YouTube Can Add Power to Your Entire Pharma Marketing Plan

By | 2017-08-30T15:34:03+00:00 August 22, 2017|How To Be Awesome, Innovation, Viewpoints|

Video is the future—and YouTube can take you there.
The fact is, pharma marketing plans need to include much more video and start leveraging it across multiple channels. YouTube has made it easy to create new video touch points, including communications that can be viewed quickly on mobile devices.

YouTube = Online Video
YouTube is known for their sheer volume of videos. 300 hours of content are uploaded to the site each minute; 3.25 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube; over 1 billion people visit YouTube each month: that’s 1 in 3 people who use the Internet. Chances are your customers are on YouTube, and if you have video, YouTube is a great way to reach them.

2 ways to play on YouTube
Brands can have a presence on YouTube by creating a branded or unbranded channel to feature their video content. YouTube also has a robust advertising platform with skippable pre-roll content to give brands more exposure. Viewers who watch the skippable ads (for at least 30 seconds) are 23 times more likely to visit or subscribe to the brand channel that placed the ad, watch more by that brand, or share the brand video. Viewers who are exposed to ads but who don’t watch to completion are still 10 times more likely to take one of those actions than those who don’t watch.

People watch more than dogs on skateboards
There are 643,000 videos of dogs riding skateboards on YouTube, however, people go to YouTube for other kinds of content as well. Health videos are watched over 200 million times per month: 80% of patients are interested in online health videos and 56% of patients research a health condition directly on YouTube. In the past 10 years, there have been 3.5 billion views of videos on cancer, 2.2 billion on women’s health, and 2.1 billion on heart disease. Other categories have gotten hundreds of millions of plays over the past 10 years. Search interest for health content was up 38% in 2015 on the platform.

Everyone’s on YouTube
YouTube has over a billion users—almost one-third of all people on the Internet—and every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views. 81% of millennials are on YouTube. On mobile alone, YouTube reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds than any broadcast or cable TV network. It’s not just millennials: baby boomers are the fastest-growing demographic in YouTube, with 25% year-over-year growth. Adults 45+ generate 52% of the views on healthcare content. It’s not just patients on YouTube either; 37% of doctors use YouTube when they need information about a brand-name drug.

Pharma can’t be on YouTube? WRONG!
Pharma brands are creating branded and unbranded channels and pre-roll ads. YouTube has created mechanisms to allow pharma brands to communicate ISI in a compliant way. They have 3 ways to accomplish this:

1) Call-to-action overlays, customizable buttons that can link to an ISI page

2) Interactivity cards that allow a brand to take advantage of 5 expandable cards to explain more

3) Locked panels for desktop channels that prominently display ISI (not available on mobile), which is the only YouTube feature that costs

YouTube can deliver greater ROI than TV
YouTube has a 7:1 ROI over TV. If a brand is running ads on TV, it should consider running ads on YouTube to expand the reach. YouTube offers 5 different ways to target ads. These include segmenting by demography and geography, topic, in-market consumers, keyword, and affinity targeting to mirror TV buys. Brands who don’t have TV budgets can buy pre-roll ads on Google Preferred and appear on the top 10% of YouTube content based on views, shares, and engagement.

Things to think about

  • YouTube has created features specifically for pharma marketers that address MLR and ISI requirements.
  • YouTube is one of the most powerful marketing channels for pharma. Are you taking advantage of it?

If you’d like to learn more, contact me at





About the Author:

Colleen Carter
EVP, Business Development


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