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Specifics of Medicine Promotion via Influencers in the Russian Market

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Medication gets recommended by bloggers more and more often. Notably, users got to notice advertising posts and reviews more often, too. Most of all, Russian bloggers recommend vitamins, flu and cold remedies, and weight loss drugs. In our article Peculiarities of Medicine Promotion in the Russian Market, we analyzed key promotion channels for medication in the Russian market. Today, we will enlarge on promotion via bloggers.

Why Pharma Should Engage with Bloggers

  • Bloggers are trusted more than standard ads. One-third of those who have seen online advertising trust bloggers' posts about vitamins and antibiotics.
  • An opportunity to tell about the product in more detail and unobtrusively and to work on possible barriers.
  • An opportunity to disguise an ad as a standard post.
  • An opportunity to see a response to a product, activities of competitors, as well as to reply to questions and negative comments, driving brand loyalty.
  • A low cost per contact in the event of commercially viable integrations.
  • An opportunity to keep the loyal audience, making followers of your communities out of the blogger's readers.

Medication as One of the Trickiest Advertising Topics

Bloggers' medicine-themed posts often cost an order of magnitude more than ads of other products. It is risky in many ways, as it is important for a post to correspond not only to the customer's TOR but also to Russian statutory provisions.

Bloggers value their reputation and their followers' trust and, thus, often refuse to advertise touchy topics, untested/unknown products, or products with a suspicious formula.

Integrations with bloggers are ads, too, so it is important to follow all requirements of the Federal Law 'On Advertising' while preparing:

  • to add disclaimers, for example, 'Contraindications. Seek expert (medical) advice before use' or 'Dietary supplement. Not for medicinal use';
  • to use only admissible wordings—for example, the ad may not guarantee that the medicine will fix the disease;
  • to advertise only dietary supplements and OTC drugs. Advertising of prescription drugs via bloggers is prohibited.

When estimating integration results, it is worth remembering that bloggers' advertising posts always get a smaller coverage than usual ones, and in pharma advertising this coverage difference may reach 40% to 70%.

How Do You Choose a Blogger?

It is necessary to be scrupulous about the matter of choice and to analyze the quality of the account and materials in the blogger's profile as reputational risks in pharma are very high.

  • Make an overall evaluation of the posts' style in the account and how it resonates with the communication strategy of your brand.
  • Pay special attention to advertising posts: what products the blogger advertises, how often advertising posts are published, how much negative stuff the ads trigger.
  • Look at comments under posts in the last months, evaluate how the very blogger communicates with their followers.
  • Request the account statistics in order to evaluate the relevance of the audience and the overall account quality.
  • Request statistics on posts in different periods (in particular, on advertising ones)—this is how you will be able to give a rough estimate of the potential post coverage over time.

When planning integrations, choose bloggers from various categories and themes. Do not drop on mega-influencers or micro-influencers only. This is how you will manage to test various hypotheses and to choose most effective integrations for a particular medicine trademark.

How Do You Integrate Medicine Ads into Bloggers' Posts?

Dietary supplements and pharmaceutical drugs may be advertised with restrictions, so detailed terms of reference will help you make a cooperation with the author remarkably easier, stating, apart from typical preferences, extra information as follows:

  • rules, course, and details of administration;
  • medicine effect as prescribed;
  • forbidden topics, phrases, and actions—a positive image is very important for pharma manufacturers;
  • phrases and actions that will be contrary to law, for example, a promise or a demonstration of an immediate effect;
  • disclaimer;
  • appearance, behavior, speech of the author, their surroundings (optional);
  • if the advertising integration is aimed at the website promotion, specify an URL with a personal UTM of the blogger.

It is advisable to clear the video script and the post text with a lawyer. Make sure to consider the deadlines for approval and editing when planning advertising integrations with bloggers. Sometimes, this process can protract for several weeks.

As a rule, bloggers present ads of medicines in form of discussions, overviews, and users' comments on the treatment they were given, data exchange with opinion leaders, personal advice of users, Q&A sessions, etc.

Placement gamification will be a top choice if such a format does not stand out from the blogger's content. For example, a quiz about the disease in stories will introduce a problem to the user, and then it will be possible to tell about a solution in form of a medicine.

A safe choice in pharma is useful educational content with the seamlessly integrated ad of the product.

Another option is to start interaction with a question about a problem that 'troubles' the blogger. Having put the answers together, one can explore the topic in the next post: how a problem can be tackled with the help of a specific medicine.

Dealing with Comments and Evaluating Efficiency

Feedback processing is a crucial component in this context. It is necessary to work on negative vibes, settle differences, and answer questions about the product advertised. The answers can come both on behalf of the brand (TM official page) and from ordinary users. After the integration, you must make an assessment of the campaign efficiency, which will let you identify most effective and reliable authors, most relevant categories, as well as understand what content the audience is most receptive to.

Depending on the goals set initially, you need to assess either the coverage of posts and engagement or the number of leads in the website that came from each blogger.

Summary

The effect of advertising by bloggers depends on the quality of audiences of the influencers chosen and the key points smartly highlighted in advertising posts. In order to feel for it, you need long and thorough work, market research, deep knowledge of your audience, a considerable tact, and an endless fund of creativity—so and in no other way do effective advertising campaigns emerge in the pharma market.

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About the Author

Head of Digital, editor-in-chief of the RMAA Agency Blog

Author Yulia Vasilyeva
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