To state the obvious, 2022 was a transformative year across the social media landscape. From the introduction of new technologies, to a sharper focus on privacy concerns, and a shakeup in major platform ownership, things look very different now than they did 12 months ago. To say the least, 2023 will be an exciting time for HCP social media marketing. Let’s explore what’s on the horizon for this year!
Facebook & Instagram
Facebook had a tough year in 2022; from revenue being down due to the Apple iOS ATT privacy tracking and trying to keep up with newer platforms such as TikTok, Facebook had less than a stellar year.
One of the biggest things that Meta is looking to push more of in 2023 is click-to message ads. Click-to ads are ads on Facebook and Instagram that start a thread on Messenger, WhatsApp, or Instagram so they can communicate with customers directly. According to an article on Social Media Today, this is one of the fastest growing ads products with a $9 billion annual run rate. Imagine as a pharma brand and engaging with healthcare professionals (HCPs) directly regarding your product maybe everyday questions can be answered from the brand themselves to help serve the HCPs better the very next day! Talk about great service!
The next big thing for Meta in 2023 is the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) worlds. If you haven’t read our previous blog post on AR versus VR and need to catch up the link is here. What’s on the horizon for Meta, is focusing on AR glasses in partnership with Ray Ban. Now these are not expected until 2024, however, these are too cool to not talk about. Ray Ban has built glasses and sunglasses that will allow wearers to be able to take video and photos. This feature not only offers users a new way to capture the moment but allows them to stay in the moment without reaching for the phone or camera. These glasses allow the user to pause music and increase volume like the air pods by simply tapping the side. The user will then be able to share that video or photo right to Facebook from their phone.
Staying on the AR versus VR topic, Facebook has also established a connection with the VR app, Horizon Worlds where users can share their videos from the platform to Instagram Reels. Meta I am sure will try to push the VR world further as the year goes on.
For Instagram, expect Reels on Reels on Reels. The fastest growing way to digest content for users has been in a video format like TikTok. Right now, users can find their Reels right in the middle of their icons on the bottom of the screen and start scrolling through videos. Pharma brands can start using Reels and then use those same videos for TikTok and vice versa. This usually helps in the pharma space because we all know that getting creative approved can be a hassle! Some tips for getting started on Reels (as this might be new to our readers) is to use relevant hashtags (and lots of them), pick trending sounds to use with your videos, and pick a cover a photo that will grab HCPs’ attention as they scroll.
One of my favorite updates for the Instagram platform is new AR/interactive ad formats. Whether its 3D ads, GIFs, or other ways, these new advertisement styles will engage users on a whole new level. I know in healthcare marketing we are trying to play catch up when it comes to social, but if you are going to play in the social media sandbox, you need to make a splash and have fun creative for HCPs to learn more about your product. Thinking out loud, and I am no creative mastermind, but what if a pharma brand designs creative for HCPs in a Family Feud style ad that engages the user to pick what they think top answers to frequently asked questions or, if there were no limitations, it would be awesome to see a brand develop an AR/VR creative. For example, I could see a big impact if a pharma brand with an allergy drug creates an advertisement that allows the user to feel what a stuffy nose and constant sneezing feels like, or even what the world looks like through swollen eyes. Then showcasing the stark contrast after taking their medicine!
Again, I am not a tech guru or even understand how that could work within certain platforms, but if a brand could make that happen, I would be honored to test it and maybe take a little bit of credit, but I digress.
Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, where do we begin with you. Whether you’re a fan of Elon Musk or not, I am sure we can all agree that the platform has been interesting to watch over the last few months of 2022.
In the fall of 2022, Musk and Twitter held a town hall for their advertisers and Musk stated that the platform is working on being able to handle more video. I think this will bring more options to Twitter whether it be for content or for ads but most likely both. Since the majority of the social media content, we see and scroll through is video, it would make sense for Twitter to catch up to other major platforms such as TikTok and Instagram.
