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The impact of WebMD/Internet Brands acquisition of PulsePoint

On April 29, 2021, PulsePoint, a leading healthcare DSP providing machine learning and efficient programmatic automation solutions, announced it would be acquired by WebMD/Internet Brands.

Together, PulsePoint and WebMD will leverage combined strengths to extend their footprint and continue to innovate at a time where the value of health-specific data technologies have never been more important. The businesses are in the early stages of exploring new product enhancements as a result of the acquisition. In the immediate future, the products and services of WebMD and PulsePoint will not change, but they anticipate that the combined assets and focus on serving the healthcare marketplace will enable them to introduce many new solutions that they believe will reshape the future of healthcare management.


While there are no changes in the short term, Underscore believes this move will certainly secure cutting-edge programmatic strategies for media campaigns in the wake of the pending 2022 death of the cookie.

Underscore has proactively taken several steps to ensure our advertiser campaigns are unaffected with the upcoming 2022 changes. One strategy includes the continued alignment with, and testing of, innovative solutions PulsePoint has to offer within their tech stack within platform. Additional channel considerations as we approach 2022 include:

  • NPI Targeting
    • Client target lists are 1st party data and will be unimpacted by the change.
    • In-platform NPIs that extend HCP reach are the DSP’s 1st party opt-in data and will also be unimpacted by the change.
  • Contextual Targeting
    • On DTC campaigns, rather than cookie-based 3rd party data segments, we use keyword and condition category targeting to reach our targets in areas surrounded by relevant content. This has been a consistent staple of media targeting even before 3rd party cookies were created.
  • Digital Audio
    • Audio is the number one activity performed online and inventory growth is exploding, providing greater opportunities to shift budget to the channel.
    • Deployed through streaming apps, traditional radio apps and podcasts, digital audio is accessed via mobile devices using email or social media logins that are also not cookie-based.
  • Email Newsletter Display
    • Audience insights indicate that both HCP and DTC campaigns engage heavily with news content and the display inventory in email newsletters from 2,500 national publications, e.g. NY Times, USA Today and People.
    • These publications are triple opt-in and not subject to privacy laws nor are they cookie-based.

Because of PulsePoint’s ability to unify real-time digital, offline, and clinical data, they have continually curated a precise health ecosystem that improves and increases programmatic campaign targeting and reach over time.

Underscore continues to leverage the PulsePoint platform to hyper-target audiences through non-cookie-based tactics. The news of the platform’s acquisition certainly leads marketers to believe this will open the door to additional 1st party cookies across brands. PulsePoint CEO Sloan Gaon, states “With the support of WebMD, our growth in data innovation and product development will only further accelerate to introduce new solutions that we believe will reshape the future of healthcare engagement.”

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