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Issue 518
June 20
Social Media
72% of physicians follow peers on social media
Source: DHC Group

The Digital Health Coalition (DHC) teamed up with Sermo to conduct research into physicians' use of social media. The organization is hosting a webinar to review the findings and gave the Klick Wire an exclusive scoop on the data.

72% of Physicians Follow Peers

The webinar will talk about how physicians use social and their posting habits. You have to sign up to get the full story but it's fascinating.

Sermo and Doximity Rule Professional Social

Not that long ago Medscape would have been higher on this list. It is important to point out that this research was conducted using the Sermo RealTime survey tool so there is some selection bias, however the top two platforms are head and shoulders above the rest of the field. 

Chart created from data in DHC webinar presentation

The survey also asked about public social platforms (Facebook et. al.) and that data will be released in the webinar

Cases Top Content Types

When asked what content they shared, physicians started with treatment information which likely includes cases as well.

Chart created from data in DHC webinar presentation

This webinar is based on both the recently released Sermo report and fresh insights from 123 HCP respondents in June (now that's fresh data). Sign up today and even if you can't make the webinar you'll get access afterwards.

Read the full story from DHC Group
Sensationalism sells
Source: The Markup

Here's another story that sensationalizes standard web technologies we take for granted. In this case it's the Facebook (now Meta) pixel being used on 33 of the top 100 hospital websites.

Sensationalized Language

The Markup tested the websites of Newsweek’s top 100 hospitals in America. On 33 of them we found the tracker, called the Meta Pixel, sending Facebook a packet of data whenever a person clicked a button to schedule a doctor’s appointment. The data is connected to an IP address—an identifier that’s like a computer’s mailing address and can generally be linked to a specific individual or household—creating an intimate receipt of the appointment request for Facebook.


The authors have carefully crafted their language to make it sound like Facebook is harvesting all the data in the interactions while remaining technically correct. In reality the connection is encrypted and Facebook can only match the hash, not the actual patient or details of the interaction. 

Image adapted for email from The Markup source
Encryption Minimized

Halfway through the article the authors mention encryption once.

The Meta Pixel “hashed” those personal details—obscuring them through a form of cryptography—before sending them to Facebook. But that hashing doesn’t prevent Facebook from using the data. In fact, Meta explicitly uses the hashed information to link pixel data to Facebook profiles. 


The authors try to undermine the statement of encryption throughout the article and imply that Facebook is somehow profiting from patient data directly.

Having said that, Facebook is using the pixel to allow the hospitals to better target their own patients with relevant ads. In that way are getting benefit from the data (they just don't see it). The anti-advertising researchers aren't completely wrong, but they greatly exaggerate the data going to Facebook (Meta) for their own purposes (clickbait).

Questioning Their Motives

We question why the researchers targeted only Facebook when looking at cookies on these websites. A quick review using a free online cookie analytics tool found the following on one of the sites' home pages (no we won't say which one but it was literally the first one we looked at):


AppNexus sync, not sure what this does


Google DoubleClick for display ads


Twitter, same usage as Facebook


Facebook, per this story


Google's YouTube, for tracking video history


Adobe, likely for experience management


Callrail for analytics regarding phone calls


LinkedIn, same usage as Facebook


You get the idea. We wonder what the motivation is to single out Facebook when so many cookies are on most hospital websites. We're not going to conduct research into all the sites, but we will leave the reader with the question as to why this laser focus from the researchers?

For digital marketers this continues the bad press for Meta and looks to stir up outrage over common marketing data practices used by these hospitals. In some ways the end of third party cookies can't come fast enough.

In other news Phreesia is actually using health data for media targeting. Expect this to get way less media attention than the Facebook story because of the "pile-on" effect in journalism. 

Read the full story from The Markup
Market Research
ESG important but not driving healthcare
Source: GlobalData

This report on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues from GlobalData covers a lot of ground. If ESG is your thing, then grab a copy. For everyone else, healthcare (they didn't break out pharmaceuticals) is close to the bottom of affected industries:

Image adapted for email from GlobalData source

Read the full story from GlobalData
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Email takes over from social for direct purchase
Source: Cheetah Digital

Cheetah worked with Econsultancy on a global report on digital consumers earlier this year. This version is focused on the US and highlights the differences. The full study included 5,404 respondents globally but they don't break out how many are from the US.

Email Takes the Crown for Purchases

Last year social posts and ads were the top sources of purchase behavior but in 2022 email has taken the top spot. Social posts dropped slightly and social ads grew but these look to be inside margins of error for the study.

Image adapted for email from Cheetah Digital source
Financials Come First for Offers

When asked how positively they would respond to different offers from brands the financial ones are firmly on top.

Image adapted for email from Cheetah Digital source
Action vs. Opinion

That's just like, your opinion, man (meme reference).

As so common in digital research it's hard to separate opinion from action. While half of respondents say they buy things from social ads, they are worried about many elements of these platforms.

Image adapted for email from Cheetah Digital source

Email may have picked up some slack from social (or the data could be a blip) but regardless marketers need to look at all of the highest performing channels. Just keep in mind the sensitivity of some subjects and design appropriately.