During this town hall, Musk also mentioned that increased character limits were potentially going to be available as well. As I write this blog post, a mockup of how those Tweets would look within a user’s Twitter feed has surfaced. As I read the article from Social Media Today, the Tweet would show the first 280 characters as normal and then show a button at the bottom that reads, ‘show more’ which would click to reveal the rest of the Tweet up to 4,000 characters.
The biggest update for Twitter that has the internet swirling since its initial rollout has been the verification program also known as Twitter Blue. Just in case you aren’t up to speed at this point, Musk and Co. tried to rollout a $8 verification program with little to no verification on the backend. A big mishap recently took place when users impersonated Eli Lilly and tweeted that insulin is now free! This small Tweet caused Eli Lilly’s stock to plummet within a single day. Since then, Twitter has pulled the program back and made some tweaks, although not quietly as there was that squabble with Apple and the App Store’s 30% fee. However, since then the Twitter team has made some changes to the program; it will $8 if the user requests a blue checkmark on the web, and $11 if done through an iOS device to help cover that Apple fee. There will now be different color checkmarks as well:
- Blue checkmarks will be for individuals
- Gold checkmarks will be for brands
- Gray checkmarks will be for government accounts
I am sure you are thinking, “But Ethan, what do I get with my fancy blue checkmark and $8/month? And how can I be sure that I will not be impersonated by a scam artist?” Great questions my friends! The benefits included as part belonging to this checkmark club are greater visibility for your replies and mentions, as well as elevated account search result ranking. You will also see less ads than the rest of us non-verified users and will be able to post longer videos.
It’s important to note that Twitter is very much in a state of flux right now, with newly proposed policy changes and platform enhancements disappearing almost as quickly as they appear. In short, it’s too early to for advertisers and brands to take anything other than a “wait and see” approach.
Personally, I think Twitter will come back around. It’s too important to the healthcare world when it comes to advertising and pushing content to patients and consumers. I think with video becoming an option and the ability to craft longer form Tweets, it will bring users and brands back to the platform. I am excited to see what the new Twitter will look like as I think it was overdue for change.
The winner in the whole Twitter mess has been LinkedIn. Sure, Mastodon and Hive have increased their users, but LinkedIn is where advertisers can go with their Twitter ad dollars and utilize that spend effectively. LinkedIn has made some major updates to their campaign manager throughout the year, but the platform has recently come out with some updates that I think will play a major role in 2023.
LinkedIn is expanding their Group Identity Audience Targeting to all ad types now. This would make the advertiser put more trust into LinkedIn’s on-platform data based on job title, seniority, industry, and even interests. Now this is still based on what is being listed in a user’s profile so we have to take it with a grain of salt (because as we all know, anyone can sign up as an HCP).
LinkedIn is also working to expand ways advertisers can use the platform’s Conversion API and integrate their first-party data with the platform for campaigns. This would be great for advertisers that are able to collect data from their customers and then upload that data to further target them or send that data to a data provider like IQVIA to match on first and then upload that data to the platform for their social media campaigns. Overall, I think LinkedIn is growing their capabilities especially in the first-party data sector and if you have uploaded first party data you know somedays it can be painful.
We saved the newest for last. We have spoken about TikTok in the past and how HCPs are using the platform every day, and since then, TikTok has of course been updated with new features and rollouts. However, I want to focus on the basics because I feel like TikTok is still new to pharma and healthcare.
If you are looking to start advertising on TikTok and not sure where to start, I recommend the TikTok for Business Academy. I have taken a few myself and have been impressed, the academy is relatively short and a “take at your own pace” format which I thought was highly effective. You do have to answer some questions along the way but there isn’t or at least I haven’t encountered a ‘final’ exam yet.
Another good way to learn more about a platform is to actually be on the platform yourself. I promise it won’t take you long to get served an ad and most of the time you may not even know you are watching one. My hot take for 2023 at the moment is that TikTok will become a major player in the HCP social media marketing sandbox and as it will allow advertisers to become creative. I challenge all pharma brands to try out TikTok and see how creative they can be!
There you have it! All my thoughts on the coming year within the major platforms for social media for healthcare marketing. You may agree, you may disagree, but I hope either way we can have a conversation if one of those updates works for you and your brand.