Digital round up: Cambridge Analytica scandal hits Facebook, 3 leaders in pharma social engagement

A look back at some of this week’s most eyecatching stories, including the scandal around Cambridge Analytica’s unauthorised data harvesting for the Trump election campaign.

Report reviews big pharma’s social media activity

A new review of the pharma industry’s social media activity reveals that three companies are out in the lead – and that the overall amount of content and posts has dropped since last year.

The Social Check-up report, from Ogilvy Healthworld in partnership with Pulsar, launches its fourth such analysis of social media usage across 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. The report looks at how the companies are producing content, their posting behaviour and their weighted engagement scores.

“The Social Check-up reveals a growing maturity in pharma’s use of social channels, since our first report in 2014, reflecting increasing confidence and experience in the social space,” explains Ogilvy Healthworld’s Social Media Director, Chloe Partikas. “Using Pulsar’s social listening platform, which captured year-on-year data, it is clear there has been a reduction in the overall number of posts and a huge shift in top performers between 2016 and 2017.”

Novo Nordisk takes the lead in 2017
The Social Check-up reveals some significant shifts in user engagement across pharma social media within the top 20 positions. Novo Nordisk was the most engaging pharma company on social media in 2017 – achieving the highest weighted engagement score across all 20 companies – followed by Johnson & Johnson and Novartis. Most improved engagement has been demonstrated by Merck and Johnson & Johnson.

Growth in community size and reduction in posting
All pharma social communities grew significantly, with Instagram showing the largest percentage increase and Facebook the most ‘new follower’ acquisitions. In comparison, all social channels have seen decreases in posting frequency from 2016, with the exception of YouTube, which saw an increase of 8%. This reflects a growing realisation that quantity doesn’t mean quality. More pharma companies are focusing their content production time on making less, but more carefully crafted, content, the report explains.

Despites a strong growth in Instagram use, the report reveals that use of Facebook remains the most consistent and is still the most popular social channel globally. It is also the most engaging social platform with the highest number of average engagements per post (524). As the report highlights, this is in part because it has the most sophisticated paid targeting capabilities, offering the ability to reach relevant audiences such as HCPs, health specialists and patients.

Average engagements per post:
FB 524
Instagram 190
Twitter 61
YouTube 3

Data source: Ogilvy and Pulsar

“It is clear that the pharma social media space is changing. Pharma is reaching social media maturity, posting more strategically and tailoring content to the channel and audiences,” reiterated Partikas. “The social media space is becoming ‘pay to play’ and companies are embracing paid social to ensure their content visible in a very crowded space. Companies must continue to adapt their strategies to stay ahead of the game.”

Facebook CEO apologises for Cambridge Analytica scandal

This week has seen growing anger at Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. It has emerged that political data specialists Cambridge Analytica gained unauthorised access to millions of Facebook users’ data in order to influence voting decisions in the 2016 US elections on behalf of the Trump campaign.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has apologised this week, saying “we made mistakes” and vowed to change how it share data with third parties. A #DeleteFacebook movement has sprung up online, but the long-term damage to the company’s reputation and user numbers is yet to be seen.

It seems likely, however, that the actions of corporations engaging in social media, and using social media data, will come under greater suspicion.

Cyber attack warning

Meanwhile, against the background of some serious cyber attacks, the NHS and digital health companies have been told they must learn from other industries to secure devices and systems.

A Royal Academy of Engineering report, ‘Cyber Safety and Resilience’, says connected health devices could transform care in hospitals and patients’ homes.

But there are many cybersecurity risks, ranging from ransomware attacks that disrupt care delivery, and data breaches caused by malicious or accidental action that risk the privacy and integrity of patient data.

Rapid growth in consumer, wearable, and mobile technology used in healthcare is increasing these risks, but there is a lack of awareness of how to manage them.