Welcome. Part of Propeller’s mission and promise is to be at the forefront of digital. We consistently strive to bring innovation and creativity to our healthcare partners and their customers.

It is in this spirit that we curate a quarterly experience, strategically selecting the latest, most important digital marketing trends and tech innovations—and assess the impact each of these has in healthcare, and why it’s important for you to know, now.

Together, let’s be experts and so on the Pulse!

Q4 2023

The Healthcare Industry Grows Up

T R E N D   # 1

AI In Social

Reimagining the platform experience

What is it?

As defined by ChatGPT:

AI is revolutionizing the advertising industry, becoming an essential component of social media.

AI integrations can help optimize creative within a social platform—changing backgrounds, faces, or even text to increase performance with a desired audience. Some platforms now offer digital avatars that can be used in content or advertising.

Platforms have been continuously improving their AI capabilities over the last year to provide advertisers with more sophisticated tools and insights.

What it means for healthcare

Healthcare marketers can now use AI to personalize their social ads for highly specific patient segments and HCP audiences in a whole new way.

AI in Social Ads

Meta’s generative AI (genAI) can generate different backgrounds for ads, expand images to fit different aspect ratios, and deploy text variations that improve ad performance within target audiences. Marketers who use AI in social can reach diverse patient groups who may respond better to different creative.


TikTok is experimenting with digital AI avatars, creating characters in content that can represent the engaged audience without the use of extraneous production or casting. This could enable the industry to talk specifically to people of color and other marginalized groups, providing a new level of health equity.

Video Backgrounds

YouTube is introducing several AI-powered tools for creators, including AI-generated photo and video backgrounds, video topic suggestions, and music search. “Dream Screen” creates AI-generated content for YouTube Shorts, with the ability to edit and remix using AI. Content creators, especially in healthcare, will have new ways of creating stories and even showing disease state education.

Spotlight on AI Chat Assistants for Social

The ease of ChatGPT is coming soon to Meta (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp), TikTok, and YouTube, enabling content creators to produce content by simply asking a chatbot. This promises to be a game changer in social media. Expect chatbots to be a prominent feature in these platforms in 2024.

Coming next:

Meta’s AI Chat Assistant was recently announced, and will allow users to interact with AI natively within Meta platforms—including with celebrities and characters—and to generate stickers and images to post.

YouTube Studio is offering an assistant to help content creators with video ideas and to see what is trending.

TikTok’s Creative Assistant will help brands and content creators collaborate with inspiration, feedback, script generation, and TikTok best practices.

T R E N D   # 2

AI for Creative & Strategy

Generative solutions to save time and boost output

What is it?

As defined by ChatGPT:

Generative AI has become an invaluable tool for creatives and planners, significantly enhancing their productivity and efficiency.

By leveraging generative AI, users can expedite their work processes, enabling them to generate ideas, concepts, and solutions more rapidly than ever before.

This technology has ushered in a new era of creative and strategic innovation, ultimately leading to more streamlined and effective workflows.

What it means for healthcare

Creative and strategy teams now have the capability to generate innovative ideas and explore creative concepts that were previously limited by time and resource constraints before the emergence of AI. This breakthrough opens up a world of possibilities for how the industry can communicate with patients and HCPs.


AI can distill insights to enable the creation of highly specific microsegments. This allows for the rapid generation of multiple ad versions that will be more relevant to target audiences. In healthcare, this can mean HCP segments can be created with small but significant differences coming from AI-driven insights.

Fast Concepts

Creative teams typically invest time and resources in bringing a concept from idea to execution. With the assistance of AI, ideas that might have otherwise been discarded can be brought to life and considered during the planning phase. AI tools can create the perfect stock image, composited to depict the HCP or patient persona. AI can ensure the stock patient matches the demographics of the disease state and the targeting strategy.


Adobe Firefly is a generative AI tool that empowers creators to bring their ideas to life using natural language. Agency design teams will often use tools like this in the concepting phase to find or alter the perfect stock image, which saves hours of time before an idea is sold. At this time, Adobe Firefly and other generative AI that creates images and text are being assessed for their use in client work and brand marketing.

Adobe Firefly can help creatives with:

Text-to-Image: Generate high-quality images from text descriptions

Text Effects: Create stylized text with a variety of effects, such as neon, glitch, and 3D

Generative Fill: Fill empty spaces in images with AI-generated content

Creative Filters: Apply AI-powered filters to images to change their style or mood

T R E N D   # 3

Influencer Marketing Matures

New tools for identifying relevant Digital Opinion Leaders

What is it?

As defined by ChatGPT:

Influencer marketing has become more sophisticated due to advancements in technology, changes in consumer behavior, and evolving industry standards.

Healthcare consumers have placed more trust and authority into influencers. Brands are looking to activate influencers and content creators to create branded content.

HCPs as Digital Opinion Leaders (DOLs) are becoming more specialized in specific niches or industries. Brands are seeking influencers who have deep expertise in a particular domain to tap into highly engaged and knowledgeable audiences.

Marketers now use advanced analytics to find the right influencers for their target audience. New tools also aid in precise measurement of influencer campaign impact, analyzing engagement, sentiment, and ROI for data-driven improvements.

What it means for healthcare

Influencer marketing can have a tremendous impact on how HCPs and patients consume health information. After years on the fringe, it is now embraced by prominent HCPs and celebrities.

Celebrity Influencers Embracing Pharma

Until recently, many pharma regulators felt uncomfortable with influencer marketing as a channel. As influencer marketing and content creation have evolved, celebrities are willing to create content for pharma brands—and regulators are starting to embrace the idea. Annovera, an annual birth control ring, teamed up with celebrity comedian Whitney Cummings for a campaign called “Un‑apologize” that aimed to empower women with a branded stand-up special. According to WARC, the partnership with Cummings increased prescriptions by 28%. Moving forward, there is a tremendous opportunity for pharma brands to work with influencers in a meaningful way to drive sales.

Combating Misinformation With Influencers

As social media grows as a channel and influences public perception, there has been a growing trend of health misinformation on platforms. The Association of Healthcare Social Media, founded in 2019, promotes responsible and effective use of social media by HCPs. Paid influencers for patients need to follow best practices to make their content as credible and engaging as possible to reach more people.

Finding the Perfect Digital Opinion Leader

An ideal HCP DOL is a thought leader, influential, and well connected, which can be difficult to quantify. Until recently, identifying DOLs has been a manual process of social media sleuthing, locating journal articles, and trying to guess at peer credibility. Tools like Monocl make DOL selection easier based on data that go beyond just the number of followers. This streamlined approach saves a significant amount of time in the selection process and helps identify more relevant, socially savvy voices.


The biggest challenge when choosing an HCP DOL is matching influence with experience. Monocl ExpertInsight provides unrestricted access to profiles of medical and scientific experts in all therapeutic areas, globally.

A key piece of information in each profile is the social media following of the HCP. Monocl makes it very easy to find an ideal DOL/key opinion leader with social reach, combining all the data within one platform using filters that narrow down the field of experts to a short list of strong candidates.

Each DOL profile includes:

E-mail address

Social media following


Clinical trials


Board experience



Medical claims breakdown

T R E N D   # 4

Authenticity is in Demand

Consumers want to see real and lived experiences

What is it?

As defined by ChatGPT:

More than ever for marketing, authenticity, transparency, and inclusion are crucial as healthcare consumers want to see themselves and their lived experiences reflected in the content they encounter.

Stories, reviews, and testimonials serve as authentic representations of a product or brand by harnessing the power of real experiences and personal narratives. Unlike traditional marketing messages, these are the unfiltered voices of consumers and users who have engaged with a product or brand.

Authenticity in the modern technological era can take many forms, but stories through voice and content have been making the biggest impact.

What it means for healthcare

Technology has helped drive authenticity in healthcare and enables a human approach, fostering honesty and transparency and empowering patients throughout their healthcare journeys.

Podcasting Real Patient Stories

Podcasting has leveled the playing field and provided unprecedented opportunities for patients to share their personal stories on the global stage, allowing them to share their authentic selves.

