Could facebook ads work for pharma?

KEY TAKEAWAY: Facebook is applying a full court press to lure pharma ad dollars, but in order for pharma to leverage facebook ads they need to stop thinking like marketers and start thinking like patients.

Facebook remains the dominant social media site for millions of people and should not be overlooked as a digital channel for pharma online dollars. However, before you give the green light to your agency you need to understand how and why people are using facebook so much.

Facebook has essentially become an animated and updated news feed for users. Gone, for the most part, are the days of people posting pictures of their families and “checking in”.  Facebook is a great way to stay on top of the news that interests YOU without having to go to a lot of different websites.  So are there opportunities for pharma? You bet.  Here is what pharma needs to do to leverage facebook…

1ne: Don’t advertise; talk about problems/issues your audience faces.  Have a new diabetes product?  Don’t show a picture with a headline, rather talk about how your product can provide better control of A1C over the day allowing diabetes patients more freedom.

2wo: Be a source of updated informtion.  While ASCO is in full swing, along with the hype, cancer drug makers should be clarifying the real news behind the headlines and what it really means for cancer patients/caregivers.

3hree: Laser target.  Facebook allows you to target people with a lot of different criteria, but this is only useful if you really understand your audience and what they want/need to know.  It also means that you are going to have to develop a lot of different ad content and that one ad does not fit all.

4our: Talk to your audience, not at them.  If you had someone within your target audience in a room what would you say to them beyond a sales pitch?

 

5ive: Watch being too intrusive.  One of the negative things about facebook is that if you do click on posted content you’re going to see more of the same ads.  This could be an issue for some online health seekers who don’t want to be bombarded with ads on their health problem(s).

You should be challenging your agency to create facebook posts that engage your audience rather than ads that say “try me”. This is one of the reasons why I prefer online interactive agencies like InTouch Solutions.   There is a gold mine of audiences on Facebook, but if you approach facebook as just another online channel you’re going to fail

 

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