One of the major health care marketing trends we’re excited about is how digital media networks improve the performance of traditional media buys.

Here are three quick examples of what I mean.

Example 1: Increase in  Brand Lift

When our clients run a branding campaign using traditional channels like broadcast television and newspaper, we use our digital buying and planning tools to measure “brand lift”: put simply, this means the spike in organic searches to our clients’ web properties. This allows us to more easily quantify the increased awareness that traditional branding and advertising campaigns have always sought to drive.

Example 2: Optimizing Channel Performance

We can create custom landing pages as calls-to-action for traditional channels (like direct response and radio) to compare how the campaigns perform by channel. For example, direct response and radio get different URLs for the call-to-action. This way we can measure radio’s impact over direct response. If we want to get really serious about tracking and optimization, we can create custom landing pages for different ads in each channel (like radio) to see which message drives the most conversions. This allows us to test, improve, and utilize top performing landing pages for a given campaign.

Example 3: Evaluating Social Engagement

Prior to a client’s campaign being in market, we utilize social listening tools to measure a benchmark of the amount of existing conversation and engagement surrounding the brand and/or key message(s). Following a campaign launch we’re then able to continue tracking those key conversations and campaign hashtags to measure those important increases in engagement levels. We listen for what is being said and shared, how it’s being said (the sentiment)  and how the campaign is impacting awareness, interest and engagement with our client’s brand.

The Shift In Thinking

Leveraging digital to enhance traditional media buys is a welcome change from the last several years, where media buyers and planners seemed stuck in one of two camps.

One camp seemed resistant to change and wanted to dismiss digital as being too narrow and inferior for delivering emotionally-driven messages—especially branding messages.

The other camp was all-in for digital only. Any dollar spent in traditional was seen as a waste.

Of course these perspectives were too polarizing and too narrow-minded.

Today’s health care audiences are omnichannel consumers. Sure, they may spend a lot of time on Facebook. But what if your audience just wants to scroll their Facebook feed to get updates on grandkids and doesn’t want to think about health care topics like prostate health? Or suppose you’re trying to reach millennials. Maybe they don’t want to see your health care ad on Instagram encouraging them to get their annual exam when their main goal is only to see what the latest celebrity gossip or fitness blogger is up to.

Some health care messages don’t fit into the restricted, handful of characters for a paid search result. Sometimes your audience would prefer you mail them information they can digest over time instead of being made to sit through a pre-roll ad on YouTube.

That’s why we love this shift to leveraging digital to improve the effectiveness of traditional buys. Media channels don’t “die,” they just evolve. Today’s health care consumers have more and more media choices to be entertained, informed and engaged.

It’s our job to appreciate our health care audiences by engaging them with meaningful, relevant content, exceptional storytelling, and to ensure every media dollar we spend is making a difference.

Which media strategy is best for achieving business results? Digital or traditional? It turns out that the answer is BOTH. Learn the “Handshake Media Method” for using digital enhance and track traditional media strategies.

Now It’s Your Turn

What’s your biggest media strategy challenge right now? Leave a comment and let us know.