Content Marketing

3 Ways YouTube Is Redefining Healthcare Marketing

With a billion users worldwide, and more than 50% of video views happening on mobile, YouTube has literally redefined how, where and when people around the world consume video content. Now YouTube is also redefining search analytics and targeting. In early 2017, Google made an announcement regarding significant targeting and measurement updates within YouTube.

One of these changes is the ability for advertisers to leverage search data to target within YouTube. For example, a user who searches for allergy relief on Google Search can now get served a video ad on YouTube from Claritin. Customer Match (targeting users based on uploaded emails) also will be available on YouTube. The ability to target this way is a result of Google moving from cookie-based targeting to ID targeting (i.e. someone who is logged into his/her Google account), which allows for Google to follow users cross-screen. As customers move between mobile, desktop and tablet, Google and YouTube can now track users across devices, and provide specific ad content related to their actions and search queries. With US Adults currently spending close to 50% of their total media time on digital platforms, the ability to offer seamless targeting is transformative.

This brings us to the next part of the announcement: reducing the amount of third party pixels/cookies from YouTube, which prevents user data from being carried outside of YouTube, i.e. information in, not out. While the ID model of targeting allows for better cross-screen attribution and measurement, this is a potential roadblock for Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs) that rely on cookie data to re-target individuals across the internet.

YouTube Redefining Healthcare

So what does this mean for healthcare advertisers? Here are 3 Ways YouTube Is Redefining Healthcare Marketing: 

1). Patient Journeys Made Transparent

These Google updates are indicative of a larger trend in the digital space, one in which being able to connect the dots in the patient journey will make it easier for advertisers to find their audience and target them across device and channel.

2). Niche Patients Can Be Targeted

These changes will be especially beneficial for highly specific pharmaceutical advertisers who often find it difficult to hone in on their target audiences.

3). Engaging Video Content Is Essential

Given these changes, healthcare marketers must fully embrace video at the core of their patient and HCP messaging. The days of patients and caregivers sitting at their desktop researching text heavy sites are giving way to a much more fluid health search spiral in which short video snippets are the central means of consuming health information.


The recent changes to YouTube targeting and analytics will undoubtedly have a powerful impact on how healthcare marketing content is delivered. Furthermore, because YouTube has launched local versions in more than 88 countries and  76 different languages, these changes will impact marketers and patients around the world.





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Alexandra Gilson
Alexandra (Alex) Gilson originally hails from NYC where she gained extensive paid search and paid social expertise working with Fortune500 brands. She is also passionate about education and has been a guest lecturer for the NYU SCPS Integrated Marketing program. Alex currently spends her “downtime” looking after her toddler and infant. New to the Philadelphia area, she is always open to suggestions for family activities.

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