I think back just five years ago to a time when almost every healthcare client needed to be convinced that their website should be built responsively. We thought the argument was a no-brainer, irrespective of device, the website should perform accordingly, rendering pages suitable for viewing. Desktop, laptop, tablet or phone, it didn’t matter, the website experience would always be good. The more mobile devices proliferated, the easier the argument became. Fast forward to today and responsive design is assumed. But we shouldn’t get too comfortable, as I believe things are about to change again, including healthcare mobile marketing.

Media Lives at the Edge of Innovation

When you think about the cost of producing a blockbuster movie, or award-winning series, finding every possible eyeball willing to pay to view is paramount. We can all agree that the days of the big screen experience is giving way to consumers who want to view their way, wherever they are, on what little time they have and still be entertained. The industry needs to adapt in order to thrive and it knows it.

Enter Quibi

Quibi, a contraction for Quick Bites, is a new media start-up developing a platform to deliver custom produced video entertainment consumed exclusively on your smartphone. The rules for production are simple, smartphone is the medium, and feature films will be doled out in 8-minute ‘bites’ – the typical span between commercials.

Quibi is led by the power duo of Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman – no strangers to media and technology. Katzenberg likens Quibi’s attempt to disrupt with short form video to the advent of HBO which went on to disrupt the traditional TV viewing marketplace. Of course, anyone can watch movies on their phones today, but that content was produced for big screen or home screen viewing and doesn’t always translate well on a phone. And the run time is anywhere from 30 to 120 minutes, far exceeding the typical 8-minute max viewing bursts of smartphone users. That’s where Quibi plans to disrupt in delivering its purpose-built smartphone experience.

Smartphone Becomes the Preferred Medium of Choice

If you haven’t heard of Quibi, it’s worth looking into. There’s still a lot to work out before they launch in 2020, but one thing is clear, the smart phone is THE medium of choice globally today.

One doesn’t have to look any further than Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2019 for proof.

Some really brief highlights from the report:

  1. Daily hours spent (3.6) on mobile devices (smartphone) exceeds all other devices combined and represents a twelve-fold increase over the past 10 years.
  2. As of 2019, mobile viewing exceeded television viewing in the US for the first time.
  3. Across all online platforms, YouTube and Instagram have shown the most rapid growth by far. 23% and 46% respectively over the past 18 months, as opposed to scant, none or negative growth for all others.

Bottomline, Smartphone is the future and short videos are the preferred medium.

What Mobile Use Means for Marketing

How Marketing tells its story is shifting rapidly. The lion’s share of how marketers explain their brand is through the printed word. Whether it be on the pages of your website, the stories about you in the media, or the advertising aimed at high-value audiences, it’s primarily been words and pictures. Slowly at first and now picking up speed, video is becoming the medium to keep an eye on.

In the beginning, our primitive ancestors relayed knowledge through stories and role plays that were passed down. During the dawn of civilization, we created the written word – a code to retain and share knowledge that persists to this day. We’ve had movies for over a hundred years now, but they didn’t always travel well. That is until the smartphone. Now we have the opportunity to tell stories through video, anywhere we are, anytime we want. We don’t need the written word. We’ve come full circle. Why is this important? Because depending on the study you read, humans absorb images up to 50,000 times faster than the written word. And we’re always looking for a hack to save us time, right?

So, what does all of this mean for marketers? Discerning which forms of media will be consumed on the go versus stationary will become increasingly important, along with the ability to serve up viewing experiences specific to each viewers preference. At least for now. Who knows, it might be all video in fifty years.

What Mobile Use Means for Websites

There’s no question that the trends we first see in consumer and media almost always become more broadly used in other markets. We’ve become increasingly more mobile in our personal lives as well as our business lives, and we expect to be continuously connected to information in either role.

For a time, there was a debate as to whether tablets or phones would win out for viewing time. The debate is over, tablets are primarily seen as a home device, smartphones on the other hand go anywhere. Smartphones are used more frequently, but for shorter periods of time. But it’s the generational differences that inform the future. Millennials are more interested in smartphones while older generations are more inclined to use tablets. They’re also more interested in videos than the written word, hence YouTube and Instagram’s recent success.

A range of data sources also informs us that mobile-only internet access is on the rise, desktop/laptop-only is in decline and dual use is holding steady. We address this through responsive design which allows us to serve up web page experiences well matched to the device. But video is a different animal. Video doesn’t adjust, it just looks smaller or larger depending on the device. That’s where the whole Quibi idea comes into play. To provide the best experience, the video has to be specifically produced for the intended viewing device. Larger screen viewing can support wide angle shots and more going on. With the small screen, dispersed scenes don’t work as well as close ups. That’s where media developers are beginning to focus their attention. It will be interesting to watch.

What Mobile Use Means for Healthcare Marketing

It’s more important than ever to make the patient the focal point in your healthcare marketing. What better way to tell the story and infuse the emotion than with video? We know from our audience work that when a patient is first diagnosed with a serious condition, they will spend endless hours online consuming everything they can to educate themselves. Sometimes for 24 hours straight. They see the bad, but they’re looking for the hope. And there’s a good chance they’re doing this on their phone. Patient testimonial videos produced for small screen viewing are an excellent vehicle to share a patient’s journey, to show hope and to educate them on how you might possibly fit into their future.

Another interesting application is educating healthcare professionals about your brand or product. The pharmaceutical and devices markets still employ legions of representatives trying to meet with physicians in person, armed with iPads hoping to run a demo or video. Called detailing, it’s getting harder and harder for doctors to give these reps the time of day. Yet, these same doctors all walk around with their phones. What if the healthcare industry detailed through engaging short format videos produced for smartphone use. They’d be able to tell who viewed, for how long and how many times as well as facilitate follow-ups for questions right from the phone with this mobile marketing method.

With respect to healthcare websites, your home page has to tell the 20% of brand story that drives the 80% of engagement. If you’re a biopharmaceutical organization, it means getting the pipeline right out front and showing well on a phone. A site that automates the movement, so people don’t have to stumble around trying to activate something their fingers are too big for. With video available right up front so a viewer can get the story in 60 seconds. Once you have engagement, they’ll spend more time hunting around the site later, and possibly on a larger screen.

How We Can Help with Healthcare Mobile Marketing

We’ve been watching this change coming at us for over ten years now. There’s not a day that goes by that we are not thinking about mobile marketing for healthcare, adapting to it and deploying best practices and strategies for our healthcare clients. If this all fascinates you as much as it does us, give us a call — we would be happy to share our healthcare mobile marketing ideas with you.

Contact us!