Pin to Win: Using Pinterest for Health Care Marketing


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While incredibly effective as a tool in the consumer industry, Pinterest is still a somewhat underused social platform for engaging audiences in the health care sphere. Two years ago, to complement our women’s health marketing campaign, we launched a Pinterest strategy focused around all aspects of women’s health. Since that time Pinterest has become the third largest referral source to our website traffic. We would like to present a case study highlighting our success.

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  • If you’ve come to this presentation, we’re gonna’ guess you want to learn more about our objectives. But first, a quick intro:
  • Kelley Whalen is an effervescent marketing manager who works with the Cardiovascular and Women’s & Children’s Service Lines. Prior to joining the University of Utah Health Care team in 2013, she established her career in health care marketing at a physician-owned practice in Ogden where she coordinated community engagement, advertising and graphic design. Kelley completed her bachelor’s degree from Weber State University, and then moved halfway around the world to pursue a master’s in publishing from the University of Stirling in the gorgeous highlands of Scotland. Afterward followed an internship on the International Sales & Marketing team at Oxford University Press, Oxford, England.
  • Jen Brass Jenkins, MPC, started out in the world of theater, a rabbit hole that led to graduate school—in communications! She has written copy for, physician-designed medical apps, and various blogs and local mags, officially entering the health care paradigm as a University of Utah Health Care content specialist in 2012. While the grad degree was important, she finds she learned the most about collaboration, project management, and strategy from her theater background.

    My selfie obsession is arfies--art selfies (selfies with great art I love); yes I coined that term.
  • Our marketing empire is composed of four areas, marketing, web, public affairs, and corporate communications. As an academic medical center, we work with both clinical and academic services.
    Our clinical services consist of
    -4 hospitals
    -10 community clinics
    -several specialty centers and institutes
    -1,100 physicians
    Our academic health sciences services consist of
    -3 colleges
    -School of Dentistry
    -23 departments in our school of medicine
  • On to business: Pinterest, why should we care?
  • On to business: Pinterest, why should we care?
  • Some basic stats about Pinterest

    Let’s look at the age demographics for our Pinterest users
  • Age demographics - out of the total Internet users

    That brings us to our first objective
  • And we all can see where this is going--the ladies
  • -Women’s Health was chosen by the health system to have a heavy marketing focus when we launched our rebrand in early 2014. (?) Part of this strategy was to incorporate Pinterest. Now if I’m being completely honest, Pinterest was more of a delightful indulgence for me; luckily, my boss Dennis agreed to let me give it a go. All of my girlfriends were supremely jealous that I got to work on Pinterest as my job! Thankfully, I was also able to rope in the very lovely Jen into my Pinterest plan and we jumped in whole-heartedly.
  • -We launched Pinterest in November of 2013 as part of our initial Women’s Health Marketing strategy. At the time, I was new to University of Utah Health Care so it was very much a soft launch. We used the next year to really build out our content by adding boards and started driving traffic to our Pinterest site through various Women’s Health events we host in the community.
  • -We started out with boards based off of infographics we had created to highlight health tips in your 20s, 30s, 40s and 50+. This allowed us to really test the interest our audience had in our respective age brackets. Also, we transitioned the style of the infographics to be reflected on our website to create a colorful and cohesive brand.
  • -We discovered that our 30s board garnered a huge following and hundreds of repins on the content. (Our advantage is that both Jen & I are our key demographic, so we had an inside knowledge of what our audience wanted to know.)

    -From here we added boards to reflect specific health related focuses: Autism, Breast Feeding, Cancer, Fitness and Menopause just to name a few.

    -We found out quite quickly that what we needed was not only quality health content, but the ability to connect with our audience without necessarily posting exclusive University of Utah content. You can’t always paint a rosy picture of incontinence or other lady maladies. So, we integrated popular health content that you’d find in a Fitness magazine or on the Food Network.

  • -As UUHC’s marketing, public affairs and web team worked to build out a massive library of digital content over the course of the next year we found it to be a very valuable resource for upping our Pinterest game.

