The dream state of health data

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Katie Carr, Senior Vice President of Sales at Swoop, explains how pharma brands can leverage condition-specific patient segments to connect with more relevant consumer audiences online. This episode delves into the building blocks of custom audiences – real health data (RWD), in conjunction with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) – and how custom segments offer a better way than traditional targeting methodologies for reader script lift brands.


Real-world health data, coupled with artificial intelligence and machine learning, provides an unprecedented opportunity for pharmaceutical marketers to drive script lifting. It allows marketers to connect with more relevant consumer audiences through condition-specific patient segments.

On a sponsored MM+M podcast, Editor-in-Chief Marc Iskowitz sat down with Katie Carr, SVP of Sales at Swoop, to discuss the limitations of traditional targeting methodologies and the potential of Custom Audience alternatives for the modern health care marketing.

Carr kicked off the discussion by explaining that Swoop offers a number of different solutions for brand marketers today.

“What Swoop really understands is that each distributor, each pharmaceutical advertiser has their own therapeutic challenges and benefits,” she said. “And Swoop creates custom segments to meet specific brand needs.” She went on to note that this is basically why the company is trusted by 42 out of 50 major pharmaceutical manufacturers and 18 out of 20 major pharmaceutical agencies.

Towards real data solutions

Traditionally, marketing solutions for pharma advertisers have included “demographic targeting, nine-zip targeting, out-of-the-box segments, and behavioral targeting such as clickstream,” Carr explained. However, these methods “just aren’t targeted enough”, she said, leading to “a lot of wastage of your media budget when you’re not able to identify the specific target market, the patient. specific that the advertiser wishes to achieve. ”

The reason for this is that “demography is basically the whole population against criteria such as age, gender, ethnicity, household income” but “there is no data on health in demographic targeting,” Carr noted. Although the “out-of-the-box” segments use real-world data, this is generic data and if you have “an oncology client who wants to find patients for second- or third-line treatment, you you can’t do it with a generic segment,” she explained. When it comes to behavioral targeting, “the data collected online is all attached to an ID” and “many of these solutions won’t be available to advertisers.” when third-party cookies are disabled on sites such as Google or as “other platforms make privacy updates” such as Apple did for iOS 14.5.

That’s why brands need to “maximize their investment in real-world data solutions,” Carr said, through precision healthcare marketing. Swoop, for example, creates “custom segments” to “focus on the specific target market.” The real-world data comes “from a combination of claims data and social determinants of health,” she explained. Information such as “a diagnosis code, hospital visit, treatment and insurance notes, or the NPI associated with the claim” is accessible through claims, and the social determinants of health give a overview of questions such as “can the patient access drinking water or transport in order to obtain health care?” »

Build a Custom Audience

As an example, Swoop has “more than 300 million anonymized unique patient journeys in the United States,” dating back more than a decade, Carr explained. The data is updated on a weekly basis, giving pharmaceutical companies the opportunity to reach “newly diagnosed patients”. Swoop then curates this “data in conjunction with artificial intelligence machine learning to create privacy-safe segments.”

To create segments, Swoop uses a HIPAA-compliant privacy-by-design data architecture and operates “within the guidelines that were created by the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI),” Carr said. Additionally, Swoop has “a proprietary methodology that allows us to build a very high quality audience,” which drives engagement and script elevation. In the case of rare diseases, she added, “the quality of the audience will be much lower but will perform better than other solutions on the market”, because the audience will have a higher multiple of patients than the prevalence. in the general population.

Beware of any provider “who provides you with segments above 50%,” Carr warned. Ask about his HIPAA certification, whether he is a member of NAI and “the likelihood of a patient potentially being re-identified” as this “would put any manufacturer or agency at risk,” she said.

At Swoop, “we always put privacy first,” Carr noted. This includes “consumer privacy, but also the ability to market to the consumer so that you can improve their quality of life” by “educating them about the treatment that is out there and the condition they could potentially have.” “.

Use of data in advertising

Once the Custom Audience is built, it can be “enabled across your entire media mix,” Carr said, including Connected TV (CTV), Addressable TV and Linear TV. “As the dollars start to shift from traditional linear to CTV, we’re starting to see those budgets increase,” she added. “It’s more important to have really strong targeting as we start to see these changes happen.”

As long as advertisers are working with good data that is working well, being able to use “the same data asset for planning, activation and measurement and having it all lined up is really the dream state,” Carr said. Swoop will meet with a pharmaceutical company “to understand what your brand needs are” and “how you want to measure the success of the campaign.”

Since the pandemic, media consumption habits have changed and the pharmaceutical industry has accelerated its digital transformation. “Pharma is notorious for being late to adapt,” she said. “Some brands are still stuck on measuring click-through rate and cost-per-click campaigns.”

Rather than relying on “all sorts of vanity metrics,” Carr said, “we recommend that each brand use a third party to validate their data” and “measure script lifting for these campaigns.” At Swoop, she concluded, “we don’t grade our own homework.”

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