Tuesday, February 3, 2015

YouTube – Pharma’s Perfect ‘Social’ Partner?

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What’s So Great About Video Anyway?

Video is not like other media. It offers an unbeaten combination of stopping power, depth of emotion, and ease of consumption. Think about Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech at Yankee Stadium. If you just read that speech, you’d think, “hey, that’s nice.” Watch it, and you can’t help but get a little misty-eyed. It even happens to me, and I’m a Phillies phan!

Video offers a powerful medium that can forge an emotional connection with an audience. And using YouTube as a way to disseminate that video gives you an incredible combination of reach and targeting.

That’s a Big Haystack

YouTube is big. How big? Try 6 billion hours of video watched per month. Almost an hour for every man, woman, and child on earth. And according to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults aged 18-34 than any cable network. There are some more impressive stats here, if you’re interested, but I think I made my point: YouTube is big.

Size isn’t everything, you may say. I agree completely! But you should know, the six billon hours of video aren’t all about cats. There are millions of hours of healthcare video on YouTube, most of it user-generated content (UGC).

So whatever condition or treatment you care to name, someone is on YouTube looking for it, and someone else is posting video about it. The conversation is already happening–you just need to join it!

Find the Needle [[Move the Needle]]

Here’s where it gets interesting. Yes, YouTube is huge. Yes, the vast majority of users aren’t interested in your brand. BUT the small percentage who may be interested in your brand may still constitute an audience of thousands – or millions.

And, in contrast to broadcast, YouTube viewers are actively looking for particular types of content, using techniques and tools developed for general internet search. They are looking for very refined content, like ‘melanoma patient testimonials’. And they are finding it. They are not waiting for content of interest to happen by, they are grabbing that content. In this haystack, the needle finds you!

The upshot of it is, you can target your content very tightly in order to maximize effectiveness and efficiency. Effective optimization of your titles and descriptions will give your content a leg up over the sea of competing videos, most of which, as I mentioned, will be UGC.

You can also amp up your viewership with targeted ad buys. YouTube offers several options, including pre-roll ads (known as TrueView) and in-site search ads that work a lot like Google pay-per-click search ads. And of course, Google search can also be leveraged to direct general web traffic to your YouTube content.

In case you’re worried about regulatory issues—and if you’re reading this, you probably are—you should know that YouTube has made it possible to customize your brand page to include your boilerplate Indication(s) and Important Safety Information (ISI) statements. This information also appears on the ‘view’ page of an individual video that’s being played.

Even so, we’ve been very pleased with the performance of the branded YouTube properties we’ve created for our clients. In one case, we’ve had more than 520,000 views of branded videos in just 6 months. And these are quality views, too – not 5 second hits. All of our clients are thrilled with the viewer engagement and high efficiency they’ve realized with branded YouTube channels, and so are we.

About the author: Tim R. Garde is the Chief Operating Officer of Calcium and is relentless in his pursuit of excellence in life sciences communications. Tim couples decades of experience in brand launches, patient communications, healthcare professional initiatives, payer strategies, and retail distribution with a passion for digital innovation as a way to improve patient outcomes. Above all, Tim believes that a team-focused, collaborative approach allows team members to shine, and delivers the best value and quality to his client. Tim's industry leadership activities include being a member of The 2012 Top 100 Most Inspiring People in the Pharmaceutical Industry, PharmaVoice July/August 2012, and regular speaking/lecturer engagements regarding healthcare and digital marketing. Tim earned his BS degree at the Smeal College of Business, The Pennsylvania State University, and he also attended The Wharton School Executive Business Program. He currently serves on the Smeal Alumni Society Board and Board of Visitors for the Samson Colleges of Health Sciences, University of the Sciences.

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