Bridge gaps in social media ad targeting & create more meaningful physician experiences

The shift to social has arrived.  Over the past 2 years, the pandemic has led to a substantial rise in physician engagement on social media – with a +15% increase in unique logins and +28% increase in time spent on Sermo’s platform alone in 2021.  Following the traffic, ad spending on social is expected to rise to $225B by 2024, accounting for 26.5% of all advertising. *  

In today’s digital marketing world, personalized ads, content, and social media experiences have become the expectation for customers. But for marketers, trying to build audiences, boost conversions, and achieve specific actions will be much harder (but not impossible!) with new limitations, such as Google’s inevitable removal of third-party cookies, Meta’s restrictions on healthcare ad targeting and LinkedIn’s restrictions on branded ads.   

When looking to the future innovators of physician marketing—given these new limitations—the front runners will be providers that rely on zero- and first-party data using a unique user/device ID, rather than 3rd party cookies.  

Zero-party data is provided by customers intentionally and proactively with brands they trust. It is often collected using drop-downs, in which the user answers specific questions about themselves. It can include personal preferences, purchasing intentions, goals, background information, etc.  Many experts believe that zero-party data is more valuable, definitive, and trustworthy than other forms of cookie data because it comes straight from the source.  

First-party cookies are owned and operated by the websites they appear on. They allow sites to remember visitor preferences, log-in information, what’s in a shopping cart, language settings, and more personal details. These types of cookies are generally considered “good,” as they allow for customization and enhance the user experience without breaching security or privacy.  When a user visits Google, Facebook,, or any other trusted content, news or social media site—including Sermo—first-party cookies are leveraged by that website so the experience is seamless and customized for the user.   

Third-party cookies do not originate from the site a user is visiting, but rather from a third-party, such as an advertiser like DoubleClick or the Google Display Network. These third-party cookies follow the user around the web, collecting information about their browsing behavior, search histories, purchases, and more. This information is then leveraged to target consumers with specific ads that follow them from site to site.  This is an extremely personalized targeting and tracking approach, but it raises privacy concerns and doesn’t offer the consumer a sense of trust or security. In fact, customers often find the experience jarring and intrusive.

Because Sermo has never leveraged third-party cookies, their inevitable elimination has zero impact on our program targeting, tracking abilities, and user engagement. With massive amounts of first- and zero-party data, you can leverage Sermo to effectively reach and engage 1M+ physicians around the globe.  

Here are 3 ways to leverage Sermo’s first- and zero-party data to drive your HCP engagement goals:

1. Targeting

1M physician members come to Sermo’s social platform to share frontline information, learn from industry, and have honest conversation with their peers. Reach your ideal physician group by using one or a combination of: 

  • Geography: country, state, region, zip code 
  • Specialty: 95+ specialties available 
  • List match: reach high-priority physicians based on NPI 
  • Behavior targeting: reach physicians who are taking specific actions on Sermo, such as rating a drug or talking about a particular topic
  • Dynamic targeting: continually hone your targeting criteria to reach new physicians over the length of your campaign on a regular basis

2. Personalization

Personalization today is so much more than just adding a physician’s name into the creative. Sermo technology can provide deeper levels of personalization to sponsored content to enhance the experience and drive higher engagement, including: 

  • Dynamically displaying a different “from” based on the message (i.e. a local KOL)  
  • Customizing content and CTAs based on geography (i.e. matching a physician to their assigned pharma sales representative)
  • Pre-populated email responses for customized follow-up by the physician
  • Triggered messaging to serve your content to specific physicians who take certain actions during your campaign (e.g. watched your video)

3. Insights

Leveraging Sermo’s panel of 1.3M HCPs and 7M organic physician conversations, you can gain social listening and on-demand insights to inform strategic decisioning with speed and accuracy. Set your campaigns up for success by better understanding:  

  • Brand insights – awareness, preference & likelihood of treatment adoption
  • Message/Creative feedback
  • Media Usage Trends
  • Content Needs
  • Competitive Intelligence
  • Device preferences, and so much more

With a global platform that was built by physicians, for physicians—sponsors can feel confident that their messages are reaching their target, verified audience of physicians—at the exact right moment and with the right message.

Let’s put our platform to work driving meaningful physician engagement for your brand!

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*Source: Zenith Media’s Advertising Expenditure Forecasts report, 2021