values continue to rise, as evidenced by examples like Medscape and WebMD winning Telly Awards for their video segments.

On consumer platforms, video is on the rise too. Over 500 million people are watching video on Facebook every day. By 2021, it’s estimated that one million minutes of online video content will be consumed every second.

And while not all of these videos present advertising opportunities to pharma marketers, we have seen more and more of our supplier partners starting to add contextually targeted banner inventory around video as a result.

Eliminating Risk

Because this POV focuses on the opportunities where video content is written by a third-party publisher’s editorial team and the extent of advertisers’ involvement is only in buying the adjacent ad space, questions on the content itself could arise if the proper precautions weren’t taken. To protect our clients’ banners, CMI/Compas utilizes blocking technology that will automatically scan each page of content for keywords deemed negative or inappropriate by the brand or agency. If negative keywords are detected, this blocking prevents the ads from ever serving, if for example, the title of the video or the page it was on included any contraindicated content.

How Can You Optimize Your Display Campaigns’ Contextual Targeting to Include Video?

As with any digital usage, HCPs have their own individual preferences and preferred sources of information. While HCPs are most often viewing videos for professional purposes on larger medical portals (and – Media Vitals found – even YouTube), user bases are very splintered. Our 2018 Media Vitals research shows that physicians have watched video for professional purposes on both endemic and non-endemic websites.

There is no one-size-fits-all in video that can guarantee banners will be served to 100% of a specialty or a target list. And today, the capability to provide HCP-identifiable data is not yet an industry standard among all supplier partners. To drive strong reach and frequency, this must include a strategic mix of carefully prioritized supplier partners.


To determine the optimal mix, CMI/Compas makes use of audience insights gained from a variety of sources. By utilizing CMI/Compas’ proprietary ByDoctor® database, audience reach of these sites can be understood at the specialty, brand segment and even HCP level. And through Media Vitals, a plethora of insights can be gained into how well-utilized these websites are, where specific HCPs report viewing videos, their preferences on communications from pharma, their app usage, and even video content preferences. By using the CMI/Compas proprietary methodology, called ADAPT™ (Audience-Driven Agile Planning and Targeting), which drives every custom non-personal promotion plan we create, the most informed decisions can be made when building a contextually targeted display media campaign.

Make sure that your display campaigns are designed to take advantage of the growing consumption of video and the growing number of supplier partners offering contextually targeted display. Because video consumption is occurring across many platforms, the best approach for marketers is a multi-channel, surround sound campaign backed by the latest audience preferences and performance data.

If you would like to learn more about specific opportunities available, please contact your CMI media planning lead.