6 tips for researching competitors’ healthcare advertisements
Before your start writing, here are 6 tips on how to research the brand's competitors by reviewing their healthcare advertisements. Exclusive AdPharm promotion detailed at the bottom of the article.
As a medical writer responsible for creating content for healthcare advertisements, you have the responsibility of providing accurate and well-balanced medical information as well as communicating the brand’s unique selling proposition. Satisfying both the medical and marketing objectives can be a challenge for medical writers. It is impossible to confirm if your communication is differentiating the brand from its competitors if you have never seen the competitors’ advertisements nor been informed of its key messages. This post details six tools that can help you gain a better understanding of the competitors’ messages. There are many other options, but this is a good starting point.
Is differentiation important in healthcare?
Differentiating a brand sets it apart from its competitors by highlighting what makes it unique. By frequently repeating the key differentiating message, the intent is for the target audience to associate the brand with what makes it unique eventually. Differentiation is essential for medical and healthcare brands as much as it is for consumer brands because there is a lot of noise in the healthcare market. The noise may be coming from various product categories; prescription, over-the-counter, natural products, therapeutic services and so on. Although a product may not be considered a direct competitor, if it is fighting for the attention of your target audience, then it is part of the brand’s competitors. Healthcare professionals and patients get bombarded with marketing messages from multiple healthcare and medical categories via different media. It makes for a large volume of noise to cut through.
Although direct to consumer advertising is highly restricted in certain countries, such as Canada, patients still get exposed to the various brand’s key messages from healthcare advertisements that trickle in from other countries on television, print media and the internet.
6 tips for researching competitive healthcare advertisements
Your client may provide you with some samples of their competitors’ healthcare advertisements, but this is not always the case. If you are on your own to do the research, here are a few options to help you gather the information that will help you write more effectively;
1. Peruse medical journals focused on the therapeutic area in question. Medical journals are full of product ads.
2. Search through the Facebook ad library. You can filter per country, active vs. inactive ads, advertiser, platform (Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, Messenger), potential reach and impressions based on date. Companies often test ad variations. If you see multiple ads that have similar wording or visuals, these are probably part of their tests. Look for the ad that ran for the most extended amount of time. That is perhaps the version that tested better than the others and was used as the official advertisement.
3. Search the internet for an official website regarding competitive brands. Be sure that the website is owned by the manufacturer or seller of the product.
4. Search doctor social networking sites such as Sermo, Doximity, Daily Rounds, Quantimedica, and Among Doctors. These healthcare social networks provide various sponsorship opportunities to brands.
5. Search the brand name and, if applicable, the brand’s official website in Ubersuggest to identify their listed search engine keywords. Ubersuggest is a free tool. Keep in mind that the organization does not develop the information that you will find, but rather, it will include keywords that internet searchers typed, which brought them to the website in question. Ubersuggest is incredibly helpful if you are writing for a searchable online tool for your client. By identifying terms used by the internet users to find your competitors, this will help you identify keywords to incorporate into the text.
6. Search through a database of healthcare advertisements, such as AdPharm. AdPharm is an online visual database of healthcare and animal health communications. It is available with a paid subscription. The healthcare ads that are showcased come from various countries. The database is continuously updated. You can search by brand name or by brand category. The page below gives you an example of the search results for a specific brand name. You can then click on the individual ads to see the content more clearly.
NOTE: Promotional details can be found below the image.
Work as a team with the designer
It is quite likely that you work with a few team members on your client’s side as part of a team. Before you start researching the competitors’ healthcare ads, ask the other team members if they have already done the research. If they have, they would most likely be glad to share it with you. If not, offer to share your findings with the rest of the team members.
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