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Social Media Analytics & Insights: Challenges and Opportunities for the Pharma industry

Posted by: Kirti Kakad On June 19, 2017 02:57 PM facebook linked in twitter

Despite strict rules and regulations, pharma brands are finding ways to use social media without breaching any laws.

Conventionally, pharma has been using social media for marketing activities, creating disease awareness, educating patients, engaging with patients and healthcare professionals. But there is one area—Social Media Analytics & Insights— that is increasingly becoming important for the pharma industry but has not been fully leveraged.

There is wealth of information available on social networking platforms these days. Patients are quite vocal about their health issues and trust peer discussions/recommendations on social media. 33% of U.S. Consumers Use Social Media for Health Care Info. Even healthcare professionals/physicians are using social media for professional networking, keeping a tab on the discussions done by other physicians. 31% of healthcare professionals use Social Media for professional networking.

Typically, pharma companies have been using Social Media Insights for -

  • understanding brand/drug awareness
  • competitor benchmarking
  • patient behaviour analysis
  • identifying digital KOLs or influencing healthcare professionals
  • key conversation/theme analysis
  • campaign analysis

But there is lot more insightful data that the pharma companies can get from social media, which can help them beyond just formulating messaging and content strategy. Leveraging social media analytics completely can help Pharma companies with insights around the following.

Prescription analysis – Understanding patient conversations around prescriptions. Are patients adhering to the prescription, and if not, why not? What are the other patients suggesting or recommending? Are patients looking for advice from other patients or from physicians? Are physicians sharing suggestions/recommendations? If so, who are they? Can they be leveraged for any marketing activities?

Over the counter (OTC) or Pharmacy conversation analysis – What are the kind of conversations consumers having with the pharmacists about your OTC drugs? Are they switching from your drugs to competitors? If so, why and to which drugs?

Drug side effects/alternative treatment discussions – Get details about the side effects caused by your drug to different patients. Are the side effects other than those mentioned on the package? Are patients looking for alternative treatments? If so, what are those? These alternative treatment conversation analysis, may help drug makers in creating a line extensions.

New Product launch/Product launch in a new market – For launching a new product, the pharma companies need to seek insights to understand market perception around the therapy area, which will not only pave a way to connect well with the target audience but also help in analysing competitor drugs much before the launch. Pre, during and post product launch conversation help to understand consumer behaviour in two different markets for the same product.

Insights for Clinical Trials – Are patients discussing clinical trials around a disease? What are the patient experiences through competitor clinical trials? Where are patients sharing their trial experiences and their expectations? Get insights about the compensations given for trials

Identify new audiences – Be it patients or physicians/healthcare professionals or digital key opinion leaders (KOLs), you can get a list of influential and engaging target audience for planning targeted online campaigns.

Unfortunately, churning out above insights requires quite a bit of manual work. And doing this analysis manually is neither scalable nor feasible considering the following two factors -

  • Huge volumes of data – Million and trillions of social users create and share content on daily basis
  • Noise in the data – Unstructured data brings in irrelevant, inappropriate social data which needs to be cleaned up before analysis

A solution that can work best in this case is to use Machine Learning (ML) algorithms, which can help segregate and categorize as well as eliminate the noise from the social data in no time. The ML algorithm can identify tone and patterns based on the sample mentions given as input. With ML algorithms used for Social Media Analytics & Insights, one can get

  • Answers to precise business needs
  • Data Accuracy and filtering out of noise
  • Detailed analysis from huge complex volumes of data

We think Social Media Analytics, Insights & Intelligence can provide immense opportunities for pharma companies to engage with the right audience, optimize social media campaign spends and recruit qualifying patients for clinical trials.

If you are from pharmaceutical background and/or use social media analytics, do share your thoughts with us. Because we at TechM believe in “Connected World. Connected Experiences”

About Author

Kirti Kakad, Social Solutions Lead

A digital marketer with over 9+ years of experience. Having experience in social media set up & management, ORM, social analytics & insights, campaign management, SEO, SEM and on social media tools like Brandwatch, Sprinklr, Radian6 and so on. Worked with various teams across organization like Corporate Strategy & Marketing, ERP Product Marketing & Communications, Social Media Services & Solutions Practise as well as with the Delivery team.

Tags: DAVID, Connected Industries, Connected Platforms & Solution
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