The Role of Streaming Audio Marketing in Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy

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“Be a COVID vaccine guinea pig? No thanks.” 

“I don’t want the vaccine jeopardizing my fertility.” 

“I already had COVID.”

“Those COVID vaccine trials didn’t include people who look like me.”

“I’m definitely not letting the government use the vaccine to put a tracking chip in me” 

Millions of people across the country have high levels of vaccine mistrust and hesitancy. What does this mean for healthcare marketers? According to an NPR/Ipsos survey, 85% of Americans trust their doctors - an impressive majority stat during a politically divisive time. 

$50 million-plus of government-funded media encouraging COVID vaccination is valuable, but so is hearing from a healthcare provider directly. Ultimately, whether or not someone gets the COVID vaccine is a personal choice, and each person’s path towards a decision looks different. Healthcare holds the privilege and power to educate and influence that 85% of trusting Americans along their vaccination journeys. Another way of putting it? Healthcare providers have the opportunity to be the local Doctor Fauci - and who doesn’t want that street cred? 


Personalized, Data-Driven Outreach is Essential


Given that healthcare is inherently personal, healthcare marketing should be no different. The messaging served to a Black millennial mom about the COVID vaccine, should be distinct from the one served to a 55-year-old White male with heart disease. Marketers who take a customized and empathic approach to COVID vaccine advertising create a value prop for their healthcare brand.  

COVID vaccine hesitancy is so nuanced, that marketers need data-driven, streaming platforms like Pandora to reach and resonate with the communities they serve. Long gone are the days of a one-size-fits-all healthcare campaign. 

Americans are spending a lot more time streaming audio these days. Remote working has placed a newfound focus on one’s immediate surroundings, and streaming digital audio has risen 16.4% year-over-year. From podcasts in the morning to music in the afternoon, digital audio content is with people all day long, and Americans are investing in more audio devices. According to Nielsen, one in three U.S. households now have smart speakers, and 64% of people are listening to streaming audio on smartphones every week. 

Considering digital audio’s widespread accessibility, combined with pandemic screen fatigue, it’s no surprise that an audio-streaming service like Pandora has been a go-to medium for healthcare marketers throughout the pandemic. A healthcare brand’s ability to connect with consumers where they are depends on a media partner’s ability to deliver ads on the most relevant consumer devices. Pandora is integrated into thousands of devices and provides access to unique, first-party listener data, which for obvious reasons, is critically important for healthcare marketers.   

 

Ad Environment Matters, Now More Than Ever

Above and beyond the benefits of ubiquitous device integration, proprietary audience segments, and creative insights and flexibility, the sheer act of speaking directly into a consumer’s ears can create a sense of trust and intimacy that’s very different from ad content created for a TV screen or display banner. Ad environment always matters, and that’s especially true for healthcare marketers. 

Music in particular has been proven to have a positive effect on health in innumerable ways, making it a natural environment for COVID vaccine messaging. The largest COVID vaccination hub in San Francisco was praised by the public for creating a vaccine playlist. This music soundtrack—initially intended to energize the vaccination staff—quickly morphed into a playlist shared across the center’s PA system, sparking many visitors to tweet about the song that played when they got vaccinated.   

After a year of skipped doctors’ appointments, screenings, and avoidance of medical environments, 2021 is definitely in need of a healing soundtrack. Direct-to-consumer messaging highlighting steps taken to enhance the patient experience and ensure safety remains crucial, especially as patients are evaluating a return-to-care. 

A personalized, data-driven COVID vaccine campaign, with messaging that mirrors the specific concerns of each consumer group, is the most effective way to promote trust in vaccines and encourage both patient and public health and safety as people re-enter the continuum of care. 

 

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