Facebook is an attractive platform for pharma companies looking to reach consumers directly online, but cutting through the clutter can be difficult, necessitating that pharma marketers employ the right Facebook tools for their campaigns.

Here are three ways pharma firms have used Facebook to good effect.

VAYA Pharma buys targeted Facebook ads

To market Vayarin, a prescription "medical food" used in the dietary management of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), VAYA Pharma turned to social marketing firm Adaptly, which determined that Facebook, thanks to its targeting capabilities, was the ideal platform on which VAYA could reach parents who have children with ADHD.

Adaptly's campaigns, which used Facebook Link Ads and the Facebook Audience Network, ran between May and July 2016 and targeted parents between the ages of 35 and 54. Keyword interest categories were used to identify interest in ADHD.

The result: the campaigns delivered nearly 100,000 visitors to the VAYA's Vayarin website and generated more than 270,000 downloads of the company's consumer-focused Vayarin infosheet. What's more, by using the Audience Network, which allows Facebook advertisers to target users outside of Facebook, Adaptly says that it was able to beat its target cost-per-link-click by nearly 50%.

Key takeway: Pharma companies looking to reach well-defined target audiences have plenty of opportunities to do so with Facebook's ad offerings.

Novartis supports a Facebook Live event

Big pharma doesn't have the best reputation these days, potentially making it even more difficult for pharma marketers to cut through the clutter when attempting to reach consumers directly through digital channels like social.

But there are ways to deal with this, as pharma giant Novartis demonstrated when it teamed up with the American Heart Association and actress/singer Queen Latifah as part of its Rise Above Heart Failure initiative. One component of the initiative was a Facebook Live panel discussion featuring Queen Latifah and medical doctor Karol E. Watson, a professor of medicine/cardiology and the co-director of the UCLA Program in Preventive Cardiology.

Nearly 1,000 people tuned into the event, and the recording has since been viewed some 36,000 times. 

Key takeaway: Pharma companies can gain positive exposure by creating or supporting the creation of informative and educational health content on Facebook. This includes Facebook Live content that is produced and distributed in partnership with other organizations.

Johnson & Johnson builds a Facebook app

Facebook launched the Facebook Platform in mid-2007, giving third parties the opportunity to build apps that are integrated with Facebook for the first time ever.

One of the earliest pharma companies to embrace the Facebook Platform was Johnson & Johnson, which through a division of its Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. subsidiary, launched a Facebook application for its Acuminder service, which sends important reminders to contact lens wearers. The Acuminder Facebook app, which is no longer active, allowed users to receive those reminders in their Facebook news feeds.

As of February 2009, Johnson & Johnson said that nearly 20,000 users had signed up to receive Acuminder alerts, and that "bi-weekly contact lens wearers using Acuminder reported a marked improvement in their contact lens behavior."

Key takeaway: While Facebook apps are no longer the most prominent fixture on the service, Johnson & Johnson's early embrace of the Facebook Platform to extend its Acuminder service to the world's largest social network demonstrates that pharma companies do have opportunities to deliver value to consumers through utilitarian apps. 

Patricio Robles

Published 1 March, 2017 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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