One industry you may have expected to see more advertising from during a pandemic is healthcare. One of the most talked about and trusted people in America is Dr. Anthony Fauci, the news covers pharmaceutical companies producing the vaccines closer than politics, and surgical masks were the Ferbie of 2020; and yet, we saw only minimal shifts in healthcare advertising over the past year.
Healthcare advertising was steady through the pandemic, though because of lifting restrictions and three highly effective vaccines, we are starting to see an uptick from certain subcategories. For example throughout 2021, there were an average of 9,300 fitness ads per week; in 2021, however, we’ve seen an average of 21,500 ads per week. Obviously, some of this is due to new years resolutions and the seasonal bump we see in fitness advertising every year, but we are seeing more ads than usual and potential signs that the bump may last longer as more and more people are vaccinated and more and more restrictions are lifted – especially given that many people are looking to lose the weight they’ve put on in quarantine.
We are seeing similar trends from vision and dental advertisers, places that have seen a huge downturn in annual checkups and the like. That uptick also returns vision and dental to the top health subcategory we track; it had lost the top spot in 2020 to medical equipment advertisers. We tracked over 1.5 million ad occurrences from medical equipment advertisers in 2020. One of the biggest jumps from 2020 to 2021 has been among reproductive health advertisers who during the whole of 2020 aired 45,000 ads and have already aired about half of that in the first three months of 2021.
So far this month, diabetes medication ads have topped the health charts, representing three of the top five healthcare ads. The biggest fitness ad was by Planet Fitness and LensCrafters beat out Eyemart express for top vision ad by over 2,000 airings. Overall, the top advertiser in the month of March was Trulicity with 34,000 ad occurrences. We’ll continue to monitor this, but expect health advertising to revert to the mean once life is back to some semblance of normal.