How digital content is shaping the scope of healthcare marketing

Issue 2 2019

"How digital content is shaping the scope of healthcare marketing"

On average every 60 seconds, we generate approximately 3.3 million Facebook posts; nearly half a million tweets; 65,000 Instagram posts, there are over 120 new LinkedIn accounts created and YouTube now houses more video content than you could watch in a lifetime!1

The point is, the sheer amount of content generated, created and distributed to achieve a reaction and engage a viewer is staggering. And it’s no longer purely social, with mainstream brands and businesses embracing the power of digital in ever increasing numbers.

The 2018 Sensis social media report shows 79% of Australians use social media, with 47% of small/medium businesses and 60% of larger businesses using content to build engagement and trust with their customers.2

Further to this, currently 23% of marketing budgets in Australia are allocated to content, while 36% of marketers forecast an increase over the next year, according to the Content Marketing Institute.3
But how many of those are healthcare companies? And how likely in our highly regulated world – will content marketing play a comparable role?

When you consider some of the statistics that directly relate to healthcare and issues such as choosing a doctor or clinic, it won’t be long before digital content will be the ‘new norm’ in health industry marketing.

The advent of ‘Google Doc’ and the ease in which ‘self-diagnosis’ is initiated online, has enabled patients to be more informed about their own conditions.

The fact is that 35% of adults in the US have gone online specifically to “figure out” some medical condition. And 59% of Internet users looked online for health information in the past year.4

Incredibly, searching for health-related information has now become the third most popular online activity,5 as content providers are helping people better answer their growing health concerns.

In Australia specifically, 75% of users reported that information sourced online through their smartphone helped them make decisions about local professional health services.5

Our need for immediacy is creating trends that continue to shape the way patients look for, find, and interact specifically with doctors, treatment centres and hospitals.

In fact, 72% of internet users looked online for health information of one kind or another within the past year.4

In late 2015, Google declared that 1 in 20 Google searches were for health-related information.6

26% of internet users went online in the last year to read or watch someone else’s experience with a health or medical issue.4

16% of internet users say they went online in the last year to find others who might share the same health concerns.4

The last two points prove that socially, we are becoming more inclined to share experiences and actually seek peer-to-peer support from those prepared to exchange stories about their ‘real’ health issues and impart knowledge about what to expect from treatment, the process of care and even the drugs involved moving forward.

The companies that help facilitate this patient support and activity could be the ones that benefit most from digital content. As they embrace the trend of 90% of top performing content marketers who put their audience’s informational needs ahead of their company’s sales or promotional message.7

The strength of this argument leads to one undeniable fact – that most certainly digital content can play an important role in the future of healthcare marketing, across branded and non-branded messaging, patient support and facilitation of patient generated content.

Content has the power to demonstrate your expertise, show your on-going support for doctors and patients alike and importantly, to both audiences, build the kind of trust that’s hard to cultivate in more traditional channels.

By its very nature, content marketing doesn’t aim to get attention. Instead, the whole point is to giveattention. Which is why it’s tailor made to help pharma companies build empathy, consideration, support and understanding around patient needs over a long-term relationship.

All of which leads to one big question – how will you embrace the opportunities in this space to ensure digital content is more than a buzzword, but a strategic, vital and dynamic part of your marketing mix?

Understanding your digital landscape is a great starting point to further enhance or explore richer digital content marketing. Bastion Brands offer a comprehensive digital auditing service to help your brand understand the current competitive analysis and where opportunities could abound.

1. Based on infographic from Smart Insights 2016
5. Google/Galaxy, “Consumers in the Micro-Moment,” Australia, June 2015.



We are always interested in hearing from great people dedicated to making a career in pharmaceutical communications. If you’re ready to make a positive impact with Bastion Brands, get in touch today.