Pharma's corporate participation in social media is rapidly evolving

21 April, 2015

New report by Ogilvy Healthworld highlights who leads the way in integrated social media marketing

Key findings from the report:
  • The average number of tweets by pharma has gone up by 530% since 2013 and twitter followers have increased by nearly 300%
  • The pharma companies with the biggest communities aren’t necessarily the most effective at engaging with their users and generating interest
  • Followers reward pharma companies who post frequently and engage continuously – those that keep their networks fresh with regular updates have the highest interaction from the community
LONDON, UK — Pharma’s corporate participation in social media is rapidly evolving, according to a new report published today by Ogilvy Healthworld, part of Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide, the health behaviour specialists of Ogilvy. The report “Connecting the dots: Which Pharma Companies are Succeeding in the Social Media Space?,” is the first of its kind to provide insights into which pharma companies are leading the way in integrated social media marketing strategies.

The report reveals a small group of companies are ‘connecting the dots’ and leading the way in social media. They are providing useful content that is both relevant to their marketing objectives and audience needs. They are engaging with consumers, healthcare professionals and media consistently on all of their networks in a way that encourages followers to contribute to the conversation.

The report also draws some conclusions on social media best practice. To succeed, pharma companies need to be brave and prepared to have honest and meaningful conversations about their brands. This involves developing strategies and mapping out potential scenarios with internal stakeholders to respond as quickly as possible to their followers. They should aim to provide content that is relevant to their audience also have a clear set of engagement guidelines to help manage difficult questions.

“We know that some pharma companies have been cautious in their approach to social media, but our report clearly demonstrates a dramatic and successful increase in activity,” said Rebecca Canvin, Social Media Manager at Ogilvy Healthworld, adding: “social media has changed the way pharma companies communicate – it allows them to build corporate reputation and engage in genuine, meaningful conversations with audiences. For companies who want to stand out from the crowd it’s time to be brave, get personal, educate and integrate social media into their wider marketing strategy.”

The data for the report was gathered by monitoring 10 of the most popular networks for 14 pharma companies across six categories: social presence, social network, community size, activity, engagement and activity. The profile of each company was reviewed for one week per month for three months during 2014 to ensure sufficient data was collected.

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This is Ogilvy Healthworld’s second pharma social media audit to analyse the corporate social media activity of 14 pharma companies. Ogilvy Healthworld analysed the profile of each company across 10 of the most popular social networks, reviewing one week of their social media activity per month for May, July and September in 2014. Six categories were analysed:
  • Social presence - How many social networks was the company on?
  • Social network - How simple and intuitive was the connection between social networks?
  • Community size - How big was the community?
  • Activity - Was the content kept fresh with regular updates?
  • Engagement - Were the companies engaging their users and generating interest?
  • Virality - Was the content spread around the social sphere?
About Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide
Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide (—the health behavior change experts of Ogilvy & Mather (—committed to creativity and effectiveness in healthcare communications, everywhere. Our global headquarters are in Parsippany, NJ, with additional hubs in New York, London, Paris and Singapore. We maintain multiple additional offices in markets critical to our clients' global aspirations. Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide provides marketing services including behavioral insights, content strategy and management, digital, interactive and new media services, marketing analytics and research, media planning and buying, medical education, payer marketing and market access, professional advertising and promotion, public affairs and relations, relationship marketing, sales training development, social media and social listening, and wellness and consumer advertising and promotion. The network also offers scientific communications and publications planning services through a wholly owned separate legal entity. The organization houses and maintains individual Ogilvy CommonHealth and Ogilvy Healthworld brand identities within the marketplace and is a WPP company (NASDAQ: WPPGY,

About WPP
WPP is the world’s largest communications services group with billings of US$76 billion and revenues of US$19 billion. Through its operating companies, the Group provides a comprehensive range of advertising and marketing services including advertising & media investment management; data investment management; public relations & public affairs; branding & identity; healthcare communications; direct, digital, promotion & relationship marketing and specialist communications. The company employs over 188,000 people (including associates and investments) in over 3,000 offices across 111 countries. For more information, visit

WPP was named Holding Company of the Year at the 2014 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for the fourth year running. WPP was also named, for the fourth consecutive year, the World's Most Effective Holding Company in the 2015 Effie Effectiveness Index, which recognizes the effectiveness of marketing communications.

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