In the world of radio advertising, any industry can find its audience. From traditional radio ad category verticals like retail to new categories like online sports betting, radio has significant reach. Recent data suggests the medium is a winner for pharmaceutical brands.

In this post, we’ll review the data and offer tips to capture more of these ad dollars.

AM/FM Radio Drives Results for Pharmaceutical Brands

According to new data, pharmaceutical is one of the fast-growing radio ad categories, with a spend 2.5 times greater in 2021 compared to 2018. The expenditure for radio ads was $126 million in 2021. If pharmaceutical companies want to reach people with audio ads, AM/FM radio is the clear winner, considering it represents 79% of all ad-supported time for the industry’s core audience of adults 35 to 64.

Further, there is a quantifiable impact on engagement when pharmaceutical brands use radio. They can see an incremental reach increase of 38%. How does radio do this? It helps these companies reach people who aren’t watching TV.

Radio Extends TV Ad Impact

Pharmaceutical brands place much of their ad dollars in TV. Because of the complexity of medications, this medium helps them tell stories and use real-life patients. The research supports this by examining several manufacturers, finding that TV + radio resulted in some impactful lifts across all demographics.

When budgets are split between TV and radio, the results deliver a greater brand share of voice. Consistent messaging that speaks to those who suffer from certain ailments improves recall. A specific study on digestive conditions found that recall was 41% higher for those suffering from it.

Exposure to the brand via radio also drove action. Sufferers were more likely to research online, visit the brand’s website and read online reviews. Radio offers an excellent supplement to TV ad spots at a lower price point. There are also opportunities for you to promote digital tactics to complement radio.

Adding CTV to the Ad Mix

Another channel where pharmaceutical brands are investing is CTV (connected TV). It provides them with big-screen impact with more targeting capabilities. A study looked at the responses from viewers after exposure to CTV ads. The findings included:

  • 65% of respondents said targeted ads improve their experience.
  • 30% felt the pharmaceutical ads provided useful information to someone in their household.

CTV ads should be relevant to the audience that sees them. The “positive” experiences also correlate to viewer acceptance. Those watching ad-supported streaming accept that ads come with the ability to consume content. We’ve found similar sentiment for audio ads on AM/FM radio. People can “skip” them by changing the channel, but most don’t have disdain for audio placements.

Now that you have the facts, how can you close more ad deals with pharmaceutical advertisers?

Tips for Winning More Pharmaceutical Brand Ad Deals

Pharmaceutical is not location centric, but brands may have specific areas and demographics they want to influence. There could be trends in health care and disease prevalence that determine this. Many factors will impact where these companies want to advertise. Here are some recommendations to get you started.

Focus on Specific Ailments

In the data discussed above, two ailments had the most traction:

  • Arthritis (An aging population sees the cases of the disease rising.)
  • Digestive problems (A more aware consumer base is increasing the diagnosis of gastrointestinal disease.)

This could be a starting point to begin your sales strategy. You’d want to come to these companies with data about your station’s demographics. Then, note how they align with increasing reach per the research. This is a quick but compelling argument on why they should be on radio.

Prospect Based on the Ads Running on Broadcast TV

If you want to see which pharmaceutical brands are buying local media, turn on the TV and pay attention when these ad categories appear. All you need to do is help them realize that adding radio to the mix is ideal for recall and driving action. Discuss why radio works well with TV and that the investment is much smaller.

Lead with an Integrated Plan

While pharmaceutical is a fast-growing radio ad category, it also wants to play in every channel. You have the data about CTV’s effect. If you have third-party digital in your portfolio, you can offer an integrated campaign they purchase from one media outlet. They’ll likely find this convenient and worth a look.

Make Pharmaceutical a Radio Ad Category to Consider

The pharmaceutical industry spends billions of dollars annually on advertising in the U.S., and data confirms that they’ll get a strong ROI when they use AM/FM radio as a channel. You’ve got the insights and approaches to make pharmaceutical a category you should add to your prospecting list.

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