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March 1, 2012
Less than 2 years ago, I got very excited when I saw a Canadian pharma ad on my FaceBook profile. It was the first Canadian pharma ad that I had personally ever seen on FaceBook. You can read my post about it here. We sure have come a long way since then. Throughout 2011 and so far in 2012, I have spotted several ads on my FaceBook profile, by Canadian pharmaceutical companies. In fact, Pfizer Canada might be the first Canadian pharma company to advertise a Schedule F prescription drug name on FaceBook. In Canada, pharmaceutical companies must follow very restrictive Rx-DTC (direct-to-consumer) guidelines. The only things that can be mentioned in the public regarding Schedule F Rx products are product name, price and quantity. The ad below complies with the regulations. GlaxoSmithKline Canada promoted their vaccine Cervarix via FaceBook ads back in Q4 2011. Although the product name and disease state appear in the ad, it complies with Health Canada's Rx-DTC regulations because Cervarix is a schedule D drug, and it is not promoting a schedule A disease. Now Midol might not be a prescription drug, but it belongs to Bayer which is a pharmaceutical company, so I think that they deserve kudos for entering the social media advertisement arena. The Midol FaceBook ads were very consumer-savvy, offering a prize and driving traffic to their site by offering entertainment in the form of punishment on the man in the ad - it doesn't sound very nice, but I saw the site and I did not find it offensive at all. It was all in the name of fun. The rest of the FaceBook ads by Canadian pharma companies that I saw on my profile were all to help raise awareness of certain disease states. As long as no brand name is mentioned, this is a completely acceptable form of promotion according to Health Canada. There might have been ads targeted to men, or younger / older audience, or other demographic that did not fit my profile, so this is by no means a complete inventory of Canadian pharma ads on FaceBook. If you have seen other FaceBook ads by Canadian pharma, let us know in the comments section. If you happen to have a picture, e-mail it to me and I will gladly add it to the post and give you credit for having found it.
January 10, 2011
I am a believer that FaceBook can have positive influence on healthcare. With so many healthcare stakeholders involved on the network, it seems like the perfect place for everybody to get connected. Just looking at the number of people who are members of this network should be enough to make any marketer stop in their tracks and decide whether they should reach out and engage with their target audience on this medium. And over the past couple of years, there have been several reports that have suggested that Canadians really 'like' their FaceBook time (yes, that was an intentional pun, but it is true). The most recent report that I have seen was the one from eMarketer.com's November 29th 2010 post "Canadians Say Yes to Social Media".
Almost 10 million Canadians went on FaceBook per day in September 2010. That is a lot of people when you consider that the Canadian population in 2010 is estimated at just over 34 million people by Stats Canada.
If that is not enough to convince you to at least consider whether FaceBook fits into your strategic objectives, take a look at the video clip below. It is part of Time's Person of the Year issue, in which Time put together a fascinating video clip showcasing statistics about what happens on FaceBook in 1 minute . The statistics are global, not Canadian-specific, but it is worth taking a look at.
The facts from the video are noted below in case you are having trouble viewing the video:
- Shared links: 50,304
- Photos tagged: 66,168
- Event invites: 74,204
- Wall posts: 79,364
- Status updates: 82,557
- Friend requests: 98,604
- Photos uploaded: 135,849
- Messages sent: 231,605
- "Likes": 382,861
- Comments: 510,404
If you need more Canadian-specific stats to help you make your decision, here are a few articles that you might find helpful:
If you are interested in seeing examples of various healthcare FaceBook pages, just go to the Dose of Digital social media wiki. Here, you will find lots of creative uses of FaceBook from all over the world. Keep in mind that advertising and promotion guidelines for healthcare products vary from country to country, so some of the examples that you will find in the wiki may not be suitable for Canada.
