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Specific Features of Promotion of Pharmaceutical Brands in Russia. Part 2



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In the previous article, we examined in detail the specific features of promoting pharmaceutical products using contextual advertising on the Yandex platform. 

Next, let's talk about social networks, promotion which can be aimed both at attracting additional traffic to the website, and at developing your own brand pages within specific social services. In contrast with Yandex and its tools, running campaigns here will develop in a bit different way. 

At the initial level of the funnel, the reference point will go to a wider audience in order to increase product and brand awareness. Plus, to build trust and loyalty, you can connect collaborations with opinion leaders and start redirecting users to the website for a more detailed acquaintance with the products. Also, social networks are great opportunity to attract a new audience in order to make it permanent and interested in the purchase. 

Which social networks can be used in Russia in 2022? 

Since the Meta* company's networks are currently blocked and do not have most advertising opportunities, as well as TikTok, which restricted Russian accounts. We recommend you turn to domestic resources. The largest of them are the myTarget advertising platform (for promotion on Odnoklassniki and VKontakte) and the VKontakte advertising account itself. Just note that you can set up an advertising campaign on the Odnoklassniki and VKontakte social networks in both advertising cabinets, but they differ in targeting capabilities, audience selection and advertising formats, so we recommend running ads to different categories of audiences on both platforms. 

By the way, VKontakte is considered one of the most popular social media platforms in Russia. According to the social network, an average of 75.7 million users logged into the social network in Russia in the first half of 2022.  Its users prefer to access the network from mobile devices, so recently developers have been paying great attention to advertising opportunities for mobile versions. Basically, the audience of VKontakte is solvent users with diverse interests. 

The second most important social network in Russia is currently Odnoklassniki, which has a high percentage of solvent users. 37 million Russians use the social network every month. The main audience consists of users aged 25-45 years. Plus, the platform will work perfectly for targeted advertising, since the audience has a high degree of involvement in communication and responds loyally to advertising messages. One of the popular formats of Odnoklassniki is a banner with a short text. 

Step 1. Attracting new users 

In working with VKontakte and myTarget, you can use various approaches that combine social anddemographic characteristics, interests (health), geo, devices, search for key queries, etc. 

Also, additional advertising and targeting opportunities appeared in 2022, thanks to the creation of advertising integrations in the service “Weather” (a mini-application that informs about the weather conditions at the current location). If we take into account the fact that the criterion of weather conditions to a certain extent affects the state of health. For example, thematic ads about antipyretics or dietary supplements that strengthen the immune system will appear only with those users who are in areas with increased precipitation.

Step 2. The main types of publications 

There are a lot of options for working with content publication on social networking websites. Here, as in the case of Yandex, we recommend a comprehensive approach to the issue. 

Standard advertisements will be necessary under any circumstances. Basically, they work well with an audience that already knows about the product, so they often add a button with a relevant action - buy, go to the website or fill out a questionnaire. In the case when it is necessary to give a more detailed and visual description to describe a product or promotion, you can use promo posts in the carousel consisting of several visual elements. 

To attract new users, it is worth considering advertising in short vertical videos (Clips), using surveys, integration with bloggers, chatbots, or even creating a separate special collaboration project that can be placed in mini-applications in VKontakte. 

Quite often, when promoting pharmaceutical products, there are situations when it is impossible to openly advertise a medicine. Especially if we are talking about sensitive topics. For example, acne, diabetes, the intimate sphere and everything that affects a person's personal experiences. In this case, so-called hidden approaches are used in a campaign, which is, the promotion of the idea of a product or community of interests. 

For example, the Detralex brand has managed to form a community dedicated to a sedentary lifestyle (Homo Sedens). In its VKontakte group, it actively draws attention to its product - a medicine aimed at combating varicose veins and hemorrhoids, through broadcasting the idea of the harm of a sedentary lifestyle, which is relevant for residents of megacities. 

Thus, the concept of promotion has a more loyal character and a high degree of user interest not just in a specific product, but also in solving a specific health problem. 

Step 3. Working with creatives 

Taking into account general requirements of the advertising legislation, creatiion of content aimed at promoting pharmaceutical products is not the easiest task. With all the restrictions, no one will cancel the main objective of the creative. It still has to convince users to make a purchase.

How to do it? 
You should talk about the medicine, not the disease - this item mostly affects the legislative aspect of advertising. Since ads with hints of signs of diseases will not pass moderation on social networking websites. In this case, we recommend focusing on the positive aspects. 

For example, the manufacturer of diabetes testers Ascensia Diabetes Care in its VKontakte group says that a person's life does not stop with the diagnosis and promotes a more convenient and comprehensive approach to the disease with the help of its products, adding links to useful sources on the subject to the public content. 

The positive message of the visual component of the creative is that since images occupy a large part of the advertisement, therefore, the user's main attention will be focused on them in the first place. If an intimidating picture is used in the ad, then most likely the ad will be rejected by moderation, or it will be perceived negatively. 

Refusal of comparisons - the previously popular “Before-After” format has long been irrelevant. Moreover, it is now considered unethical and ineffective. This is because quite often the ”Before-After" was used by many manufacturers, including those with a low degree of trust. The label of “unfair quality" behind such content has taken root. And it is unlikely that this trend will soon have a more positive attitude from the audience.

The absence of guarantees is another point in the legislation, according to which it is strictly prohibited to guarantee in the advertisement a complete victory over the disease or the absence of side effects, etc. 

Less text on visual elements - not so long ago VKontakte introduced a limit on the amount of text on the image: the text part can occupy no more than 20% of the banner. It's no secret that we live in an era where visual information is perceived easier and more efficiently than any other. That is, it is not necessary to weigh down the image with text (if there is a mandatory disclaimer), since it can distort perception and worsen the indicators of interaction with advertising. In other words, it is better to transfer the main description to the text of the post, and, at the most, to leave a slogan or a short call to action on the image itself. 

Of course, all of the above nuances are only the main part of the recommendations for more successful promotion of pharmaceutical products on social networking websites. You need to start from them, but at the same time take into account the fact that each project is unique and you can't do without the help of specialists here. 

Instead of conclusion

As we can see, Internet marketing in the pharmaceutical segment requires elaboration of many tasks, detailed market expertise, compliance with legislative provisions, the optimal strategy for attracting different audiences to products, SEO, competent analytics, launching an advertising campaign on various platforms, etc. All this suggests that in this case, successful promotion in the industry will directly depend on the work of experts who face such issues not for the first time. 

Therefore, we strongly recommend that you contact professionals and experts. Entrust the promotion of your pharmaceutical brand to RMAA specialists who are ready to go through this advertising path together with you to achieve a higher level of online sales in Russia. 

* The organization is recognized as extremist and banned in Russia.
** Social networks are recognized as extremist and banned in Russia.

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About the Author

A content lead. Natalia runs marketing projects promotion with different digital tools in the Russian-speaking market. 


Author Natalia Gorenkova

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