Why Investing in Audited and Certified Media Makes Sense

Audited and certified platforms benefit marketers especially given the challenges with transparency that exist in the marketplace. The certification process established by the Point of Care Marketing Association increases credibility among those who work in Point of Care.

Now more than ever, companies in all industries need to maximize their investments to ensure each advertising dollar is spent most effectively. In a recent whitepaper on the state of the Point of Care (POC) industry, ZS concluded that “POC advertising has enjoyed continued growth even amid a global pandemic indicating the strength of the channel as a promotional vehicle and a critical media tactic for reaching patients and HCPs.” One of the drivers for growth is accountability. Utilizing media channels with proven performance, backed by third-party audits and certifications, has increased confidence at the point of care, contributing to its growth.

One of our goals at the Point of Care Marketing Association (POCMA) is to establish verification and validation guidelines to build trust among all who utilize and purchase media at the point of care. As part of this duty, POCMA also provides annual certification seals for POC media providers that meet these guidelines for their individual media tactics as verified by one of POCMA’s approved third-party auditors. This rigorous process helps buyers identify which product lines have met the standards, providing greater confidence in their ability to deliver each campaign to their target audience.

It’s been nearly two years since we at POCMA issued our first certification seal, and since then we’ve certified 38 product lines across 11 POC media companies. Earning a certification seal for a product line provides transparency and confidence in the POC channel. As a result, many media buyers have changed their perspective on the POC channel.

“Benchmarks and standards are important to us. The fact that POCMA jumped in and created guidelines where there were none, gives us greater confidence in the channels we’re investing in.” – Shannon Mitchell, Merck

As the industry evolves and new innovative channels emerge, POCMA is committed to keeping our Verification and Validation guidance up to date, ensuring all POC channels are represented. In addition, we just published an infographic about our Verification & Validation process. This quick reference tool explains the standards and procedures required for becoming certified in an easily digestible format.

“As a Member of POCMA, PHM proudly serves on the Verification & Validation committee as we strive to provide the best Point of Care service to our clients. The new Verification & Validation infographic is a resource for anyone wanting to learn more about POCMA and the certification process. This easily shareable infographic will be a valuable resource for all Point of Care team members.” – Alex Barrett, PHM

Campaign audits inform future marketing decisions

The audits performed by POCMA’s approved third-party auditors verify that point of care campaigns achieved their requirements, which are independently negotiated between the media buyer and POC media partner. Verified campaign data helps buyers understand how their buys were delivered to inform future marketing decisions.

“The introduction of independent third-party auditing represents a significant evolution to the industry, and gives marketers and agencies greater confidence that their investment is deployed and delivered as intended. So much preparation and analysis go into the targeting, and accurate delivery gives marketers the proper ability to evaluate strategic decisions, prove out hypotheses or make critical optimizations. The result is stronger partnership and trust, which leads to sustained relationships.” – Benjamin Assor, EVP Media Strategy & Innovation at SOLVE(D), An IPG Health Company

Audits provide stability buyers can rely upon to guarantee they are getting accurate campaign results and data, and that their investment is not wasted. Selecting POC companies that have audited and certified media also saves buyers valuable time and resources by making it easy to identify trusted partners that are committed to quality and transparency.

“Campaign verification is a valuable aspect for evaluating a campaign renewal. It instills a level of confidence that campaigns are delivering as planned that is critical when recommending a program to clients. The POC buying model is complex and campaign auditing offers a simplified lens to assess our programs.” – Julianna Haase, Rapport

As George Bartman, Vice President of Sales for the Alliance for Audited Media, stated in a recent article, “An independent, third-party audit brings a higher level of transparency to conversations between advertisers and point of care media providers.”

 Reallocate your media mix where it counts

The US healthcare and pharma industry allocates a considerable amount of their investment to digital advertising:

  • In July 2022, eMarketer reported that digital ad spending in the US healthcare and pharma industry will reach $15.84 billion in 2022. Although growth in digital budgets is slowing, they estimate spending will reach $20 billion by 2024.
  • The 2022 MM+M/Swoop Healthcare Marketers Survey reported that paid digital media accounts for 12% of the respondents’ marketing budgets.

The level of spend and percent of the marketing mix going to digital media is one that should be closely considered, especially given the prevalence of advertising fraud. According to a recent post from Juniper Research, “Advertisers must face the reality that as larger proportions of advertising budgets are allocated online, the amount lost to fraudulent online activity will also increase.” The post mentioned that the expected loss due to fraudulent activity in the US is expected to surpass $23 billion in 2022.

Independent audits and the POCMA certification process are one of the many unique benefits of POC media compared to other media types. When citing the value of using verified or audited data, BPA Worldwide notes:

  • Advertisers can better target and focus on audience “quality” instead of simply “more is better.”
  • Ads in audited media are more valuable since advertisers know what they are buying, and the media owner can prove the audience being delivered.
  • Media owners who can demonstrate value through a measured, quantifiable audience provide advertisers with assurance for the media buy.
  • Advertisers can move from a media buy based solely on price to one based on effectiveness and proven ROI.

As stated in an article in the May 2022 issue of Martech.org, “Advertising fraud is a widely known, widely ignored and very expensive fact.” To avoid being a victim of digital fraud, it is wise to spend on media backed by audits and certification. Carrying the POCMA certification distinguishes media providers in a crowded marketplace and increases confidence that their ad investment is spent effectively.

“Knowing there are checks and balances in the POC space gives my team the confidence to recommend in-office tactics that truly drive business results for our clients. The POC channel provides the primary point of interaction between the HCP and patient and it’s important to align with trusted partners who have audited and certified media solutions.” – Katie McCarthy, US Managing Director, Initiative

For 2023, explore media solutions that deliver results and reduce the risk of wasted ad spend on unaudited and uncertified channels. Choosing audited and certified media provides assurance, confidence, proof and trust – all desirable benefits for marketers and media providers.  Learn more about POCMA’s certification process on our website or by contacting us.

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    The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, stroke.org, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

    We are excited to collaborate with the POCMA and accelerate Point of Care education, marketing, communications and innovation to provide patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals with credible, equitable health solutions so everyone, everywhere, can live longer, healthier lives.

    Kelly Cunha Pokorny

    National Director, Brand Marketing