Social Media Marketing Society posted on its closed Facebook group that Facebook is rolling out a new feature that will allow Facebook Group admins to anonymously remove a member’s post and give a reason why the post was removed. Pretty cool, huh!
Note that this is for Facebook GROUPS, not Facebook pages.
This could be a handy little tool for pharmaceutical or healthcare marketers who have regulatory guidelines to abide by. Of course, all Facebook groups should have engagement rules that are prominently visible to their members, but sometimes, people either don’t read them, don’t remember them or simply don’t care for them.
If somebody makes a first offence such as mentioning a product name and disease state in the same post (which is a big no-no in Canada since the post may be seen by consumers), the admin could remove the post and politely inform the member that the post was removed in order to follow regulatory guidelines, with a reminder and link to review the group’s policy. If the offence is more serious or comes from a repeat offender, depending on the group’s tolerance policy, the admin may decide to give this person a chance and a warning if they wish to remain part of the group. It goes without saying that this person would also receive the reminder and link to the group’s engagement policy.
I have checked my Facebook groups, but none of them have this feature yet. Oh Facebook – always slowly rolling out new features and teasing those who don’t have early access! Here’s a sneak peak at the pics that were posted by the Social Media Marketing Society.
Do you think this will be a handy tool for you and your organization?
This week, a Facebook ad from the Council for Continuing Pharmaceutical Education (CCPE) appeared in my timeline, with the intention of promoting their new CCPE website. I have been following the CCPE Facebook page and CCPE LinkedIn business page for years and they are a quiet bunch on social media, so I was really excited to see that they had sponsored a post on Facebook. My guess is that they simply targeted their 74 Facebook followers. They may be testing their social media advertising opportunities.
At the time of writing this post, they did not have anything posted on their LinkedIn page and I could not find them on any other social media network. Unfortunately, they do not promote their presence on social media on their website. This might be because of their low activity on social media. Personally, I would like to see them more active on social media because their service is valuable and I think a lot of young, Canadian pharmaceutical sales representatives and marketers can be found on various social sites. Their presence probably reflects that of the general Canadian population for their age group.
Here is a screenshot of the ad that the CCPE posted:
Be sure to check out their new website, whether it is for yourself or more junior people that you are mentoring.
Another day, another Facebook scandal! On September 28, Facebook announced that over 50 million Facebook accounts have been affected by a security issue. Just when Stat Counter showed Facebook as slightly increasing their page view shares at the end of August 2018, we have another dip to look forward to. Since the issue was announced so late in the month of September, I don’t suspect next months’ Stat Counter chart will look much different, but we’ll be sure to start checking again once the October and November charts become available.
Marketers in every single industry have been hearing about the importance of artificial intelligence (AI), including pharmaceutical marketers. The major difference between the pharmaceutical industry and the others is that pharma is highly regulated in what it can say and do. So, is PAAB review required for chatbots? The answer is, of course, yes!
Whether a communication from a pharmaceutical company comes from an employee or a chatbot, the regulatory requirements must be treated the same;
For chatbots, the initial submission must include a detailed description of the model determining which scripts are used in which contexts (such that the underlying logic and model assumptions can be reviewed). Again, if applicable, A detailed description of how machine learning will take place must also be included.
A few months ago, I spotted a Canadian pharmaceutical ad on Linked for the prescription product Ozempic®. You can see my blog post about it here. This was intriguing to me because it’s not every day that you see a prescription product promoted on LinkedIn, especially considering our Canadian regulations about direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising where you can only mention product name, quantity, and price. But although this is technically considered a DTC ad since consumers are not blocked from seeing it and as such must follow Canadian DTC regulations, it is actually an ad targeting healthcare professionals. Similar ads are currently ongoing on the Novo Nordisk Facebook page. Note that Novo Nordisk does not post on their Facebook page, therefore it is probably just used as an anchor for their Facebook ads.
