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Digital & Innovation

Which big pharma organisations are best at digital?

Health Industry Hub | October 21, 2019 |

New report by Worldcom Public Relations Group ranks pharmaceutical companies according to their usage of digital channels; Bayer, Pfizer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis and Astra Zeneca coming out on top in the combined results.

The research looked at how 25 global pharmaceutical companies manage their online and social media presence globally and in 20 countries.

It ranks each company in terms of their presence on, and the use of, Apps, Blogs Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter and YouTube.

Results summary

Website

All the pharmaceuticals have a global website, as can be expected from a multinational company. The majority of the affiliates seem to recognise the importance of local content.

Blogs

The analysis shows that the pharma companies make very little use of blogs. Admittedly, almost all companies having a ‘global blog’, but local blogs are almost impossible to discover. Also, the number of blogs posted is quite moderate.

Apps

Most companies have efficient, target group-centred apps. The apps issued by the pharmaceutical companies have been scored on the basis of their Presence, their Availability, their Professional Utility (HCP Utility), their Patient Utility, their Information Value (Research/ informative), and their Popularity (If rated > three stars).

Novartis, Eli Lilly and Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) scored highest in this category.

Social media

All pharmaceuticals but two have international Facebook accounts. Despite the fact that the number of Facebook users worldwide is much bigger, all pharmaceuticals on our list do have an international Twitter account. LinkedIn accounts are present, but no pharmaceutical company achieves even 50% of the score. This is mainly due to the fact that country-specific pages on LinkedIn are apparently not common in the pharmaceutical sector. Given the importance of YouTube, it is surprising that this platform does not seem to belong to the standard communications arsenal of pharmaceutical companies. Local YouTube accounts are available in only a handful of countries. The use of the remaining channels, i.e. Google+, Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram, and Tumblr has proved to be so low among pharmaceutical companies that it is of little use to discuss them separately.

The pharma industry has not optimised the opportunity provided by social channels to educate and inform its audiences and to build a brand following. While there is the acknowledgment that the pharmaceutical sector is heavily regulated and therefore the way companies communicate with its various target audiences will be very different to consumer organisations, many companies may be missing opportunities to get their messages across.

Bayer tops the combined social channel ranking closely followed by Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim.

Content – about the pharma sector

In 2018, around 38,000 messages have been put online ‘About the pharma sector’. Not surprisingly, given the reputation of the average pharmaceutical company: what is said about the sector is not always positive. In a nutshell, the pharmaceutical companies tweet and post about their company, their congresses and campaigns, the disorders they treat and general health issues. The people who do not officially communicate on behalf of the pharmaceutical companies also talk about conspiracies and other possible abuses in pharma. Nonetheless, the general sentiment is not clearly negative. Globally, Twitter is the number 1 channel to talk about the pharma sector.

Content – by the pharma sector

The 25 pharmaceutical companies have put more than 25,000 messages online, mainly using Twitter and Facebook. A very striking fact is that YouTube and Instagram, respectively the second and sixth largest social channels globally, are heavily underrepresented.

Issues

Issues that generate a lot of attention or an increasing amount of posts and tweets are ‘big pharma’ and ‘opioid abuse’, respectively. In 2018 no less than 66,000 posts were distributed in which ”big pharma” is mentioned. Most of the messages (77%) can be found on Twitter.

If you would like a copy of the report please contact us.

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