Cavol Forbes

Digital Advertising with LegitScript and NABP

Have you heard about LegitScript? Chances are, unless you’ve tried advertising pharmaceuticals or medical help on Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other digital platforms, LegitScript may be foreign to you. LegitScript Certification, along with certificates through the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), has been the solution to protect consumers against fraudulent or 3rd party sites. 

It began with rehab centers, and then the creation of ads taking advantage of those seeking legitimate help. Initially Google decided to ban all these types of ads, but realizing the need for them later developed a certification program. This program confirms companies advertising services are legally able to provide what they are selling.

So what does that mean for pharma and medical companies? As with most things, the medical industry can have more regulations than other industries. That doesn’t mean every medical ad on a digital platform needs this special approval, but for those that do the process can be lengthy. 

To put it simply, if you are a medical company and offer services like telemedicine or pharmaceuticals you would need to be LegitScript or NABP certified before your ads would be approved. If you have a “buy now” button anywhere on your site, or something equivalent, you would need this certification. It is required even if you are advertising something about your business not directly related to sales or telemedicine services.

This is where strong strategy and planning come into play within an advertising plan. Lead time is everything on these types of campaigns. While most consumer digital ads can be submitted and approved in a fairly timely manner, LegalScript Certification alone takes around two months, with added time if an NABP Certification is needed. The timing takes into account a review process of the entire company to verify legitimacy and legality of its medical offerings. This can include things like financial information, merchant accounts, board of director information and more.

In addition to the certification, approval times can also take slightly longer for the ads themselves due to digital platform approvals. Medical ads must follow any restrictions and laws pertaining to their subject matter. This can be very industry and company specific, and it is important to be in contact with a rep from the platform you advertise with to enable the smoothest approval process. Constant contact with a representative, plus adequate ad planning and lead time can ensure a successful advertising campaign to share your services and reach your customers.

Digital Strategy – Gleaning Insights from Information

Digital strategy is an ever-evolving process; something we’re always striving to be better and more efficient with. Deeper insight leads to stronger strategy; and both push for higher campaign ROI. The latest conference we attended at the 4A’s Learning Academy had some great takeaways on strategy. The presenter, Jurene Fremstad, shared thoughtful recommendations, especially when it comes to collaborating with clients for the best outcome.

The Path to “Aha Moments”

One of the topics focused on the most was that information doesn’t mean insight. From point A to point B there has to be work, and potentially bad ideas, to get to those amazing “aha moments.” That doesn’t mean data doesn’t help, it just means that’s not all you need. When the whole team works together, and shares info, the real ideas begin to form.

Client & agency collaboration helps bridge the knowledge gap, and allow the creative team to have good, innovative ideas.

1. Keep it Brief

Creative briefs are often anything but brief, and for no good reason in many instances. Lengthy descriptions, using business buzzwords and over-descriptive problems can lead to more confusion than information. Think “we’re looking to raise sales among women” vs. “moderately declining numbers within our targeted demographic have led us to seek business development within the female audience.” 

Yes, we’ve all been there, and we do all want to be descriptive enough to ensure everyone has a good grasp of the task at hand–but before you send that brief to the team, try asking yourself, “Could it be more brief?”

2. Limit Requirements

Within the brief itself, a simplified ask is always helpful to cultivate more creative and insightful solutions.

The more requirements given, the more people feel confined in the solutions they can offer. Instead of pushing someone to find strategic results, you may be limiting them to standard answers that easily fit into a long list of requirements.

3. Ask & Answer

Questions are a strategist’s superpower! Asking useful questions can unlock everything needed to find strategic answers, and positive results. The hard part about questions is knowing which are the best to ask. Interrogating may seem like a strong word, but the best way to understand the client ask is to ask lots of questions and get in-depth answers.

This process is definitely a team work item. Framing questions correctly is the agency task, and providing thorough answers is up to the client. And there may be multiple rounds as new ideas and new research is surfaced. Don’t feel like this should be limited only to the start.

4. Research, and More Research

To quote the conference directly, “Research [is] a tool that strengthens all of your brains.” When timelines are tight, research is something that doesn’t always get the time and effort it deserves. 

A simple way to keep research at the forefront of strategy is to do a quick assessment of what types would be useful for a project. Is this something that needs primary research, or is secondary research readily available? How can qualitative and quantitative data each help with insight and ideas?

A good process needs parameters to ensure efficiency and organization. At the same time, research, facts, and observations should have flexibility to match different project needs and limitations.

Great insight has clarity, meets the project need, and understands why the consumer would be driven to an intended outcome. We’re here to make connections, unlock opportunity, and promote action. In basic terms, strategy meets clarity and makes us all think, “Aha!”

Consumers vs. Marketers & Native Mobile Advertising

Not shockingly, the average person looks at their phone 200 times a day. But only 10% of that time is spent browsing the web; The rest of the time is spent using native apps. Unlike like traditional cookie-based tracking typical in PPC advertising, the insights gathered on users via native apps has virtually no bounds. On an aggregate level, marketers can collect data on age, gender and behavior such as where you ordered dinner or where you went to happy hour etc. All this data, but what are they doing with it? The more marketers know about their users, the more they can tailor advertisements and that’s exactly what they want. Creep factor aside, some would say this works in the user’s interest because marketers are more likely to present ads you’re actually interested in seeing. However, most users only see ads as an annoyance they instinctively “skip” or ignore. And with ad blocking software becoming more ubiquitous in web browsers (80% of Americans will be using some kind of ad blocker by 2017), that makes tracking in native apps the most logical path. Not to mention, some estimate that up to 1/3 of PPC traffic is fraudulent (that translates to $7.2B in 2016). That doesn’t make it easy to place the right ad in front of the right person at the right time. Brands and marketers still need to be smart and careful about how they position themselves in a market where consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with privacy and jaded with the typical banner ad or “pre-roll” video.

I attended a meet-up during Internet week hosted by Jun Group, presented by their CEO Mitchell Reichgut titled “Don’t Call it a Phone – How to Advertise on Smartphones and Tablets in the Age of Applications.” Here are key insights on how to stay ahead of the herd and adjust your digital marketing strategy to meet this ever changing market:

  • No interruptions: That means absolutely no auto-play ads (that you can’t skip) and no pop-ups – ever.
  • Consider context: How and where users see your content is just as important as the content itself. Opt for custom placement (visible, relevant but not in the way) and tailor content specifically to the website or app’s audience. Yes, this will require development of more versions of ads but it’s worth it in the long run.
  • Know where your ads are: Many advertisers buy placement but don’t really know exactly what websites or apps will display them and what placement they’ll receive.
  • Look at media differently: it doesn’t always have to be banner ads or pre-roll videos. Many marketers have had success with value exchange programs within games. For example, a user might be asked to watch a 30 second video (between levels) in exchange for bonus points or a gameplay advantage. However, be careful that the games demographics align with your intended audience, which can be tricky to figure out.

Above all, measurement is the most important component of a successful ad campaign. Some of the above tactics may actually result in seemingly less impressive metrics but If you’re still measuring the success of your campaigns on impressions and clicks alone, don’t forget there’s a good chance much of that data is fraudulent.