There’s no denying the pharmaceutical industry is one of the fastest growing global markets right now. To stay ahead, pharma companies need to stay agile and resilient to meet evolving consumer behaviours and attitudes. With the US and European markets set to be worth $635 and $315 billion in sales by 2024 respectively, there will no doubt be big rewards for those that succeed. How pharma companies execute their marketing strategies will be a key differentiating factor – and one area that’s changing quickly are pharmaceutical industry videos.
The era of video
Did you find your phone addiction getting a little out of hand during lockdown? Scrolling for hours on end and sharing multiple videos with your relatives and friends? You weren’t alone. The pandemic drove up video consumption by unprecedented levels, with over a quarter of us today spending more than 10 hours a week watching video. Last year, 82% of all internet traffic came from video and 60% of consumers prefer watching online videos to television – and this pace is showing no sign of slowing down. Marketers now need to adapt to an audience that is more mobile-first and content-hungry than ever.
The rise of video in medical marketing
In the pharma world too, digital video is eating into TV commercial budgets. Video is not only the most powerful online medium, but engagement levels are unparalleled, with brand recall from video shown to be 85% higher than the written word. It allows more opportunity to make human connections and has proven to be a great way to provide content and engage with the HCP community. Unlike TV, it is a better way to deliver optimised and customised content to the required audience, through programmatic advertising.
The real challenge is choosing which video formats and types to integrate into your marketing plan. The decision will depend on both your objectives and budget, but a great place to start is the list below which summarises some of the latest developments in pharma video marketing.
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Pharmaceutical industry video trends to watch out for
A big trend we’re seeing in pharma marketing is the rise of interactive video. These films are all about giving viewers the freedom to explore the narrative in their own order, as opposed to passively watching a traditional linear video. They’re yet to make the front pages in the marketing world but leading pharma brands are beginning to realise the potential of such videos to increase viewer engagement. By clicking on hotspots or changing the narrative of the video, pharma companies can create an interactive experience between their audience and product.
The benefits go beyond better engagement. When it comes to analysing the results of your interactive videos, the view path the viewer chooses gives you access to deeper insights to better understand your audience. Plus, if engagement doesn’t get you excited, conversion rates are equally high. Not only do 75% of consumers prefer to learn about a product via an interactive video rather than a salesperson, Spiel Creative’s survey showed that 87% of the businesses who incorporated interactive content into their strategy, saw an increase in sales, with interactive videos having 11% higher conversion rates!
A great example of utilising the power of interactive video in pharma is our recent work for Pfizer, explaining the 2022 GRAPPA guidelines. This interactive film allows HCPs to watch the author of the guidelines (Professor Coates) explaining the changes in the new version. Viewers have the choice of which changes they want to know more about. 13 minutes of content is more accessible to viewers when they can watch only the bits that are relevant to them.
2 The rise of unbranded disease awareness campaigns
Although tempting, sticking your brand logo and tagline in every possible corner isn’t necessarily the most effective strategy when it comes to pharmaceutical industry videos. An interesting development in the last few years has been the rise of unbranded campaigns to raise awareness of specific diseases. A big benefit is that they give pharma companies more regulatory flexibility as the published content is perceived to be more informational and educational rather than being promotional. Unbranded websites, Youtube channels and short films are all formats that have been harnessed to deliver these disease awareness campaigns.
A recent example is Janssen Pharma’s “Breaking Depression” campaign, which was launched on World Mental Health Day to break the silence and stigma around mental health and to encourage people to start a conversation about depression. The company was very clear on its campaign objective. It wanted to create a very meaningful campaign around depression. There have been more than 640,000 views to the campaign video, but more importantly, 1300 conversations using the hashtag #BreakingDepression – raising awareness of the issue, rather than the brand itself.
Emergent BioSolutions similarly launched a patient awareness website with a virtual interactive experience for their “Cut Out Overdoses” campaign to deliver and present their message about the urgency of opioid overdoses.
“I’m so done” was a birth control awareness campaign launched by Agile Therapeutics to market their new dual hormone birth control patch – Twirla. Though unbranded, the campaign created a space on social media for women to participate in discussion about birth control and the drawbacks of existing methods, strategically connecting the campaign to their brand.
3 YouTube is emerging to be the preferred content sharing platform for pharma
Youtube is emerging as the preferred platform for sharing pharma content, with pharma companies increasingly having a dedicated YouTube channel to address the key concerns of their audience. In October 2020, Otsuka America Pharmaceuticals initiated a series of Youtube videos during the pandemic to support conversations and share resources to manage the uncertainty of mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Equally, in response to the CDC warning on the higher rise of COVID-19 in people with existing respiratory conditions, AstraZeneca created a series of explainer videos on their YouTube channel ‘Save Your Breath’ to raise awareness. For Pharma marketers, Youtube is an ideal platform for reaching people with timely, relevant and easily digestible medical information.
4 Films and online documentaries to inspire patients and build disease awareness
In a bid to make a deeper connection with audiences, we’ve seen a rise of pharma organisations sponsoring or even creating a series of short films, that zero in on the lives of actual patients. Patients talk about confronting challenges with a chronic disease, also bringing to light stories of how a loved one dealt with the impact of the disease that enable pharma brands to build an emotive story around their products.
Genentech’s Hemework programme launched a mini-documentary series to tell the stories of five individuals from the haemophilia community that have achieved professional development and career goals in a pledge to inspire other sufferers to dream big. Similarly, ‘A Mystery to Me’ was a docuseries by Argenx Pharma featuring the lives of three patients who live their everyday life with myasthenia gravis. The films aim to not only spread awareness of the disease but also reveal the hidden impact this autoimmune disease has on the lives of the people and the power of medicine to overcome this.
Hurricane has made a number of documentaries for the medical market. Most notably, a series about type one diabetes patients to show that by managing diabetes you can still lead an active lifestyle. In this series we followed teams of type one diabetic patients as they faced physical challenges climbing some of the most challenging mountains in the world. We climbed alongside them up Kilimanjaro, we trekked to Machu Picchu, and we explored the frozen tundra of Iceland. Link to youtube here.
If you’re a pharma marketing professional looking to take your marketing to the next level this year, pharmaceutical industry videos should be top of your list. Harnessing the above tactics will not only supercharge your results, but in a climate when the pharmaceutical industry is expanding its operations like never before, you’ll be sure to be racing ahead of your competitors.