Is audio the next frontier for HCP communications and engagement?
Consumers are flocking to mobile devices, smart speakers like Alexa, and growing numbers of podcasts and music streaming to satisfy their audio needs. Pharma marketers are beginning to realize that consumers want to pay attention to audio as much as they want to pay attention to visual content.

The ad-supported TV model has been the foundation of Pharma & Health advertising for nearly three decades, but the old playbooks are no longer movinas media habits change more rapidly.

Consumers are paying more attention to both music and podcasts nowadays. They are listening on more devices and platforms than ever before.

Pharma brands need to pay more attention to the possibilities audio content may bring, specially its ability to extend reach and spark crucial and informed conversations between patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals.

Audio is one of the most powerful senses we have. From listening to our favorite band to hearing a loved one tell us about their day, auditory stimuli has the capacity to deeply impact us. As such, in recent years, audio content has found its way into numerous industries and sectors. It’s no surprise that the pharmaceutical industry has begun integrating audio into its communication efforts, given that HCPs tend to respond more positively towards auditory content than visual or textual information.

What is the current state of audio engagement for pharma?

Health brands, particularly pharmaceuticals, invested heavily in audio marketing in 2022, according to a study published in March. In 2021, 50% more digital audio campaigns were launched by health brands than in the previous year, particularly those dealing with women's health and disease prevention, with a share of investment between streaming audio channels and program-related audio inventory.

According to the report, digital audio ad impressions increased 61%, and conversion-to-brand rates from audio increased 11%.

Despite the fact that audio makes up just 1% of the total ad impression mix, pharma’s interest in the medium is growing as consumer habit shifts.

In addition to growing, pharma is diversifying its media mix. Consumers are consuming media in new ways, and brands are now meeting them where they are, which is very likely to be on an audio channel.

According to a March study by Edison Research, which monitors the audio business, 73% of Americans had listened to online audio in the previous month, up from 61% in 2017 and just 39% in 2009.

Home office has increased audio streaming audiences' demand for sound, breaking the silence as they worked.

Consumers are taking audio content with them as they go about their day, putting in earbuds for their grocery errands or morning walks. That has created significant opportunity for pharma brands looking to grow their audience.

What's next?

The biggest dilemma for pharmaceutical companies is the lack of creative resources to take advantage of all the possibilities. It's not as simple as taking a TV ad and converting it for the audio market—advertisements in the audio sector are naturally more conversational, and much more attention should be given to the creative procedure and content production phases.

Experts expect pharma's investment in digital audio to continue to grow, but it is important to note that this investment will complement rather than replace more traditional pharma ad formats, such as TV commercials.

Since the industry is becoming more data-driven, there is no longer a one-size-fits-all educational program or campaign. Pharma can utilize a variety of channels and content strategies in addition to audio if the program has specific demands.

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