    -In addition to all of our health boards, we also created boards reflecting specific holidays or seasonal info. Our Mother’s Day board was a big hit as was our Travel Health and Back to School boards.

    -(We are measuring our success by repins & follows.)
  • But first, some of our biggest surprises

  • Highlight City Creek and Girls Night Out - Mention how we had more traffic on Pinterest by our grassroots efforts early on, than we did with our promoted pin campaign. Very important to not underestimate the effect a boots on the ground effort can have in this digitally based world.

    Be Well Utah - Aug 2013
    Girls’ Night Out - February 2014
  • We decided these factors were our success metrics (very similar to other social media KPI’s)
  • Sadly, we do not have exact numbers at this point in time for how quickly we gained followers; this is a beginning analytics dashboard before Pinterest improved it.

    But we do have our data from Google analytics of traffic referred to our website from Pinterest.

    (I think we had 1200 followers before we started the promoted pins campaign?)

  • Data from Google analytics showing referral traffic to our site from Pinterest. The spike correspond to Oct 2013, Feb 2014, and May 2015.
  • In December of 2014, Pinterest announced that they were working on adding a promoted pin feature

    We became aware of this when we were offered the chance to participate in the beta test in March.
  • Image on the left of what a promoted pin looks like
  • What’s performing well organically on it’s own: in our case the three trimester infographics because it’s most likely to continue to perform well, particularly if it’s more heavily promoted
  • We decided to add the email newsletter signups as a new aspect of our campaign
  • We mentioned that we are regularly turning out health content through our health feed blog and podcast The Scope Radio. We have also set up an email newsletter, which became one of our campaign goals.

    -pop-up sign in after 15 seconds or so
  • If the user clicked on a pin directing them back to our site, we set up a pop-up to encourage subscription to our newsletter.

  • -Shows you how many eyeballs are on it; even if they don’t click on it, we have an approximate measure of who sees it and for free -- since we don’t pay for anything but clicks
  • Top month is May 2015.
    -Shows you how many eyeballs are on it; even if they don’t click on it, we have an approximate measure of who sees it and for free -- since we don’t pay for anything but clicks
  • Top 4 weeks are the weeks of May 3rd, May 10th, May 17th, and May 24th.
    -Shows you how many eyeballs are on it; even if they don’t click on it, we have an approximate measure of who sees it and for free -- since we don’t pay for anything but clicks
  • show email pop-up subscriptions sign-ups
    If you are going to pay for traffic, determine what you can get for it that’s helpful for you
  • show email pop-up subscriptions sign-ups
    If you are going to pay for traffic, determine what you can get for it that’s helpful for you
  • What do you think happened here?
    Here’s what we think happened: influencer picked up
  • The failure of the quote made me sad. The reason we had high hopes for it is that we saw a study that said home-grown things that don’t look like a designer built them tend to perform better than professionally designed. Also, the idea of pinning quotes from physicians has really amazing implications for making our clinicians not only more well known, but also the potential to be seen as reliable sources of information.

    It’s a good example of the unpredictability of the viral. I’m still convinced that if you had the right quote at the right time or the right subject, it would get some traction.
  • Analytics dashboard from current Pinterest analytics; they revamped their dashboard in December of 2014: perfect timing for analyzing our promoted pin campaign.
  • Pin to Win: Using Pinterest for Health Care Marketing