An excellent example is “Symptomatic,” a branded healthcare mystery podcast from Novartis & iHeartMedia featuring real patients discussing their challenging diagnosis. It reached the top 40 podcasts on Apple charts upon its release. The industry should explore new channels and opportunities to enable patients to share their stories.

Content Creation to Raise Empathy

My Last Lullaby is a national campaign spotlighting systemic health racism’s impact on Black women and girls. Inspired by Dr. Shalon Irving, a Black epidemiologist who tragically passed away from childbirth complications, the campaign features an AI‑compiled recording of Dr. Irving’s voice as a lullaby, which is authentic, emotional, and heart‑wrenching.

Spotlight on Digital Humans

Brands are increasingly employing digital avatars to craft guided experiences within their digital media. Digital humans offer brands the opportunity to create characters that not only mirror their audience in appearance and attitude but also transform how users connect with these digital entities.

This innovation is particularly crucial in healthcare, especially for patients. It enables the development of an authentic and human-like persona to engage patients at a level of health equity, providing answers to basic questions and presenting a comforting appearance and tone to put patients at ease.

Relevant partners:

UneeQ’s digital humans offer 24/7 conversations in 70+ languages, fostering therapeutic relationships with patients. They assist with medication adherence, mental health support, dietary coaching, post-op care, and more.

Soul Machines specializes in creating lifelike digital humans with emotionally intelligent capabilities. Their ability to engage with patients in a natural and empathetic manner makes them valuable in enhancing the overall healthcare experience.

AliveSim uses digital humans to learn how to have better patient conversations. HCPs play a “Sims”-style game with avatars and receive coaching.

T R E N D   # 5

Mixed Reality IS THE FUTURE OF AR & VR

Blending the digital and physical worlds—and the Apple Vision Pro era may begin in 2024

What is it?

As defined by ChatGPT:

MR seamlessly blends physical and digital realms, enabling real-time interaction between virtual elements and real-world information. MR combines the best of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), which individually faced limitations.

VR, represented by costly and isolating headsets like Oculus, remained niche due to style over substance. AR, once boosted by Pokémon Go, struggled to move beyond smartphones due to device challenges.

MR promises to realize the unmet potential of both VR and AR, providing an immersive, natural way to engage with digital content.

What it means for healthcare

MR technology is still in its early stages of development, with some existing headsets being manufactured by Meta and Windows. While an emerging technology, it has the potential to revolutionize the healthcare industry in a way AR and VR couldn’t.

Improving Mental Health

Mixed reality headsets may one day be used to diagnose and treat mental health conditions. With an array of cameras and sensors, these devices can be used to measure a person’s facial expressions to detect depression, anxiety, stress, or post-traumatic stress disorder. MR headsets can display images and sounds that might improve the wearer’s emotions. It could even eventually be used to provide data for medical discussion with doctors about mental health symptoms.

HCP Education

MR headsets will be the next conference education experience. This will enable HCPs to not only see virtual content such as MOA visualizations and product use details, but it will also allow them to engage with a booth experience alongside their peers without isolating VR goggles. This evolution of AR and VR into MR will make gamification, 3D models, and immersive learning experiences commonplace for HCPs at conferences and serve as an evolved way to educate and inform HCPs.

Info Needs During Surgery

With MR technology, some surgeons see a benefit of gathering data in real-time within the operating room to improve surgical procedures. MR headsets may provide surgeons with real-time access to preoperative imaging data such as CT scans and MRIs, navigation guidance of the body’s anatomy, and vital signs during surgery, promising to improve visualization, planning, and patient safety during surgeries.

Spotlight on Apple Vision Pro

Apple Vision Pro is an MR headset planned to be released in early 2024. This revolutionary headset promises to seamlessly blend the digital and physical worlds, enabling users to interact with virtual content in a natural and immersive manner.

What to expect:

Immersive experiences: Vision Pro transforms any environment into a personalized workspace or entertainment center.

Ultra high–resolution display: Over 23 million pixels that rival the clarity of the real world.

VisionOS: The world’s first spatial operating system, allowing users to interact with digital content using their eyes, hands, and voice.

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