What’s the big deal, you ask? Well, for years brand marketers in the pharmaceutical industry have resorted to unbranded and reminder ad-style content (content featuring the name of the brand but not the condition it has been approved to treat) when engaging on Facebook.
The big deal with Bayer’s recent campaign for its multiple sclerosis drug Betaseron, is that the ads being served on Facebook feature the brand name, its indication (relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis), and its Important Safety Information (required by FDA whenever the first two appear together). This is possible thanks to Facebook’s introduction of a box of scrolling text at the bottom of the ad, allowing the full ISI (about 650 words) to fit within the platform’s ad specs. This is standard practice for many banner ad offerings from other publishers, but its introduction on Facebook signals a new push by the social media giant to better accommodate the industry’s needs. In fact, the company recently created a sales team dedicated specifically to working with biopharmaceutical companies.
Other elements that Bayer worked with the Facebook team to implement for the Betaseron ad include a Call Now button that users can tap to contact a live nurse-staffed call center, the ability to sign up to receive more information via email, and targeting to reach people interested in MS. According to Bayer, the ads have increased its number of leads while decreasing cost-per-lead by 96%.
We expect this is just the beginning of an expanded relationship between Facebook and pharma. The attraction for brands is primarily Facebook’s ability to laser-target a relevant audience within its 1.7 billion monthly users. The attraction for Facebook is, well, money: last year the pharmaceutical industry spent over $5 billion on advertising.
Get ready to see a lot more prescription drug ads in your newsfeed and don’t be surprised if other social platforms follow suit (we hear Twitter could use a bigger slice of that $5 billion…).