Research executed by The Worldcom Public Relations Group, the leading global partnership of independent public relations firms, concludes that many large pharmaceutical companies are not optimizing online and social media communications to their advantage. A relatively large number of relevant online channels are left unused, and the available content has not been distributed and localized effectively, according to findings released in Worldcom’s Healthcare practice group’s annual Digital Health Monitor Report.
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In the current issue of the Digital Health Monitor – Pharmaceuticals, covering 2020, Worldcom’s research identifies how 24 global pharmaceutical firms manage their online and social media presence globally and in 27 countries.
A rather surprising result of the research is the overall lack of local content. Many of the pharmaceutical companies do not provide local information, even though local content is generally considered of great importance.
“When you look at the use of the available channels, the 2020 results are quite similar to the results from our first Digital Health Monitor in 2018. As communication experts, we are surprised that pharmaceutical companies have not grabbed the opportunities identified in our last report. Content-wise, we foresee a clear shift to in-depth information. We hope that the pharmaceutical companies follow this trend, as it will help them optimize their local stakeholder engagement, which undoubtedly will lead to an increased ROI”, said Serge Beckers, chairman of Worldcom’s Healthcare practice group. “Now, more than ever, people are interested in healthcare-related content. Now is the time for pharmaceutical companies to take advantage of the increased interest and engage their audiences with valuable, educational content.”
The Digital Health Monitor Report ranks each company in terms of their presence on, and the use of, apps, blogs, corporate and local company websites, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube. It also reviewed the use of these channels by country.
All the companies have a global website. However, not every country has its own website – thus are not satisfying the demand for local content. The average number of local sites is 20 out of 27 countries.
While almost all pharmaceuticals report having a ‘global blog,’ blogs with local content are hard to find; the average score is 5.8 out of a possible 27. Where blogs exist, the number of blog posts is moderate.
The companies have embraced apps more than some other channels. Most pharmaceutical companies have efficient, target group-centered apps.
Social media channels
All the companies but one have international Facebook accounts, an international Twitter account is missing in only one (but different) company, LinkedIn is present at the international level, but local pages are not very common. Local YouTube accounts are available in only a handful of countries. The impact of the remaining channels, i.e., TikTok, Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram, and Tumblr, is negligible as the use of, or the engagement on, these channels is under 13%. In all, the effectiveness of the channels, measured by taking criteria into account such as the number of followers and posts, country specific pages, dedicated channels, and updates, is surprisingly low.
The Worldcom Digital Health Monitor Report lists ten recommendations to improve ROI from online communications.