    1. 1. Pin to Win Including Pinterest in a Healthcare Marketing Strategy Jen Brass Jenkins, MPC | @chrliechaz Kelley Whalen | @kelley_whalen
    2. 2. Objectives: 1. Understand how Pinterest can be used for health care audiences 2. Incorporate Pinterest into a marketing campaign 3. Use gathered Pinterest analytics to broaden your campaign reach
    3. 3. Kelley Whalen @Kelley_Whalen Senior Manager, Market Development at UK HealthCare
    4. 4. Jen Brass Jenkins, MPC @chrlichaz Web Content Manager, U of U Health Sciences Help manage a team of: 5 developers (ideally) 1 UI/UX designer 1 content specialist 1 analytics specialist 1 director (yes, managing up is a thing) We are responsible for: ● Four main subdomains: health care, research, medicine, and (now) an insurance plan; and others ● Maintenance, template design, & development; content acquisition, curation, editing, and delivery
    5. 5. Marketing, Web & Corporate Communications Team
    6. 6. Pinterest—Why Should We Care?
    7. 7. Pinterest—Why Should We Care?
    8. 8. ● Percentage of US online adult women: 42%* ● Percentage of online US adult men: 13% ● Number of users: 72.8 million ● Percentage female Pinterest users: 85% ● Average number of website visits generated from a pin: 2 *Pew Research Center, 2013/2014, social-networking-platforms-2/ Pinterest—Why Should We Care?
    9. 9. Pinterest—Why Should We Care? *Adweek, 2015 using-facebook-twitter-pinterest-tumblr-and-instagram-2015-and-beyond-1622
    10. 10. 1. Understand how Pinterest can be used for health care audiences
    11. 11. Health Care Stats Online ● 72% of internet users looked online for health information this year. * ● Half of online health information research is done on behalf of someone else. * ● Women make 80% of health care decisions for their families and are most likely to be caregivers. ** * **
    12. 12. How Pinterest Applies to Health Care On average, women spend 1.7 Hours per month on and make 80% of Health Care decisions
    13. 13. 2. Incorporate Pinterest into a marketing campaign
    14. 14. Our Birthday - November 2013
    15. 15. Boards organized by age group
    16. 16. Stand out topics that perform well: ● Pregnancy/birth ● Fitness ● Weight ● Nutrition ● Kids, back to school ● Motivational ● Cancer stats, tips, and information
    17. 17. Biggest Surprises: ● Users pinned headshots of their doctors ● Users found content you didn’t even know you had
    18. 18. Grassroots Community Events
    19. 19. How do you measure your success?
    20. 20. How do you measure your success? • Number of Followers • Number of Repins • Amount of referred website traffic from pins – Quality of referred traffic over time
    21. 21. ● Pins: Content pinned ● Pinners: Pinterest users pinning content ● Repins: Your pins/content repinned by another user ● Impressions: Number of pinners your content is in front of ● Clicks
    22. 22. 3. Use gathered Pinterest analytics to broaden your campaign reach
    23. 23. Promoted Pin Campaign: Women’s Health Month May 2015
    24. 24. Campaign Parameters • Length: 1 month • Budget: $2,000 • Pins: 8 content pieces to promote • Targeting: Local/Salt Lake Valley • Demographically: Women only, age 21+
    25. 25. How did we decide which pins to promote?
    26. 26. How did we decide which pins to promote? • Choose already well-performing pins • Experiment with: – Infographics – Quotes
    27. 27. What were our measures of success for this campaign? • Previous metrics – Increase in followers – Repins – Amount of traffic • Campaign goal: Email newsletter signups
    28. 28. Results
    29. 29. Results: Overall campaign • Doubled our followers (1,200-2,800) • Over 1 million impressions • 6,370 repins • 4,080 clicks • 200% increase in email newsletter signups – Up to 100% residual increase in the following 2 months
    30. 30. 5 Top Performing Pins: • 3 Trimester infographics
    31. 31. 5 Top Performing Pins: • 3 Trimester infographics • 30s women’s health infographic
    32. 32. 5 Top Performing Pins: 3 Trimester infographics 30s women’s health infographic 5 Tactics to slim down at work infographic
    33. 33. 5 Tactics to Slim-Down at Work infographic • Paid repins 731 • Earned repins 2,195 – 317 paid clicks – 910 earned clicks
    34. 34. Lowest Performing Pins: • Bodyshaming quote • Gardening • Hot flashes
    35. 35. Our Most Pinned Content May 2013-Sept 2015
    36. 36. Marketing Gains From Pinterest • Brand awareness • Community interaction • Email subscription signups
    37. 37. Connect With Us Jen Brass Jenkins, MPC | @chrliechaz Kelley Whalen | @Kelley_Whalen