A beginner’s guide to digital pharma: part 7 – YouTube

Faisal Ahmed and Paul Tunnah


Continued from “A beginner’s guide to digital pharma: part 6 – LinkedIn

First things first! This article on YouTube has to start with a video!

Click here to see the history of YouTube:


YouTube started life only recently, in 2005, but can you imagine watching and sharing videos online without it now? It permeates every aspect of social and business life. For example, as the hot weather started over the last few weeks in the UK I decided to assemble my shiny new barbecue, dreaming of eating that tasty grilled burger. However, things didn’t go to plan with attaching the gas canister and referring to the manual seemed to only make things more confusing. So I turned to YouTube to find a video tutorial and voila – I found hundreds of videos on how to do it. Burger on!


“More video is uploaded to YouTube in 60 days than the 3 major US networks created in 60 years!”


The rise and rise of online videos cannot be ignored, as it’s such a powerful way of sharing information and learning. With over 35 hours of video being uploaded every minute YouTube is the stand out leader in this field. Some other key statistics on YouTube are:

• YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google.

• More video is uploaded to YouTube in 60 days than the three major US networks created in 60 years!

• 70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US.

• YouTube is localised in 25 countries across 43 languages.

• The demographic is broad, with a high volume from 18 to 54 year olds.

• It reached over 700 billion playbacks in 2010.

• YouTube mobile gets over 100 million views a day.

• The YouTube player is embedded across tens of millions of websites.

• More than 50% of videos on it have been rated or include comments from the community.

It’s quite simply another social network website you cannot ignore, which already features millions of videos on healthcare, so it’s time to jump in. For example, I’ve sat in various meetings with pharma clients who have searched for their product on the site and found videos uploaded by patients and other users on how to take their medicine or what effects it has. The scary part is that almost all of these medical videos are showing incorrect information!


“The scary part is that almost all of these medical videos are showing incorrect information!”


Finding videos of interest is easy. To search simply type a keyword, subject, or video title into the box at the top and click on the “Search” button to return a results page, which can then be filtered through expanding the “Search Options” menu. You can therefore amend the results to see the most viewed videos, most recently updated and so on.

So if you’ve got valuable, accurate healthcare information then you have to get involved by creating your channel and sharing videos. It’s really simple to get started:

• Click on “Create Account” and fill in the details (usually takes a couple of minutes) to create your “channel”. If you have a gmail account you use this to create your account (but be warned, this links your gmail address to the account and it is very difficult to later change this so think about which gmail to use if you are a company!).

Once you have created an account you can then subscribe to other channels, comment on videos or link up with other friends on YouTube a bit like Twitter and Facebook.

• To subscribe to someone else’s video stream click the “Subscribe” button above the video or on their channel. Their latest videos and recent shared activity will be automatically delivered to your homepage, so you can stay up-to-date with everything they do.

• To share a video click on the “Share” button beneath it to get the URL code to post onto any other social media website, or you can also click “Embed” to get the html code to play the video through your own blog or website (although some users may disable this).

• To upload a video simply click on “Upload” at the top of the website and YouTube will walk you through the process, noting the caveats below.

When uploading, videos can be:

• In a wide variety of formats

• Up to 2 GB in size

• Up to 15 minutes in length

• In high definition

As a company or product you should really customise your channel with your own branding so the user knows this is a trusted website. There’s a great video which talks you through the “branding” process for your YouTube channel:



“As a company or product you should really customise your channel with your own branding so the user knows this is a trusted website.”


A great example of such customisation within the world of pharma can be found with Johnson and Johnson’s channel. If you’re finding it difficult to create the custom feel you want then get in touch and we’ll try to help!

You can also promote your videos by using the advertising features on YouTube as well. It’s as simple as using Google Adwords, so you can get started by clicking here – https://ads.youtube.com. Don’t forget YouTube videos are automatically integrated into Google search results so you’re missing a trick if you don’t have a channel featuring video content.

And bear in mind you can track all the data on your videos by clicking the “Insight stats” tab above the video, which will show you cool things like how many views each video is getting and can also help you to understand your audience better in terms of demographics.

So can you afford to not have a YouTube channel?

However, we should also mention (especially as we’re sadly not paid by YouTube!) that there are other video channels that are worth checking out, such as Vimeo.com, which is great for HD (high definition) videos, or Dailymotion.com, which is Europe’s biggest video site and offers similar functionality to YouTube.

As always, please do tweet us @pharmaphorum if you have any questions or come unstuck, or get in touch through the site contact form. We’re interested to also hear of your experiences with YouTube, so feel free to add your comments below, or check out our own YouTube channel!


“So can you afford to not have a YouTube channel?”


And finally, as YouTube did start life aimed at “viral” videos (if you’re not familiar with the term it refers to a video that it so catchy that it shows massive uptake and exponential increase in viewing figures) here’s one of the most popular videos on the site, with over 300 million views:


Read part 8 –  “Emerging channels” here

About the authors:

Faisal Ahmed is one of a handful of people in the UK that has been involved with digital for over 12 years, having been part of the start-up team at amazon, defining how we shop online. Faisal has launched digital strategies for 90 football Clubs, the ECB and WRC. He also launched Playboy’s mobile and social media platforms in 2006 and one of the first online social networks. Over the last 2 years Faisal has been Head of Digital at a leading healthcare agency winning over 15 awards and bringing to life both one of the first mobile apps and augmented reality in healthcare. Faisal can be found Tweeting here @sickonthenet.

Paul Tunnah is Founder and Managing Director of www.pharmaphorum.com, the dynamic online information and discussion portal for the pharmaceutical industry featuring news, articles, events / company listings and online discussion. For queries he can be reached through the site contact form or on Twitter @pharmaphorum.

How should pharma be using YouTube?