Read the full story from Cheetah Digital
Market Research
AI dominates marketers' plans
Source: Dentsu

A report from Dentsu is based on research from B2B International consisting of 423 CMOs in the US and 211 from Canada. Only 4% are from healthcare and pharmaceuticals though. 

AI Top Three

Artificial intelligence, chatbots (which rely on AI), and machine learning (which is a type of AI) are the top three investments over the next 12 months according to CMOs.

Image adapted for email from Dentsu source
84% Say Budgets Up

This data is fresh, conducted in March & April this year and CMOs were bullish. 84% say their budgets will increase in the next 12 months.

Image adapted for email from Dentsu source
Legacy Companies Suffer from Inertia

Most pharma is staunchly in the "Legacy" bucket according to the Dentsu splits. These companies are struggling with customer experience integration and the inertia of the organization.

Image adapted for email from Dentsu source

This data is from all industries, led by retail, but  at the very least gives CMOs a touchpoint for comparison with other firms.

Read the full story from Dentsu
Social top platform for ESG messaging
Source: Magna

A report from Magna, commissioned by Twitter, looks at ESG and how it affects different industries. Not surprisingly considering the sponsor they find that social is a perfect channel for engaging audiences.

When asked what actions on social companies can take to show their ESG relevance:

Chart created from data in Magna report

These messages also need to be consistent. A one-time campaign isn't enough. A quote from one of the interviews sums it up nicely:

“…consistency would be a way to be authentic.
When brands start adopting the latest cultural
trends…for instance, Black Lives Matter…And saying, ‘We support this. We support that.’ Then, it starts to feel inauthentic.”


Read the full story from Magna
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SMS messages effective reminder tool
Source: HealthLeaders

This report is for providers looking to reduce no-show rates but touches on something pharma marketers care about: reminders. 

Image adapted for email from HealthLeaders source

Appointment reminders alone is so effective, we’ve seen practices reduce their patient no-show rates by 40%-50% within weeks of implementation


With forgetfulness one of the top reasons patients forget to adhere to their prescriptions this is a  quick reminder that reminders work. 

Read the full story from HealthLeaders
16-30s sweet spot for podcast ads
Source: Marketing Charts

We've seen a lot of news about podcast ads as the new announcer-read radio format. They have a place to be sure with commercial-minded influencers. But what length to use?

Image adapted for email from Marketing Charts source

Read the full story from Marketing Charts
Social Media
Facebook updating algorithm to be more like TikTok
Source: The Verge

The Verge reports on a leaked Facebook memo that talks about updating its algorithm to be more like TikTok... i.e. more addictive.

The memo shared inside of Facebook (Meta) highlights this more egalitarian sharing and it lists three foci: 


Make Reels successful


Build world-class recommendations technology


Unlock messaging-based sharing


The main story talks about the recommendations tech which is important but pharma marketers might want to keep an eye on the message-based sharing. If Facebook enhances its 1-to-1 sharing we might want to leverage that for peer sharing in patient networks.

Oh, and expect that if Facebook does the same thing as TikTok that you'll see headlines about how terrible that is while they remain silent about TikTok (bitter much? -Ed.).

Read the full story from The Verge
Walgreens wants to help with clinical trials
Source: MM+M

Our upstart namesake over at MM+M (they call themselves "The Wire" -Ed.) reports on Walgreens' entry into the clinical trial recruitment arena. Their approach is to try and help sponsors get to more diverse populations.

“Walgreens trusted community presence across the nation, combined with our enterprise-wide data and health capabilities, enables us to pioneer a comprehensive solution that makes health options, including clinical trials, more accessible, convenient and equitable,” said Ramita Tandon, chief clinical trials officer, Walgreens. “Through the launch of our clinical trials services, we can provide another offering for patients with complex or chronic conditions in their care journey, while helping sponsors advance treatment options for the diverse communities we serve. This is yet another way we are building our next growth engine of consumer-centric healthcare solutions.”


This pharmacy-based approach does seem like a great option for trial organizers who need to break out of their provider-based sources.

Read the full story from MM+M
Market Research
The Great Resignation is perhaps regional
Source: Gallup

This report has a lot of data, both global and regional, about how workers are feeling in 2022. The data on job shopping was interesting and seems to imply that the "great resignation" is perhaps regional. The US and Canada were far ahead of the global average of 45% of workers saying now is a good time to look for a job.

Image adapted for email from Gallup source

For most readers this report is of casual interest at best but for people leaders or HR folks it's quite interesting.

Read the full story from Gallup
Brand love comes in all industries
Source: Hootsuite

A report from Hootsuite and Talkwalker looks at high-profile brands and the love they generate. Not surprisingly pharma companies aren't on the list. Oral-B the dental health CPG brand is in the top 10 though. 

Image adapted for email from Hootsuite source

For marketers wanting to stay on top of what makes a loved brand this is a good, snackable, report.

Read the full story from Hootsuite
FDA Roundup
Stories from and about the FDA
kw-bullet Remarks by Commissioner Califf to the 2022 FDLI Annual Conference
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