QUICK READ: A two-month analysis of social media and prescription drugs found the number one reason online health seekers use social media is to share and ask questions about medication side effects. I also found an abundance of medication misinformation based on personal experiences and hearsay.
KEY TAKEAWAY: According to a 2018 study from the Pew Research Center, two-thirds of American adults turn to Facebook for news, and a lot of people belong to Facebook groups for specific health conditions, but I have found an abundance of false information. This represents an opportunity for pharma, but they need to align processes around online health seeker needs.
KEY POINT: According to Facebook a lot of people join health groups on the social site to share experiences and ask questions. Facebook announced Tuesday that it wants to create a new type of community: health support groups in which people can even ask questions anonymously. Facebook is doing this to get more online digital dollars, but DTC marketers should be careful.
- Facebook’s leaders seriously discussed selling access to user data — and privacy was an afterthought.
- Mark Zuckerberg oversaw plans to consolidate the social network’s power and control competitors by treating its users’ data as a bargaining chip, while publicly proclaiming to be protecting that data.
- Facebook ultimately decided not to sell the data directly but rather to dole it out to app developers who were considered personal “friends” of Zuckerberg or who spent money on Facebook and shared their own valuable data.
IN SUMMARY: Some pharma companies are turning to Instagram influencers to help reach patients but when pharma pays these influencers is it crossing the line or compensating someone for their time?
- Illness symptoms/treatments and medication are most frequently cited as the types of health- related information sought online.
- Healthcare information concerns abound, particularly when it comes to credibility.
- 83% of Healthcare Information Seekers who are exposed to health information on social media are concerned about incorrect or misleading medical information.
- Only 35% of Healthcare Information Seekers who use social media report that, in their experience, the information on social media is mostly accurate
- A new survey profiling how American adults’ access, use and feels about health-related information finds that most American social media users who regularly seek health information are concerned about incorrect or misleading medical information on social media, and few have found health information on social media to be accurate.
- Two-thirds of American Healthcare Information Seekers (67 percent) report that they see health information on social media. The types of information they see on social media are mostly wellness advice (56 percent) and advertisements for treatments or medications (52 percent).
- [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]More than eight in 10 Healthcare Information Seekers who have seen health information on social media (83 percent) say they are concerned about incorrect or misleading medical information.[/inlinetweet]
- The youngest cohort in our study, Gen Z, is just as likely to be concerned about incorrect or misleading information as the much older Boomer generation (91 percent and 87 percent, respectively).
- Social networking use among Internet users ages 50 and older has nearly doubled –from 22% to 42%.
- This demographic is a sweet spot for healthcare marketers.
- News sites still remain the most trusted online healthcare resource (68 percent), while user-generated contributions on Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs are used less frequently (54 percent), according to results from a national consumer survey conducted by Makovsky + Company.