I am not suggesting that all healthcare marketers jump on board and set up a FaceBook page. It needs to make sense for your business. Social media is nothing more than a tactic designed to help you reach your organization's strategic objectives. What I am suggesting is that all healthcare marketers should take the time to at least consider whether FaceBook fits their strategic goals or not. For marketers who are not on FaceBook themselves (and I know quite a few are out there), it might seem a little bit overwhelming and obscure to market in this new environment, but that should not stop anybody from at least considering the possibility that the fit might be there for the target audience. Do a little bit of monitoring to see where your audience hangs out, and if they are already on FaceBook, then you might want to join them there.
If you have considered a FaceBook page and decided to forego it, what is stopping you from setting one up? Leave a comment below.
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February 5, 2010
This week, my blog series will be focusing on several Canadian online healthcare social networks. This is part 5 of 5. The previous posts of the series can be found here;
- Upopolis: Social Media for Kids in Hospitals
- TeenConnector.ca: Where Canadian Teens with Cancer Connect
- CaringVoices: Princess Margaret Hospital Offers Online Support for Cancer Patients
- VirtualHospice.ca: Online Palliative Care Community & Resources
February 3, 2010
This week, my blog series will be focusing on several Canadian healthcare online social networks. This is part 3 of 5. The previous posts of the series can be found here;
- Upopolis: Social Media for Kids in Hospitals
- TeenConnector.ca: Where Canadian Teens with Cancer Connect
January 29, 2010
Next week, I will be posting a blog series on Canadian healthcare social networks; 1 network reviewed per day! These are online communities where Canadian patients (and sometimes patients from other countries as well), share healthcare-related, and sometimes very personal information with one another. As such, I was interested in learning more about how Canadian patients who connect with one another on online communities trust the information that they are receiving from one another. My immediate thought was to connect with the Edelman group. If you have ever talked with somebody who either had been diagnosed with a similar disease or was taking a similar treatment as you, did you trust the information that you were given by that person? Chances are pretty good that you would have trusted the information given by that person, but not as much as in previous years. The 2008, 2009 and 2010 Edelman Trust Barometer reports confirm this. Trust in a "person like yourself" has decreased from 2008 to 2009 (as have most information sources listed in the report), and dropped again in 2010. From the global 2010 Edelman report, 44% of respondents aged between 25-64 years said they would find the information from a person like them to be either 'very credible' or 'extremely credible' (down from 47% in 2009, and 58% in 2008). That's a huge drop over the past 3 years! [caption id="attachment_332" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Edelman 2010 Trust Barometer"][/caption] Interestingly, the "person like yourself" is the only group that actually decreased in trust from 2009 to 2010. All other information sources either increased in trust or remained the same. It makes you wonder what happened to make us lose so much trust in people similar to ourselves. Unfortunately, the Edelman report does not give an answer to this question. They do provide insight though, regarding the increase in trust in the other groups;
"In a volatile year, it seems that informed publics value guidance from credentialed experts over a “person like me,” which lost ground as a credible voice of information for a company (figure 8). This desire for substantial information points to why academics and experts, and financial or industry analysts are the most trusted spokespeople for a company."But do these global statistics reflect Canadian trust? The Edelman reports provide global and some country data, but do not break down any Canadian data. The Edelman group in Toronto agreed to dig up the Canadian information for me. However, at the time of publishing this post, the 2010 Edelman Trust report had just been released a few days prior, and the Canadian data was not yet available. It should become available within the next 2 months, and the Edelman group in Toronto has promised to send me some Canadian statistics as soon as possible (yup, I`ll be posting that info for you as soon as I get it). But in the meantime, the Edelman group in Toronto was kind enough to send me some Canadian statistics from the 2009 report; In 2009, the global trust in a "person like yourself" was 47%, whereas the Canadian trust in a "person like yourself" was 49%. OK, so Canadians scored a bit higher, but not by much. It will be interesting to see what the 2010 report shows, particularly whether the Canadian score will have increased or decreased, or stayed the same over time. Another point to keep in mind is that a "person like yourself" is not the same as a "patient like yourself". The Edelman