I asked Jeff Aikman, the Ozempic® Marketing Manager, for some feedback on the success of the Ozempic® social media advertising campaign. Here is his response:
Despite advancements in the diabetes treatment landscape, many people with type 2 diabetes still struggle to reach their hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) or blood glucose targets. Generally, clinical guidelines recommend an A1C goal of 7 per cent for most people.1
Healthcare professionals play a major role in helping patients and their caregivers understand their diagnosis and available treatment options. Helping patients understand the importance of the care plan for diabetes, and engaging them in the decision-making process strengthens the partnership between healthcare professionals and people living with diabetes. It can also promote a person’s understanding of, and adherence to, the treatment plan.2
Like all new products introduced into a market, it is important to build top of mind awareness, name recognition, and intrigue. When advertising online, the ads need to have a destination to click through if the viewer is interested in learning more. In pharmaceutical advertising, the ads can only reference name, price, and quantity. Since these ads were targeted at HCPs using HCP language, the destination microsite must be gate protected and for HCPs only. We partnered with Media Platforms, an innovative healthcare advertising agency that specializes in reaching Healthcare Professionals and patients digitally, at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising. At the launch of Ozempic® in Canada, we provided all HCPS with an opportunity to learn more about our newest Glucagon-like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) Receptor Agonist, Ozempic®, through an innovative online program. The program was designed to reach HCPs treating patients living with diabetes who were also looking to help their patients achieve their A1C goals. The digital advertising space provides us with a great platform to share compliant advertisements with HCPs quickly and effectively giving them the option to click through and receive more information.
The overall success of this program is still to be determined as it is ongoing, but we have seen some significant engagement with the content and direct follow up from physicians looking for more information. We are monitoring overall impressions, click through rates from the ads, and entrances through the gated site. Inside, HCPs can learn more about the medication and ask a question directly to our Medical Information team. Advertising through digital channels is an excellent cost effective way to get your name out there, providing HCPs the option to click through and learn more about the Canadian indication.
Note: Novo Nordisk is not a client. I have not received any incentive to write this blog post.
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Case studies from Health Canada and PAAB on public non-compliant communication materials and campaigns.
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3) Digital marketing & communication masterclass
From AI and chatbots to deploying social media campaigns for disease awareness, turn digital innovation into an opportunity, and not a challenge.
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Collaboratively build several traditional and digital Advertising/Promotional Systems while tackling challenging issues provided from PAAB.
Those who would benefit from the PAAB workshop:
This training is designed for anyone working on healthcare advertising, marketing or communication materials that circulate in the Canadian market. The workshop is designed to support a full range of attendees, from beginners to experienced.
What is the Astellas C3 Prize; Changing Cancer Care challenge?
Astellas is holding its 3rd global contest called the C3 Prize; Changing Cancer Care. Their objective is to provide funding to somebody or to a group with an innovative non-treatment idea intended to improve the lives of cancer patients, caregivers, and their loved ones, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
The winners will receive grants and access to resources to make their life-changing ideas a reality.
This is such a fantastic idea! A win-win for patients and for the innovator! And yes, Astellas is gaining visibility as a results, and that’s perfectly fine. Many consumer products run similar programs (ie. think pink ribbon for breast cancer), and it’s OK for them to gain awareness as a result as well.
Astellas promotion of C3 Prize Challenge on Facebook:
Astellas is sponsoring Facebook ads to promote their C3 Prize challenge to a long list of countries. We can tell this now because Facebook recently changed the way that we can view ads of a particular Facebook page. You can now see which country the ad is being targeted to. The image below shows only a small fraction of the countries where the Astellas Facebook page is promoting the C3 Prize ads.
Here are the C3 Prize ads that one can find on the Astellas Facebook page (confirmed from July 10th to 15th). There is a mixture of still images and videos, and all have the button “Apply now”;
Unfortunately, these sponsored Facebook posts have not done as well as most of the other posts by Astellas from May 14 to July 14 2018, in terms of engagement (Source: Social Insider). This was probably expected though for the following reason. Astellas posts a lot of interesting information on their Facebook page. Their posts which are targeted to a larger, mainstream audience get more shares and more likes. It is difficult for posts, such as the C3 Prize challenge, which are targeted to a much narrower audience, to compete with the mainstream posts. With the C3 Prize challenge posts, Astellas is reaching out to a very narrow group of healthcare entrepreneurs who are looking to get their innovative cancer care idea off the ground. There are only a handful of those people around on Facebook.
Astellas promotion of C3 Prize Challenge on LinkedIn:
Despite the challenge in reaching entrepreneurs on Facebook, there is no shortage of business-minded, motivated entrepreneurs on LinkedIn. As such, it is not surprising to see that the Astellas C3 Prize challenge posts on Linked are resulting in substantial engagement.
Astellas promotion of C3 Prize Challenge on Twitter:
Several months ago, Twitter announced that we would be able to access a hub of some kind to find ads by particular accounts, but that has not happened yet. As such, I am unable to tell whether Astellas is sponsoring advertisements on Twitter or not. However, there are quite a few posts using the #C3Prize hashtag. Here are a couple of examples below.
Astellas #C3Prize Twitter chat statistics:
Astellas held a Twitter chat on July 12th, at 2pm E.S.T. This is a great way to create a live conversation between stakeholders to create more awareness and generate buzz around a particular hashtag.
Astellas cleverly created an image to attach to some of its first Twitter post during the Twitter chat itself, as it outlined the process and guidelines of the chat. They made certain that chat participants would know that their ideas were not going to be evaluated during the chat and that anybody seeking information about medical treatments should discuss with their physician.
Here are some data a little over 24 hours AFTER the Twitter chat:
As would be expected, there was a large increase in the usage of the #C3Prize hashtag during the Twitter chat, and the usage of the hashtag almost immediately went back to base level afterwards.
The majority of the hashtag users were male both before and after the Twitter chat.
Almost half of the tweets posted with the #C3Prize hashtag were initiated on desktop, with the rest on some kind of mobile app. This means that Astellas needs to prepare digital content that will be well viewed on both desktop and mobile devices.
Approximately 2/3 of the posts with the #C3Prize hashtag were retweets of other posts that contained the hashtag. Almost 1/3 of the posts were original posts. Original posts during a Twitter chat are key because these are the ones that will generate replies and retweets.
More than half of the tweets with the #C3Prize hashtag were positive in nature, and only around 10% were negative. The overall sentiment score is calculated based on positive ad negative data. One must be careful when looking at the negative data because it only takes one negative word in a tweet to label that tweet negative. For example, one tweet during the chat had the word “unhealthy”, but the content of the tweet was not negative at all. It was part of the discussion which was about cancer in less fortunate areas. Nonetheless, it is quite possible that the Keyhole algorithm just read that one word and then labeled it as a negative tweet as a result.
Here is some complimentary data about the Twitter chat from Socialert:
The majority of the tweets with the #C3Prize hashtag came from the US with a few countries, including Canada, showing up as secondary users.
The profile keywords give you an idea of the type of people who used the #C3Prize hashtag, as these are words that appear in the participants’ Twitter profile. Seeing the words “cancer”, “health”, “care” and “palliative” indicate that many of the participants describe themselves or their job with these words, therefore are vested in healthcare and may be influencers.
The top 3 hashtags used during and slightly after the Astellas #C3Prize Twitter chat were #C3Prize (naturally!!), #CancerCare and #Cancer.
The hashtag #CancerCare was also used by Astellas in their tweets about the C3 Prize. The #CancerCare hashtag appears to be more commonly used. Astellas must be pleased that their company name was one of the most prominent keywords in tweets containing the hashtag #CancerCare over the past 10 days (source Keyhole, July 4 to July 14 2018).
Based on this review, it seems as though the #C3Prize Twitter chat was fairly successful. Although the hashtag didn’t trend, one has to remember that this was not meant to be a mainstream Twitter chat. This was a Twitter chat targeted to a handful of people who are entrepreneurs in the healthcare field, and who are searching for funding to make their innovative idea come to fruition.
We can learn from Astellas about using social media to promote a challenge:
Your target audience for the challenge will determine your success on various social media platforms. Entrepreneurs can be found more easily on LinkedIn compared to Facebook and Twitter.
A Twitter chat which includes a few influential participants can generate a fair amount of noise during a peak period.
Setting up clear Twitter chat guidelines and promoting them ahead of the chat can reduce confusion.
Combining your customized hashtag with an associated, more commonly used hashtag to generate greater awareness to a larger audience.
Good luck to all the #C3Prize participants and best wishes to Astellas in choosing their winners amongst all the innovative ideas that they will certainly receive.
At the bottom of this post, you will find screenshots of 44 page Facebook covers from either global pharmaceutical organizations or pharma companies in Canada. The screenshots were taken in June 2018, and a few of them have already been updated as of early July 2018. The pharmaceutical Facebook covers are in alphabetical order of the pharma company’s name.
Pharmaceutical companies on Facebook
Pharma companies are increasingly communicating and sharing on social media, including Facebook. Although there are some Canadian pharmaceutical subsidiaries that manage their own social media profiles, the majority still rely on their global headquarters to do the communications.
Most of the pharmaceutical Facebook pages that I have seen focus either on non-branded corporate activities, careers within the organization, news about their research or events that are hosted by either themselves or a related medical association.
Pharmaceutical Facebook Page Covers
Pharmaceutical companies on Facebook have the opportunity to visually highlight their page’s objective with their Facebook cover image, slide show or video. They can also change their Facebook cover page image anytime.
