Healthcare Advertising’s Newest Model

I’ve written a lot about contextual advertising, mainly because it works. Performance-wise, it can give search a run for its money. Unlike search, the inventory may not be as constrained. And because there are so many different ways to deliver contextual ads, new creative solutions seem to be cropping up all the time.

Such is the case with a small company called HealthiNation, an independent producer of health videos with an advertising model modeled after television video on-demand. Company founder and CEO Raj Amin recognized the opportunity while working in the cable industry producing interactive videos for companies.

After conducting research to identify a category the mass majority was researching online, he launched HealthiNation in April 2005. I caught up with Amin to describe how HealthiNation works.

Hollis Thomases: Why the health category? What was the opportunity you saw here?

Raj Amin: Our research showed consumer interest in high-quality, visual, independent health-related information. This interest could obviously be met by video, and as producers, we can create whatever content we feel meets the consumers needs. Since we saw on-demand taking off on television, our idea was to mimic the same idea by creating video an online user would demand (though our videos can also be similarly viewed on cable TV). Instead of charging the consumer to view the video, however, we would embed advertisements within it.

HT: How have you gone about producing your videos? What guides that process?

RA: Basically, we’ve divided our content into three themes: information delivery, lifestyle, and “edutainment.” Informational videos focus on medical condition-specific content — they’re very factual. Lifestyle videos help people understand how to live their lives healthier or when diagnosed with certain conditions. Our edutainment videos, like our Girl Talk series, are created to have wider audience appeal and hook people in. It’s a bit like why people watch shows like “The Biggest Loser.”

HT: Where would consumers go to view your videos?

RA: We have distribution relationships with over 50 premium publishers like USNews.com. Our publisher partners can put our video content on their sites however they choose. The publishers can then also use this content as a way to attract niche advertisers.

HT: What’s HealthiNation’s revenue model?

RA: We offer three primary ad opportunities:

  1. Standard display banners that run underneath the video window — an advertiser gets a fixed-placement banner for the duration of the video run.

  2. On-demand advertiser video content built into the video window with a “please watch this brief message from our advertiser” request.
  3. Running the advertiser’s video asset automatically after our video, with the option for the consumer to abandon the session at any time.

HealthiNation Ads

We charge one of three ways: cost per engagement, cost per exposed brand minute, or cost per unique viewers, with the latter being the most popular with agencies.

HT: What should the media planner be aware of with your opportunities?

RA: There’s no limitation to reach in our on-demand model. We can take on small or large-sized campaigns. Because of our cable TV reach (24 million homes), we can offer multiple platforms for the ad message. In this instance, the only limitation is what creative assets the advertiser has.

If an existing partner publisher doesn’t suit an advertiser, we can go after an expanded market by buying ads on other Web sites or through ad networks. In this instance, we become the advertiser, driving traffic to our own video ecosystem, HealthiNation.com, where the user can view the ad-sponsored video and more.

We want to collaborate with the media planner to focus on solving their advertiser’s issues. Bring us the problem so we can figure out how to work on it together. [Hollis notes: This might be more important than ever before with the new FDA ad compliance warnings that were just handed down.]

HT: What kind of metrics can you provide?

RA: Many:

  • Total videos viewed.

  • Time spent (exposed brand minutes).
  • Completion rates (how many viewers watched an entire video).
  • Unique viewers.
  • Average number of videos viewed per user (most users watch two to four videos per session).

The effect of how well we’re matching the right content with the right consumer is indicated by our average completion rate, which is 80 percent!

HT: What’s been your biggest struggle making in-roads with media planners?

RA: Video is still new for them. In the past year, though, the medium has finally arrived but the education curve for agencies and getting them to understand engagement value is still high. The cost to create and maintain a video ecosystem of this kind is also high.

HT: I can only imagine, but I think now, if ever, your time has come. Thank you.

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