By Courtney Shea & Victoria DellaVecchia
Media mix trends are beneficial in that they can guide an advertiser in budget allocation, whether annually or on a campaign-by-campaign basis. We looked at the healthcare industry, which is very active in marketing. In Pennsylvania alone, there are several health systems that have merged with or acquired other hospitals, practices, and clinics to grow their footprint across the state and beyond. For the three DMAs in eastern Pennsylvania – Wilkes Barre/Scranton, Harrisburg/Lancaster/Lebanon/York, and Philadelphia – we compared overall media spends for healthcare advertisers within those markets to gauge the media mix climate. Here’s what we learned.
Wilkes Barre/Scranton (WBS)
Overall healthcare advertising in the WBS market increased by 7.9% from 2015 to 2016. In 2017, there was a much larger increase of 159%. Top mediums in this market include television, newspaper and outdoor with a small allocation to display. Often, healthcare services target an older demographic, making newspaper a viable option for most media plans. A new health system entered the market in 2016, which accounted for the increase in television spending that year. Spends in TV tripled in 2017 for this same health system, alongside the arrival of Lehigh county-based health system to Wilkes Barre. Out-of-home was one of the highest spend mediums in 2015, despite dropping off by 68% in 2016. There was a slight increase in 2017, but not enough to get back to the spend 2015 level. Newspaper saw a 36% increase from 2015 to 2016 and then a drastic decline by 80% in 2017. Display decreased 40% every year. The media mix trend analysis shows that if wants to make a splash in the WBS market, television and outdoor are key. If budget allows, newspaper and display should be added.
Overall spends in the HLLY market are twice those in the WBS market, and there are double the number of active healthcare advertisers in this market. Television and outdoor are the mediums that have the top share of overall advertising expenditures. Newspaper and display kept a consistent presence in 2015 and 2016 but in 2017, a small piece of that pie was taken by radio. Two new advertisers to the market ran radio schedules announcing their entrance into the HLLY market.
If your client wants to be competitive in HLLY, our recommendation holds with that for WBS: Television and outdoor are key and if budget allows, newspaper and display should be added.
Overall spends in the Philadelphia market are 15x greater than in HLLY and 40x greater than WBS. There were 32 active healthcare advertisers in the Philadelphia market during the reporting timeframe. In addition to the number of advertisers, the cost of media is significantly higher in this market as well. Overall spend in this market for healthcare advertisers declined by 5.5% from 2015 to 2016 and 11% from 2016 to 2017. Highest spends are allocated to television, newspaper, radio, and outdoor. Just under 1% of the newspaper spend is associated with Hispanic newspapers, so it’s important to consider bilingual publications if print makes it into the media mix. If the advertiser has video available, the use of streaming services as well as online video should be considered.
Advertising in the Philadelphia market is very competitive. A wide media mix is recommended in this market to obtain the highest possible share of voice. Outdoor and television are a must-buy. Radio and newspaper should also be strongly recommended if budget allows.