The majority of the pharmaceutical Facebook covers that I found consist of still images, with a couple showcasing videos, a .gif file, or a slideshow. Their call-to-action buttons vary from ‘Learn more’, ‘Watch video’, ‘Contact us’, ‘Call us’, to ‘Sign up’.
Many of these pharma Facebook page covers depict happy people while others show happy or serious scientific researchers. They are well done and pleasing to the eye, but they really don’t differentiate themselves from one another.
Pharmaceutical Facebook Page Covers That Stand Out
A few of the covers are innovative and self-explanatory such as the Allergan eye image, the Abbvie ‘gives back’ images, and the Novo Nordisk‘s compilation of old photos including that of an old insulin bottle to celebrate their 95th year in diabetes research. The cover by Pfizer global is a video which captures one’s attention as it presents its employees as regular people with personal lives and then show them dedicated to a common goal as Pfizer colleagues.
Most of the pharma Facebook covers don’t have any messages on them, but a few highlight their specialty, making it absolutely clear what they are all about, in particular the Leo Pharma, Novartis Cancer and Novo Nordisk covers.
The 1st image of the Abbott Facebook page cover was taken in June 2018 whereas the 2nd image was taken in early July 2018. An image of the July 2018 Abbott Facebook page cover taken from a mobile device is also included to show you how the covers look differently depending on the platform that the visitor is using.
Below is what the Abbott Facebook page cover looks like on a mobile device. Notice that the image size on mobile is not in the same ratio as it is on desktop. You tend to lose a bit of the left side of the image on mobile, so whenever possible, give more weight to the right side of your image and leave a little space on the left so that you don’t lose part of your image or text as Abbott did on mobile.
This is an interesting situation. The Apotex Facebook page was created on June 16, 2015. Posts were published on this page until July 2, 2015. Usually, I would assume that the page was started by a person or group that wants to discuss Apotex or its brand. This happens all the time and it is usually by people who are quite passionate about their stance on the company or brand, either positive or negative. However, if you look at some of the posts on the Apotex Facebook page, they appear to come from either the corporation itself or a representing agency. Consumers do not typically write posts in this manner.
Obviously, the page has been abandoned. If Apotex did have anything to do with this page, they may want to consider making it invisible to the public or deleting it completely.
By including a clear and simple message on their Facebook cover page, Leo Pharma lets their visitors know exactly what their company is all about. As far as I can tell, this is well within Canadian direct-to-consumer advertising regulations as well since none of the posts that I reviewed include information about a specific product. Remember that in Canada, we can only promote product name, price and quantity to consumers. Combining a product name with an indication goes against the guidelines. The posts on Leo Pharma’s Facebook page focus on corporate activities and partnerships with investors. Well done, Leo Pharma!
The Pfizer Facebook page cover is worth watching. The message is clear that all of their employees are different, have their own unique personal lives, but when they go to work, they are all dedicated to one common goal. Their ads (targeted to the U.S. audience) support this message as well.
Here are the page view shares per key social media site for June 2018 for Canada, United States and global, comparing all platforms (mobile + desktop + tablet) vs. just mobile.
Social media page view shares, June 2018. Source: StatCounter
If you are more of the visual type, the following chart might be more helpful for you. Note that due to lack of space, I did not include all the labels in the chart below.
It appears to be safe to say that the drop in page view share for Facebook is levelling off in Canada. The drop in Facebook page view shares is still on a slight decline in the United States, but it appears as though it will level off very soon. As for global, it is still on a moderate decline. Note that the world as a whole did not experience the sharp decline that both Canada and the United States suffered right after the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Below, you can see the progression of social media page view shares for Canada from July 2017 to June 2018. The first chart consists of all platforms (desktop, mobile, tablets) whereas the second chart looks at only mobile data.
Despite the huge drop in Facebook page view share, it is still a giant compared to all other social networks. Now is not the time to stop considering Facebook as a potential medium for reaching your clients, especially if you are targeting consumers or patients. Healthcare physicians are humans, so yes, they are also hanging out on Facebook, but there might be more efficient options to reach this audience.
The growth of Pinterest page view share seems to be levelling off as well.
Instagram, Twitter and YouTube page view shares are all on the upswing, but since they are still relatively small players, especially when compared to Facebook and Pinterest, it is difficult to see their progress without reducing the range of the chart. The charts below look only at Instagram, Twitter and YouTube page view shares in Canada, from July 2017 to June 2018, on all platforms and then on mobile. Many of the clients that I speak to are surprised to see that Instagram is still a relatively small player based on this statistics, but keep in mind that page view share does not measure how often a person visits a site or how their qualitative opinion of the site. Instagram is a player to keep an eye on, especially if you are targeting young adults.
Below are the graphs showing the progression of social media page view shares for the United States from July 2017 to June 2018. The pattern is similar to that of the Canadian charts, except that the drop in Facebook page view shares does not seem to have stopped quite yet.
Below are the worldwide social media page view shares from July 2017 to June 2018, all platforms (1st chart) as well as only mobile (2nd chart).
Update June 27 2018, 12:23 pm: Pfizer Canada sent me an email to inform me that they have read my blog post and addressed the issue immediately. They have removed the ads from the EpiPen Canada Facebook page. I personally thank Pfizer Canada for taking my recommendation seriously and congratulate them for taking such speedy action.
One of my children needs to carry an EpiPen Junior all the time, so naturally, I follow the EpiPen Canada Facebook page. I have always been impressed with the quality of their posts .
Despite my personal interest in the brand, I am a marketer at heart and I like checking out the ads on certain Facebook pages. But this time, I came across an unusual situation.
Under the “Ads” tab of the EpiPen Canada Facebook page were ads for rheumatoid arthritis options and Pristiq, a prescription drug indicated for the symptomatic relief of major depressive disorder. For those who aren’t familiar with EpiPen, it is an epinephrine autoinjector for serious allergies. There is no obvious relation between the EpiPen Facebook page or the two ads.
Imagine the confusion that people who see these ads on their Facebook timeline when they see that the ads come from the EpiPen Canada Facebook page yet are completely unrelated.
With such a strong focus on transparency when it comes to advertising, it seems odd to see the EpiPen Canada Facebook page advertise for other brands which belong to its parent company, Pfizer.
Where should these ads appear on Facebook?
Pfizer Canada, the distributor of EpiPen in Canada, has an active Facebook page. It would have been more appropriate to run these advertisements from the Pfizer Canada Facebook page. At the time when I saw the ads on the EpiPen Canada Facebook page, the Pfizer Canada Facebook page did not have any ads listed.
Why would EpiPen promote Rheumatoid Arthritis options and Pristiq?
Rationale 1: Skirting regulatory guidelines?
Initially, I thought perhaps the company was trying to separate its ads from other related ads which may have been perceived as going against the direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertisement regulations by Health Canada. For example, in Canada, pharmaceutical DTC can ONLY refer to aproduct’s name, price and quantity. The moment you mention a disease as part of the ad, any mention of the product name must be removed. It’s one or the other, never both.
If a particular Facebook page were to advertise about a disease state in one ad, and at the same time advertise about the related product, that would probably get the company in trouble. But this was NOT the case, since Pfizer Canada had no ads listed at all. Phewfff!
Rationale 2: Human error?
Another rationale for this mix-and-match of ads on a Facebook page is that somebody probably just made a mistake, either by not realizing that the ads should have been on the Pfizer Canada Facebook page, or simply did not realize that they were placing the ads on the EpiPen Canada Facebook page
This would be particularly plausible if the agency handling the brands’ online and social advertising managed both the corporate social media as well as the social media for EpiPen. But frankly, it seems to me that this could inadvertently happen for one ad, but for two? Hmmm … probably not.
Rational 3: Corporate politics?
Pfizer is a very large company. Perhaps there was a lot of red tape to go through to get approval to place these ads under the overarching Pfizer Canada Facebook page so a decision was made to get the ads out quickly and to just go piggy-back off the EpiPen Facebook page. As marketers in any industry, we all need to be a bit creative sometimes.
Who knows why this happened. Perhaps I my guesses didn’t even come close. Whatever the reason, I honestly do not believe that any ill intentions were involved. Nonetheless, those ads should not remain under the EpiPen umbrella.
What should be done about these unrelated Facebook ads?
Although it is not the end of the world, having one brand advertise for a totally unrelated brand or disease state looks unprofessional. It may also be perceived as unethical because it lacks transparency and it could be confusing to patients who see the ads on their Facebook timeline.
Just my two cents, but Pfizer Canada may want to consider deleting the unrelated ads from the EpiPen Canada Facebook page and reinstating them under the Pfizer Canada Facebook page, or creating separate, new Facebook pages that are specific for the individual ads.
What other interesting Facebook advertising scenarios have you come across?