report does not specifically discuss trust in health issues from a "person like yourself". Talking about sports gear with another sports fanatic is very different than talking about your cancer treatments with another patient. Medical information can be so technical, yet healthcare can be a very personal and emotional topic for patients. Who knows! Perhaps patients with newly diagnosed diseases or prescriptions might have greater, or perhaps much less trust in another "patient like yourself". Can we answer the question whether Canadian patients trust others like them? Not entirely, at least not from this report. I think we can infer from the 2009 data that there definitely would be some level of trust. But to what level would we trust other Canadian patients, and how would this compare with other information sources? Those questions remain unanswered, at least from this particular report. Another study by Essential Research Inc., Essential Healthconsumer, which was implemented in 2008 and published in 2009, suggests that more than half (57%) of Canadian healthcare consumers have greater trust in Canadian sites, whereas 36% trust all (Canadian, American, International) sites equally. However, only 14% of Canadian healthcare consumers who found healthcare information online actually shared it with others online. So it appears that having a Canadian online community might enhance the trust of its members. The 14% of Canadians willing to share their findings seems a bit low when compared to the Social Technographics Profile tool, which suggests that 18% of Canadian adults are 'creators' and that 29% are 'critics' (ie. participate in online forums) on social media. You can learn more about the Social Technographics Profile here. I have two theories as to why this might be, but they remain untested opinions, so take it with a grain of salt; 1) This could be a result of the difference in timing of the two studies. The Essential HealthConsumer data was gathered in November / December 2008, whereas the Social Technographics Profile tool includes 2009 data. Social media is evolving quickly, therefore the time difference in collecting the data for both studies could be the reason for the discrepancy as more and more people are becoming familiar and comfortable in using social media. 2) Moreover, similarly to the earlier argument that a 'person like yourself' is different than a 'patient like yourself', the Essential Research data is related to sharing of healthcare information online, whereas the Social Technographics Profile is related to general postings and comments made on social media. Healthcare is very personal and can be emotional, therefore one might expect to see fewer Canadians willing to share such sensitive information online with others. But that very same person might be quite comfortable in sharing information about the new pair of shoes that he or she just bought for a bargain. And finally, the type of disease state involved might influence whether Canadian patients trust other patients like them enough to share information with them online. Although not Canadian-specific and not trust-specific, the North American Technographics Benchmark Survey of 2008 (Source: Forrester Inc. Research; blogs.forrester.com ─ April 22, 2009) suggests certain disease states that participate the most, and might benefit the most from online communities (see top right quadrant on chart below). The upcoming Canadian healthcare social network blog series might provide some qualitative information about how much Canadian patients trust others like them. You will notice that the level of member activity on these online communities varies. As you review these various online communities next week, keep in mind the type of disease state involved, the age of the typical members, the various features that facilitate the online discussions, and the sophistication of the management of the networks (most of the networks to be featured are managed by non-profit medical organizations who are juggling funding and personnel with multiple organizational objectives). This might help us better understand why some medical online communities seem to be more effective than others. Hopefully the series will stimulate some thought and discussion, and maybe even motivate some strategic partnerships. Let us know your thoughts on whether Canadian patients trust others like them by writing a comment. ------------------------------------- A big thank you to the Edelman group in Toronto for their speedy responses and feedback. I was truly amazed at their level of customer service. (Thanks to Scott Evans and Lisa Kimmel for all your help!) As well, many thanks to Essential Research Inc. for giving me permission to share some of their insightful Canadian data. (Thanks to Don Lajoie for his ongoing support and passion in sharing information about Canadian and e-health.) ------------------------------------- Stay in touch, Natalie Connect with me on the following networks: FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn —————————————————– To ensure that you receive all new updates to this blog, insert your e-mail address in the box in the top-right corner. Your e-mail will remain private and will not be shared with any third parties.