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.
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.
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).
Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook page view share of the all social media platforms took a nose dive both globally and in Canada. Pinterest was the clear winner of increased page view share (both globally and in Canada), but let’s keep in mind that page view share is just a percentage of the total. This does not mean that Pinterest took all the page views that Facebook lost. Pinterest may have gained page views, but I don’t have those figures. So this is like taking a look at the proportion of the piece of the pie, unfortunately without knowing how big, or small, the pie has become.
As you can see by the right side of the Facebook and Pinterest lines, both are leveling off. The biggest hit has taken place and the dust is settling, assuming no other major issue hits Facebook in the weeks or months to come.
Consumers are still largely on Facebook, so if you manage a consumer brand, it’s not time to drop off Facebook just yet. Sure, you probably have to do more advertising than before to get your posts and page noticed, but the reach on Facebook is paralleled by no other social platform as of yet.
We hear a lot about Instagram. It is growing and sure it is growing at a rapid rate, but it is still a small player when compared to the other major social networks. This is comparing quantity, page view shares. It does not take into effect quality of the and devotion of the users.
Although Mark Zuckerberg has been traveling globally to some pretty intense meetings as the target of a bombardment of questions regarding privacy, we still cannot feel too sad for him. Facebook shares are at their highest ever!
A couple of months ago, Mark Zuckerberg announced that major changes would be made to Facebook which would result in a substantial drop in amount of time spent on Facebook. The intent was to make Facebook more personal again, and less about the pages.
Then there was the whole Cambridge Analytica fiasco, which understandably turned off a lot of people from Facebook. Here is how Mark Zuckerberg responded about the Cambridge Analytica situation;
Angus Reid Institute (1) ran a survey with 1,256 Canadian Facebook users immediately after this story came out, and their results showed that;
27% would make no changes on how they use Facebook
41% would keep using Facebook but would check or change their privacy settings
23% would use Facebook less in the future
6% would suspend their account or take a break from Facebook
4% would delete their Facebook account
From these results, only a small percentage of current Canadian Facebook users were planning on actually leaving Facebook, even if just for a temporary period. But even the tiniest percentage of a massive base ends up being a very large number.
The question that this survey did not ask is what would substitute Facebook. When a brand loses market share, another brand often benefits as a result. The brand that swooped the share of page views in Canada was Pinterest! Careful how you interpret this! The results are given as a percentage, so this does not mean that Pinterest took all of the lost page views by Facebook and added them to their total. Not at all. Although Pinterest would have liked that, I’m sure! What this simply means is that Pinterest now has the lion share of page views, albeit from a smaller base now that the social media goliath Facebook has lost page views. The total number of page views of all social media sites combined has probably dropped substantially as a result of the lost page views from Facebook. But, now that Canadian social media users may have gained back a bit of time from when they left or reduced their usage of Facebook, this will allow them time to use other social sites instead.
Statcounter. Social Media Stats Canada. March 2017 to March 2018.
At its peak in December 2017, Facebook owned 80% of the social media page view share. As of March 2018, that has dropped to 52%! (2)
As for Pinterest, as of December 2017, it owned 13% of the social media page view share, whereas this increased to an astounding 30% in March 2018. (2)
It is quite unlikely that either social media platform could have predicted the circumstances that have led to such drastic changes. It certainly changes a lot for Facebook. They were facing their own problems before this. It might not be changing all that much for Pinterest because although they gained share of a smaller pie, they may or may not have gained that many more page views.
Where is Instagram in all of this? Well, if you look at the Statcounter mobile data, you will notice that Instagram has also increased in page view share, but minimally compared to Facebook. I would keep an eye on Instagram over the next few months to see their growth. This site is sure popular with all the younger mothers at my kids’ school!
Source (1): Angus Reid Institute. Un-liking Facebook: 3-in-4 Canadian users say data mining scandal will change how they use the platform. March 26, 2018.
The pharmaceutical industry has been slow to adopt social media marketing, so it is always exciting for me to find a little gem that is different from what has been typically done in pharma in the past. Here’s one that I found today that I wanted to share with you.
Teva Pharmaceutical, in association with ALS Association and Huntington’s Disease Society of America, is using a novel approach to launch a challenge to researchers worldwide to help them find a business solution. The TEVA Challenge aims to find Novel Therapeutic Targets for Disorders of the Central Nervous System.
Today, Teva used their social media channels on Facebook (2,225 followers), Twitter (4,337 followers) and LinkedIn to promote this challenge. See their posts from earlier today, March 27 2018, below;
Their following on Facebook and Twitter is rather small and it probably consists of a majority of consumers along with a pharmaceutical professionals within various roles, some of which might be research. However, the odds are good that they might reach their ideal candidate on LinkedIn. Not only is LinkedIn focused on professionals, but Teva has a large following on this network. With 106 ‘likes’ within 11 hours, the word is going to spread.
Social media has made it easier to reach and communicate with others around the world. There is no doubt that Teva Pharmaceutical is searching for a pin in a haystack, but if they are successful in finding the right person, it will have all been worth it, because that person just might give them the answer that they need. If they do not find the person, they have made some noise about themselves and their desire to do research and innovate. The latter is not what Teva is hoping for, but my point is that there are no negatives in the method for searching for the right person.
Whether or not they find their ideal target via social media, this is definitely a novel way of reaching out to find a potential partner to help them achieve their business objectives. Way to go Teva Pharmaceutical for opening up this dialogue with your networks.
For more details on the Teva challenge, go here. Good luck to all who apply.
Mark Zuckerberg says that he wants people to spend less time on Facebook so that the time spent on his social platform is truly focused on encouraging meaningful connections between people in order to promote well-being. Many people don’t seem to be reacting too well to this statement, accusing him of either being untruthful in his statements, making excuses to cover up already reducing activity on his site, or of meddling with their newsfeed, which they designed the way that they like.
I am undecided as to how I feel about his message of well being. Is it an honest message? If so, then I applaud his altruistic efforts. However, I would be curious to know how Facebook plans on measuring whether their users who have reduced their Facebook time have improved their quality of engagement with others.
Facebook recently posted findings from independent research and their own analysis which suggests that if one is less actively engaged in connecting with others on Facebook, that they tend to feel worse. By ‘engaged’ they are referring to liking, sharing, commenting on posts. The research in no way is encouraging more time to be spent on Facebook or social media for one’s well being, but rather actively engaging in the conversations within the media so that you experience meaningful interactions.
We’ve all been at a party where we sometimes feel less engaged with the other attendees, and at other times we have connected with the others that were there by chatting and communicating. Which made you feel better or worse? Is social media all that different?
Here is a short caption of the Facebook post. You will find the post in its entirety here.
What Do Academics Say? Is Social Media Good or Bad for Well-Being?
According to the research, it really comes down to how you use the technology. For example, on social media, you can passively scroll through posts, much like watching TV, or actively interact with friends — messaging and commenting on each other’s posts. Just like in person, interacting with people you care about can be beneficial, while simply watching others from the sidelines may make you feel worse.
Facebook provides a few examples on how meaningful interactions on social media may benefit one’s well being; connecting with friends and relatives that are long-distance to you, getting help in finding an organ donor with the help of Facebook groups, sharing health experiences with others in that live with a similar health condition and helping somebody who may feel suicidal.
Some are calling this Facebook blog post self-serving. I do not believe that it was meant to be a manipulative post to get you to spend more time on social media sites. Instead, I got the sense that the post was meant to provide some data that might assist some users to establish a more meaningful experience while using social media sites. In no way are they suggesting users to use the site more often or for longer periods. Instead, Facebook is suggesting that you might feel better about yourself if you connect with others while you’re using the site, just as you would if you were at a party.
Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Twitter will soon be making ads visible to anybody who wants to see them. Yes, anybody! Patients, healthcare providers, competitors and advertising regulatory bodies.
This new ad transparency on social media is a result of the Russian ads that were placed on social media during the last American election. Tisk tisk!
Up until now, you saw ads on social media that were targeted to you based on the advertisers’ filters when placing the ad. But very soon, you will be able to actively search and find ads by specific users with just a click of a button. This is both exciting and unnerving for advertisers in all industries, including the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.
What are the social networks doing to make advertising more transparent?
Facebook, Messenger and Instagram will be starting this process near the end of 2017 in Canada first and then will roll out to the United States by July 2018. There will be a “View Ads” button to click on a Page to view the ads that the Page is currently running. As such, all ads will need to be associated with a Page
Twitter will work a bit differently. There will be an Advertising Transparency Center that will become public in the coming weeks. From here, you will have access to the following information:
All ads that are currently running on Twitter
Amount of time that the ads have been running
Ads targeted to you, as well as personalized information on which ads you are eligible to receive based on targeting
Viewers of the ads on any of these platforms will be able to give immediate feedback and report ads.
So how will this impact social media advertisers within the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries?
Transparency means that people can see everything, so expect exactly that! Expect competitors to come snooping around more often to see what you are advertising. As you will probably use this as an opportunity to do more thorough competitive advertising reviews as well, right?
In the past, we could only estimate how much a competitor was advertising on social media. But now we will have access to all the details. If one realizes that competitors are way more active than what was previously thought, it is possible that we will see a surge in advertising by others, especially if their strategic objective is to target the users of a specific competitive brand. However, I don’t anticipate this to happen for the Canadian pharmaceutical industry because of the restrictions in direct-to-consumer advertising. In Canada, it will really still just be the market leaders who will benefit the most from these types of ads. But in the United States, it is a possibility.
Expect more feedback and possibly reporting of your ads by either consumers or competitors. Hopefully you will get positive feedback, but beware, because even your test ads will be visible now. In speaking with Ad Standards (the organization that reviews Canadian consumer advertising for prescription drugs, OTC, medical devices, natural health products and very soon vaccines as well), they do not expect any significant changes to the number or type of complaints that they usually receive either from consumers or competitors. Personally, I’m not so sure about that. Some competitors are fierce about trying to stop advertising by others, but we all know that that usually ends up biting them right back in the you-know-what. But we all know that some will absolutely be taking that chance anyways.
Speaking of test ads, we may find that advertisers test for shorter periods of time in order to limit the window of opportunity of competitors seeing their draft ads. We all know that we need to test our ads, but who wants to do that openly? We won’t have a choice, but I cannot imagine that many of us will be comfortable with that.
These are nothing more than guesses, so it will be interesting to review the impact a year from now to see which of these turned out to be correct and which did not.
Competitive review of social media ads:
Call me crazy, but I love finding healthcare-related ads and analyzing their creative and copy, and now I’ll be able to see a bit of their targeting features as well. Woohoo!!! I am looking forward to finding new pharmaceutical and healthcare ads on social media and sharing some of them with you so that you can share your thoughts on them. Below, you will find a few that I spotted during the past few weeks on Facebook. Enjoy!
If you would like a thorough social media advertising review for a particular therapeutic area or specific competitors, then please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Truth be told, it would be my absolute pleasure to be your eyes and ears on social media!