Do consumers want targeted healthcare ads?



The data is in: 72% of consumers want to see ads regarding products which may improve an existing condition. But what about unrelated conditions, educational campaigns, and trading personal data for relevancy?

PulsePoint came to us here at Industry Index Research to design and conduct an in-market study that defines and clarifies consumer perceptions of targeted digital healthcare advertising.

Targeted digital advertising is complex enough – the personal nature of healthcare advertising added to this complexity, and required a smart hypothesis and a careful approach. We measured the potential for targeted digital ads to inform and motivate, including consumers’ openness to, and trust in the information of targeted ads, likelihood of consumer action, and willingness to share personal data in exchange for information. 

Some of the findings surprised us. But first... 


Client Background


PulsePoint believes in better health outcomes through technology and data. In order to study consumers’ perceptions on digital healthcare advertising, they engaged in a defining market research study that answers nearly ubiquitous concerns about advertising within a complex, yet personal industry. Do consumers view targeted ads as part of their education mix? Are they open to sharing personal data in exchange for relevancy? Does this illuminate a significant opportunity for healthcare marketers?

A Grounded Hypothesis

Together with PulsePoint, we developed a hypothesis which the data would either support, or as is often the case with research, be unsupported, by results. Simply put: By using advertising as a vehicle to provide relevant educational information, marketers can engage with consumers, building effective, meaningful relationships.

By proving (or disproving) the hypothesis with research, PulsePoint would either have a clearer mandate, or a reason to rethink their strategy. 

Quantitative Survey Design

We designed a survey for a panel of consumer respondents that would give us clear data to answer our hypothesis. Topics included:

• Openness to targeted digital healthcare advertising
• Trust in information and willingness to respond
• Degrees of trust and engagement based on publisher types and ad formats
• Informational impacts and effects
• Sensitivity to advertising based on specific conditions
• Willingness to share personal data


About the Panel

Survey takers were qualified as medically active and engaged in regular online activity. The 1,000 respondents were an even cross section of gender and geography across the US.

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Survey says... 

By now, you likely have a broad-strokes opinion on this topic yourself. So did we, and some of the answers challenged and surprised us:

More than half of all respondents were open to targeted healthcare ads – no matter where the ad was displayed online… not just on medically-related sites. 

Tell Us More:
74% stated they would likely respond to an ad providing an opportunity to receive educational materials.

Calling Dr. Ad:

The majority of consumers surveyed want to see ads regarding products which may improve an existing condition.

Keep this Between Us:
Nearly half of respondents are open to seeing ads for any condition, regardless of how embarrassing or private their condition.

Data for Ads:

More than half told us they were open to sharing their smartphone-based personal data to receive relevant ads. There’s a lesson for the MADtech ecosystem about relevancy and value-exchange in there... 


Want to Dig Deeper? 

We published a Case Study on this research, which includes a download of the study itself. And here's PulsePoint's detailed launch article found on DTC Perspective's Website. 



Ready to conduct your own custom research?
For more information on Industry Index Research, visit our research home. To schedule a free assessment to see how market research could benefit your company, contact Matthew Thornton.   

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