You may not directly associate Instagram with companies within Life Sciences & Health. It is not the ideal platform to reach HCPs. Still, Instagram is a valuable channel for more and more LSH companies. Not necessarily to reach HCPs, but, for example, to find young talent that is fully active on Instagram. Organizations present themselves as an attractive employer by means of carousel posts, stories or videos. In this way, Instagram becomes an online showcase with which LSH companies can create an experience that matches their identity.
Figure 9: MSD Nederland is very active on Instagram.
Compared to LinkedIn and Twitter, Instagram advertising requires extra attention. Instagram has many more users. Currently there are 5.6 million active Dutch users and this number is growing rapidly. This makes creating compelling ads and selecting the right objectives and targeting options all the more important. Since Instagram is part of Facebook, setting up ad campaigns is done through Facebook’s user-friendly Ads Manager. In addition to standard targeting options, such as location, age and gender, the Ads Manager offers two useful features to reach your target group even more specifically.
In Facebook’s Ads Manager, you can define a target group based on online behaviour of people on Instagram, Facebook, and elsewhere. You can do this, for example, based on the accounts they follow, the messages they respond to, or the websites they look at. This makes it possible to target on certain interests, such as pharmacy, healthcare or oncology.
Similar target groups, also known as Lookalike Audiences, are target groups that you can have automatically created by Facebook (Instagram). Facebook looks for new people who are similar to your existing followers, website visitors or customers. You can use this functionality by entering email addresses or phone numbers of your target audience. Another method is to apply a Facebook pixel in the code of your website. That way, Facebook creates a Lookalike Audience based on people who have visited your website.
Figure 10: Facebook’s Ads Manager. Source: Instagram
Instagram was once a platform for young people only, but now people in their thirties, forties, fifties and older have discovered the channel. Instagram is the perfect visual social media channel to portray, for example, daily life within the organization or the corporate culture. In addition, a professionally designed Instagram channel functions as a showcase for stakeholders, such as partners, healthcare professionals or patients (associations). Within Instagram advertising you have different content forms with which you can reach the target group. We discuss the most important ones below.
Photo and video ads appear in users’ newsfeeds and are very similar to regular posts on Instagram. The advertisements consist of a description and a visual (photo or video). The format of the visual is always square or landscape. An advantage of these types of ads is that you can add a website link and call-to-action. This is not possible with organic messages. If you are looking for new talent, add a link to the vacancy page, for example.
With carousel ads, you have the option to place more images in one ad. By “swiping” the user will see a maximum of ten images or videos. Carousel ads lend themselves well to storytelling, because you have more space to tell your story. As a pharmaceutical company, you could create a carousel in which different employees, from operator to communications director, talk about the corporate culture.
Posting stories is a relatively new functionality within Instagram. It’s only been around for a few years, but now it’s arguably the channel’s most popular feature. Stories appear as a photo or video at the top of a user’s newsfeed and fill the entire screen. This gives you the full attention of a user. In the Life Sciences & Health sector, for example, stories are extremely suitable for linking up with (international) sick days. The content is no longer visible after 24 hours (unless you save stories in a highlight; then the stories can be viewed by everyone until you delete the highlight). Just like in other ads, stories ads allow you to place a link and call-to-action.
To compete with YouTube, Instagram launched Instagram TV (IGTV) in 2018. With the introduction of IGTV, there is also room for longer videos, so you can offer more depth. This is because the maximum length of an IGTV video is 60 minutes, while a regular video on Instagram takes up to one minute. A button for IGTV has been added that allows you to watch the videos and broadcast a video yourself. Currently, it is not yet possible to advertise via IGTV. Instagram will probably roll out this functionality in the Netherlands in 2021.
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