US Healthcare and Pharma Digital Ad Spending 2019

Behind the Curve on Shift to Digital Advertising, but Making Inroads

Executive Summary

US healthcare and pharmaceutical advertisers will increase their digital ad spending by 20.1% to $3.62 billion in 2019. Meanwhile, total US digital ad spend will grow by 19.1% this year. While healthcare and pharma budgets are growing at a similar rate as other verticals, healthcare and pharma ad spend overall is much lower.

What is healthcare and pharma’s share of total US digital ad spend?

Healthcare and pharma will remain the smallest ad spending vertical. We anticipate that healthcare and pharma will account for just 2.8% of total US digital ad spend in 2019 and 2020.

Why does its share remain small?

Part of the reason that digital ad spend in healthcare and pharma has lagged is due to FDA regulations that restrict how prescription drugs can be advertised and data privacy compliance laws that make ad targeting more difficult.

Which digital ad formats are growing the fastest?

Search remains crucial for healthcare and pharma advertisers. Healthcare and pharma search spend will grow 24.9% this year to $1.34 billion. This industry is also seeing increased spending on social through platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.

How much money will healthcare and pharma advertisers spend on mobile?

Mobile spend by US healthcare and pharma advertisers will increase 14.0% to $2.03 billion in 2019. However, total US mobile spend will increase by 22.3%. Healthcare and pharma advertisers continue to underindex on mobile as they navigate their digital transition.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report includes our annual breakdown of US healthcare and pharma industry digital ad spending. It includes a comprehensive overview of total digital ad spending, as well as estimates by channel, device and formats.

KEY STAT: The US healthcare and pharma industry will increase its digital ad spending by 20.1% to $3.62 billion in 2019.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Healthcare and Pharma Digital Ad Spending Outlook
  3. Digital Ad Spending by Device
  1. Digital Ad Spending by Format
  2. Key Takeaways
  3. eMarketer Interviews
  1. Read Next
  2. Sources
  3. Media Gallery

Interviewed for This Report

Joe Barbagallo
Jaguar Land Rover North America
Department Manager, Digital, Social and CRM
Interviewed April 10, 2019
Jonathan Barnard
Head of Forecasting
Interviewed April 3, 2019
Jim D’Antoni
Dish Media
Director, Ad Sales
Interviewed April 24, 2019
Mike Fisher
Vice President, Advanced TV, Video
Interviewed April 9, 2019
Richard Gagnon
Head of Havas Healthmedia
Interviewed April 8, 2019
Doug Grumet
AMP Agency
Senior Vice President, Media
Interviewed April 11, 2019
Cheryl Huckabay
The Richards Group
Media Group Head
Interviewed April 9, 2019
Sarah Kramer
Spark Foundry
Chief Client and Operating Officer
Interviewed April 8, 2019
Jon Morgenstern
Senior Vice President, Head of Investment
Interviewed April 2, 2019
Ali Plonchak
Managing Director, Digital Strategy and Integration
Interviewed April 2, 2019
Krish Sailam
Senior Vice President, Global Programmatic Solutions
Interviewed April 5, 2019
Sarah Scherer
Goodway Group
Product Marketing Manager
Interviewed April 8, 2019
Jon Schulz
Interviewed April 11, 2019
Mike Seiler
Director, Search and Shopper Marketing
Interviewed April 1, 2019
Jeremy Tate
Senior Vice President, General Manager
Interviewed April 3, 2019
Vanessa Vignon
Vice President, Media and Audience Management
Interviewed April 18, 2019
Matthew Waghorn
Vice President, Strategy
Interviewed April 12, 2019
April Weeks
Executive Vice President, Media Services and Operations
Interviewed April 8, 2019
Chris Wexler
Senior Vice President, Director, Media and Analytics
Interviewed April 3, 2019
Brian Wieser
Global President, Business Intelligence
Interviewed April 3, 2019
Sarah Wilson
Media Director
Interviewed April 3, 2019
Michael Zacharski
EMX Digital
Interviewed April 11, 2019


Ross Benes


Angela Kim
Senior Researcher
Oscar Orozco
Senior Forecasting Analyst
Victoria Petrock
Principal Analyst

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