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The Social Check-up 2018: Pharma in the social space


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The Social Check-up 2018 analyses social media usage in the pharmaceutical industry. The report reveals key insights into pharma’s activities on social media and how 20 leading pharmaceutical companies are producing content that achieves high engagement.

For this edition of the Social Check-up, we tracked the global corporate social media activity over an 11-month period in 2016 as well as 2017 to capture trends and changes in the industry.

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You can also see our previous social reports here:

The Social Check-up 2018: Pharma in the social space

  1. 1. March 2018 The Social Check-up
  2. 2. March 2018 The Social Check-up We’re bringing social back Once again, our expert social team at Ogilvy Healthworld has partnered with data specialists Pulsar to analyse the pharma social landscape change From global corporate social channels Data taken from an 11-month period Jan 19th –Dec 19th 2016 & 2017 Across 20 leading pharma companies Including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube
  3. 3. March 2018 The Social Check-up Less is more in 2017 Average number of weekly posts & year-on-year change All channels except YouTube have seen a decrease in posting frequency since 2016 Instagram saw the largest percentage decrease in posting since last year Posting behaviour on Facebook remained the most consistent from year to year Both years are based on the 11-month period from January 19th –December 19th 3.7 22.6 -3% 6.0 1.2 6.2 19.0 -16% +8% 1.3 -41% 2.2 Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram 20172016 2016 20172016 20162017 2017
  4. 4. March 2018 The Social Check-up Pharma communities grew in 2017 Community size & year-on-year change All channels had significant increases in followers Instagram following saw the largest percentage increase Facebook had the most new follower acquisitions Both years are based on the 11-month period from January 19th –December 19th 77K +67% 46K 2.4M 70K 1.7M 3.5M3.5M +47% 2.0M +15% 106K +50% Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram 20172016 2016 20172016 20162017 2017
  5. 5. March 2018 The Social Check-up Facebook is the most engaging social platform Facebook continues to be the most used platform, but Instagram is growing in popularity for pharma brands despite its comparatively small audience Average number of engagements per post 524 190 61 3
  6. 6. March 2018 The Social Check-up Company engagement vs activity Astellas• 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,5000 500,000 400,000 300,000 200,000 100,000 0 •TakedaAllergan Gilead• •AbbVie •Sanofi •Bayer •Merck/MSD •Novo Nordisk •Novartis Boehringer Ingelheim• •GSK •Johnson & Johnson •Pfizer Roche• Lilly• •Bristol-Myers Squibb •AstraZeneca •Amgen Weightedengagementscore* Number of posts Average Teva•• Average *Based on the calculation of (Likes x 1) + (Comments x 2) + (Shares x 5) New leader in pharma engagement: Novo Nordisk is 2017’s frontrunner! The top 3 ‘engagers’ did not produce the greatest number of posts High value content and possibly paid amplification, at the right time to the right audience, is key for driving engagement
  7. 7. March 2018 The Social Check-up Year-on-year engagement change Only 50% increased their year-on-year engagement 3 companies (from both ends of the rankings) achieved more than double their previous year’s engagement 4 of the top 5 ranking companies increased their engagement *Both years are based on the 11-month period from January 19th –December 19th Rank Company 2017 weighted engagement* % change from 2016* 1 Novo Nordisk 471,153 +13% 2 Johnson Johnson 417,443 +111% 3 Novartis 393,666 +77% 4 Merck/MSD 356,241 +122% 5 GSK 272,248 -5% 6 Boehringer Ingelheim 263,963 -62% 7 Pfizer 255,619 +39% 8 Roche 188,349 +5% 9 Bristol-Myers Squibb 140,379 -12% 10 Lilly 110,742 -37% 11 Bayer 81,525 -7% 12 AstraZeneca 58,760 +12% 13 Gilead 45,345 +54% 14 AbbVie 35,566 -46% 15 Amgen 32,240 -33% 16 Astellas 29,618 -19% 17 Sanofi 27,245 +9% 18 Takeda 6,598 -27% 19 Allergan 6,004 +102% 20 Teva 4,329 -77%
  8. 8. March 2018 The Social Check-up The content test results Learnings from 2017’s content trends Be human Highlighting the human side of the business was the most regular theme across 2017’s high-performing posts, such as spotlighting employees and internal initiatives. Example – ‘Team Novo Nordisk’ all diabetes pro cycling team Get involved Awareness day content drove high engagement and became part of the wider online conversation, often beyond pharma. Examples – Earth Day, World Aids Day, Movember, World Cancer Day Find a celeb Celebrity involvement in event coverage encouraged social spike in engagement. Examples – Novo Nordisk and Pakistani cricketer Wasim Akram for #ChangingDiabetes, JJ and Oprah supporting the HIV vaccine announcement Send in the drones Drone photography came out on top on Instagram, which demonstrated how trying new techniques and experimenting can keep content exciting on the home of inspiring imagery. Examples – Bayer and Eli Lilly aerial photography over their respective headquarters
  9. 9. March 2018 The Social Check-up The doctor’s notes Pharma is reaching social media maturity 1 The space is now pay to play With the rapid decline in organic reach, pharma companies are embracing paid social as a means to ensure that their content is visible in what is becoming a very crowded space 2 Instagram is no longer the new kid in town Our last report showed how the most engaging content for pharma followers was highly visual, so it’s encouraging to see that many of the top pharma companies now view Instagram as a key channel to engage audiences Pharma is posting less and leveraging different social media channel strengths for communications; tailoring content to each channel as well as audience 3
  10. 10. March 2018 The Social Check-up And the appointment’s not over… Interested in the full report? Chloe Partikas Social Media Director Rick Evans Senior Digital Strategist Chelsey Toms Senior Account Manager Emmanuel Demuren Research Analyst Sameer Shah Research Manager To dive deeper into The Social Check-up 2018, email us for the full social report and the chance to hear our in-depth analysis directly from the team: