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Healthcare is forever changed because of COVID-19. Terri Sanders, SVP of Enterprise Marketing and Communication, HIMSS, and our Founder & CEO, Jim Weiss, share what innovations from the pandemic can shape the future of health, the importance of mental health, plus they bond over braving cold temperatures to attend the college they love. Take a listen, below.


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When we set out to draft this new “special edition” of The Scoop focusing on one topic – personalization – we quickly saw first-hand how varied and complex this topic can be for digital and social media marketers and strategists. A few spirited conversations and Teams chats later, we all came back to one definition of personalization: creating and delivering a digital and social experience tailored to a specific audience segment.

We like to say “gone are the days of one size fits all” when it comes to posts/ads because, now, data and technologies allow us to not only discover the variety among our audience segments, but also create content that resonates more deeply with those audiences. Personalization ultimately drives a more unique and relevant experience for a user, making them feel valued.

How did personalization start?

This idea popped up a few years ago and quickly became mainstream. Social platforms were already delivering “personalized” experiences for users directly in the platform, constantly evolving their algorithms to serve people in-app content that matched their interests. Newsfeed changes and additions such as Instagram Explore helped shape this trend. But data, technologies and paid really took it to the next level.

It all comes back to segmentation

People are busy. Especially healthcare professionals (HCPs), especially now. Being able to reach this audience in that exact window when they have a moment to relax isn’t new – but reaching them with precise messaging that resonates with them, based on their specific attributes (specialty, interests outside of work, location, etc.) is where we should be moving toward. This, of course, goes for patients and caregivers, too. Casting a wide net is not the way to go. Data can give us the insight to deliver messages to reach each specific HCP, patient or caregiver audience segment in their journey.

Social platforms embrace personalization in new ways

We already know social is leading the way in personalized content – both in feeds and through advertisements. Recent updates show how these platforms are taking personalization to the next level:

  • TikTok will no longer let users opt out of personalized ads starting April 15, so users will see ads based on the content they engage with (whether they like it or not!).
  • Facebook is taking a different approach. They are going right to small businesses with their tips and tricks for developing their own personalized ads – with the end goal of getting more people to discover small business based on their likes.

Thinking beyond social

This isn’t just happening on social media. Digital has been personalizing content for years – as seen with SMS, email marketing and the continued push toward omnichannel personalization.

  • Email marketing was a “success story” of 2020 according to eMarketer. Newsletter subscriptions are exploding as writers build deeper relationships with their readers through personalized content.
  • Then comes texting: SMS open rates are over 90%, and SMS marketing will continue to grow in 2021, as 56% of U.S. retailers plan to increase their investment in messaging.
    • Faced with the challenge of reaching customers at home during the pandemic, TGIFridays invested in its SMS platform and grew its database to over 300,000 subscribers after only four months, with a 4.5% conversion rate.
    • Online retailer Mack Weldon used sales data to focus its marketing on comfort and kept customers apprised of new product drops and restocks via SMS.
  • And when looking at retail, 62% of consumers surveyed say it’s important for online retail experiences to be personalized. Who can blame them. We all know how annoying it is to receive generic messaging that isn’t relevant to our shopping patterns.

Let technology help you

Shifting to a personalization-first strategy may seem intimidating, but technologies such as Flashtalking, Spirable and Salesforce can help create efficiencies for your content teams.

  • Flashtalking – a software that helps maximize content distribution for personalization for digital and soon on social – recently announced a new integration with Comcast.
    • This partnership demonstrates how even the most traditional media avenues, such as linear television, are being disrupted to more efficiently “deliver on the promise of personalization” through technology and tools.
  • And don’t forget about data! Leverage unique insights about your audiences to help guide the development of personalized content across platforms.

…And in Other News

Nerf targets TikTok success by seeking a Chief TikTok Officer responsible for creating 10 to 12 approved TikToks a month.

Pinterest is now in talks to acquire the photo app VSCO after adding 100 million monthly active users last year.


W2O’s The Scoop is brought to you by an editorial collective, featuring industry updates and insights from subject matter experts across social media, digital and influencer activation teams.

Get the latest marcom news directly to your inbox! Sign up to receive The Scoop updates here.

When people-driven insights are at the heart of clinical trials, more – and more diverse – patients will feel invited to participate.

Today’s standard clinical trial practices and methodologies are backfiring. They assess patients’ eligibility to participate purely on the basis of their medical profile. This is a narrow approach that has exacerbated challenges in clinical research: restrictive protocols, a systemic lack of diversity and representation, and limited options for where, when and how people can participate. All of these have calcified over time into roadblocks to effective recruitment and study conduct. The result? Increasingly costly delays and continuously missed study milestones.

It has to change. That’s why at Hū, we’re doing things differently.

We’re not discounting patients’ diseases and unmet needs. But we are looking at the entirety of their lives – patients as people from different cultures and backgrounds, with jobs and families, who have their own unique set of priorities, aspirations, challenges, physical and economic advantages and limitations, concerns, fears and needs.

Seeing patients through this purposefully hūman-centered lens, it’s easy to see why the standard model for patient recruitment and engagement isn’t working – if it ever really did. More importantly, at Hū, we believe it’s possible to fix it: by truly understanding who patients are and what they need as consumers of a clinical trial experience. After all, there might be many patients in real need out there, but if the vast majority of the recruitment pool is unable or unwilling to participate because they just don’t feel welcome and their behaviors, personal circumstances and expectations are ignored, the size of the pool is irrelevant.

So we offer a variety of interconnected solutions that allow us to collect, synthesize, analyze and, finally, operationalize patient experience data and the actionable insights that result from it by:

  • Applying behavioral science to give us insight into what motivates people toward action and activation – information that leads to more inclusive and patient-centered study designs and recruitment strategies that will increase representative enrollment and create attractive studies as a care option.
  • Using a proprietary clinical trial propensity model to help us predict with more certainty which patients are more likely to participate in a trial.
  • Creating study- or disease-specific personas by aggregating complex data about people as patients and as individuals into what we call Hū Persona 360. Far richer and more human-centered than data on a screen can provide, these personas generate strategies to engage patients who are not only ready, willing and able to participate, but excited about and more committed to being a part of the trial.

We use these methodologies, along with detailed insights into global differentiators, to give us a three-dimensional view of patients and the impact their disease has on their lives – insights that can facilitate more relevant trial designs; inspire more engaging and informative communications with patients; inform better study placements (i.e., we want patients to be able to participate irrespective of where the sites are actually located); help create more compelling and resonant strategies to engage the patients we want to attract; and, finally, help sites supporting the trial become more sensitive and responsive to the cultural diversity of underrepresented groups. In other words, we want to hūmanize the clinical trial experience for all those who might, and eventually do, participate.

An insights-driven approach such as this has become all the more urgent. Those who design and run clinical trials are increasingly caught between the pressures from regulatory agencies on one end, which are starting to demand the patient voice be brought into the clinical trial development process in a more obvious and standardized way, and patients on the other end, who are demanding greater flexibility from the healthcare model, which when applied to clinical trials would give them more opportunities, options and leeway to participate.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, clinical trials were already moving toward decentralization, a process that accelerated over the course of the past year. But just as the conventions of centralized clinical trials eliminated many participants who either couldn’t or wouldn’t do what was necessary to participate (e.g., travel several hours to the trial site), decentralized clinical trials can be restrictive or make assumptions about patients that may not be true. For example, trials may require that patients have a depth of technological know-how (not to mention devices) that many do not possess, nor have any interest in acquiring. Or trials may think it is okay to fully remove in-person visits, even though some patients still prefer them.

Clinical trials that swing too much in one direction or the other aren’t the future. The future lies in giving people flexibility to participate in ways that work for them, which can only come from understanding more about them.

Ultimately, our goal is to modernize clinical trials in order to open them to a wider, more activated and committed patient audience. Using data and insights in new and innovative ways, we will help hūmanize the clinical trial experience from the start, remembering that people may live with their medical conditions and diseases, but they are more than those conditions and diseases. People are the future.


Learn more about W2O via our About or Healthcare pages.

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One year into the pandemic, the wave of attacks against the Black American and AAPI communities and the persistence of health inequities and disparities continue.

For some, it took a worldwide health crisis to shine a light on such injustice. For others, it has only served as a stark reminder of the traumatic realities of racism and the resulting inequities in our society.

While the conversation and resulting actions have primarily focused on support and solidarity, if we’re truly focused on the goal of equity, the events of recent weeks reinforce how we as people, companies, employees and citizens need to move beyond the acknowledgment of racial inequity and disparity and focus on the specific policies, decisions and behaviors that will help move us from awareness to reconciliation.

So how do we get there?

  • Call It by Its Name: The events that we’ve borne witness to are crimes founded in xenophobia and racism that impact the lives of our colleagues, friends, families and communities. By standing in solidarity, supporting the AAPI and BIPOC communities, we need to be honest and authentic about what these acts/events truly are and recognize the importance that language plays in the description/framing of these events and the narratives associated with them. No sugarcoating or diminishing the cause.
  • Focus on the Context: We must highlight the history of xenophobia against BIPOC communities, such as the AAPI community, and the way disease has been used to denigrate and discriminate…and connect it to the importance of learning/educating ourselves and building cultural competency/attunement – a core element of our pillar.
  • Cultivate and Drive EmpathyWe must ensure psychological safety and facilitate understanding and different forms of engagement…especially today as we continue to work and live in various forms of isolation. Cultivating safety and community in all of the spaces we occupy, including work, has become even more important…and the creation/cultivation of those could help drive empathy and different forms of engagement that can help inform how companies show up vis-a-vis DE&I and work toward their equity goals.
  • Hold a Mirror Up: Any chance of a significant change must begin with an honest assessment of your personal and organizational tenets, purpose, efficacy, policies and culture. Where is bias or disparity apparent in the business? What are people allowed to get away with? How is respect and dignity and inclusion supported?

With the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd on the horizon and the “great awakening” that dominated our consciousness, we are all being called to dig deep, assess and modify our actions. Ultimately, there are core tenets of DE&I engagement that can help guide and inform, but, in the end, it begins and ends with each of us. It’s not about getting mad or even. It’s really about growing, sharing, listening and respecting each other for who and what we are as human beings.

In the words of Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Understanding the state of vaccine confidence.

For the 11th year, Real Chemistry brought together leading health care innovators at SXSW to discuss the issues driving us forward. The virtual event was chock-full of robust conversations about important health care topics.

We were proud to present five official sessions, helping people go deep on what’s next in health care and how patient lives have improved as a direct result of breakthrough elements of health technology. We also hosted a two-day virtual Media Lounge that included panels and fireside chats.

Over the next few days, we’ll highlight some of these discussions, with links to where to watch the full sessions on YouTube. We look forward to seeing everyone at SXSW in person next year.

COVID-19 and Vaccine Confidence

The COVID-19 vaccines are our golden ticket back to normal, as Real Chemistry Founder and CEO Jim Weiss wrote earlier this year. Given that news coverage in recent months has been dominated by discussion of the vaccines, it should be no surprise that five of our SXSW panels covered that topic.

Real Chemistry advisor Jane Sarasohn-Kahn and renowned epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm held a wide-ranging conversation about the pandemic, vaccines and lessons to take forward.

Dr. Osterholm, noting other problems the pandemic has exposed or made worse, such as hunger and mental health challenges, said he hoped there would be new investments in public health. “Public health, when it is done well, preventing these kinds of situations, actually has a spillover into so many other parts of our life we don’t think about,” he said.

He noted that the vaccine rollout has had troubles because the federal government did not give states financial resources to distribute the shots. He said it is getting better, but pointed out, “The vaccine isn’t a vaccination until it goes into your arm.”

What a Shot Meant for One Nurse … and for Its Developer

One big star of our SXSW panels was Sandra Lindsay, a registered nurse from Long Island who in December became the first person in the United States to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. On a panel focused on lessons learned, she described what it meant to her: “It represented to me the beginning of the end of a very dark time in our history, that hope is here, preservation of life, abilities for others to get that same feeling.”

Lindsay was on a panel that included Judy Sewards, head of clinical trial experience at Pfizer, a Real Chemistry client, and Dr. Reed Tuckson,  co-founder of the Black Coalition Against COVID, another client. Sewards said Pfizer set high standards for the science and safety of its vaccine and learned the value of transparency during the process. The result? “People are much more aware of the scientific process. We as an industry have figured out where we need to meet people, do a better job of educating others about what it takes to develop a medicine or a vaccine,” she said.

Surveys About Vaccine Confidence Show Rising Support

What we know about vaccine confidence is not just guesswork. A wide variety of public opinion surveys have tracked how people feel about the vaccines and how willing they will be to take them once available.

On a panel with leading health researchers, Ipsos’ Chris Jackson and the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Liz Hamel pointed out the rise in public confidence in the vaccines in recent months. Jackson said polling shows double-digit increases in confidence across the world.

Of those with a “wait and see” approach, many are not really “hesitant,” but they need more information from trusted sources, Hamel said. “Listen to people’s concerns, take them seriously and empathize with them. They come from not only a place of fear but a place of newness,” she added.

Scott McDonald of the Advertising Research Foundation noted that some of the movement reinforces “what we already understand about how opinions change and how advertising really works.” He pointed out that people get their cues from a “norm” that is now influenced on social media by people they never meet.

While confidence in the vaccines has grown, confidence in governments to deal with the crisis has not. “It has slowly eroded over the past year,” Jackson said.

(For the latest in vaccine confidence news, subscribe to Real Chemistry’s free Vaccine Confidence Weekly newsletter here.)

Messaging About the Vaccines

Messaging about the vaccines and what platforms to use to communicate to those who have questions and concerns was a major focus of most of the Real Chemistry SXSW panels.

“A big breakthrough is telling people it’s okay to have questions,” Dr. Tuckson said. He and Lindsay agreed that trying to understand where people are instead of lecturing them is critical. “We need to listen to people, spend time listening and educating them, dispelling myths. Word of mouth remains very powerful,” she said.

Usually, it takes nine months to create an Ad Council campaign, but the ongoing COVID-19 vaccine education initiative took far less, said Catherine Chao, the Ad Council’s vice president for strategy and evaluation. PSAs were out in two weeks after the Ad Council finalized details with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Ad Council (Real Chemistry is an Ad Council partner) is not just developing heart-tugging commercials, but also community-based activities to “get deep into communities” and help people understand what the vaccines will bring, Chao said.

Effective messages come with an empathetic tone, not focused on playing into fears about what the coronavirus might do to someone who is not vaccinated. “Not to say fear isn’t motivating but when leaning on it too heavily, it is not authentic,” she said.

Asked to create his own 30-second script for a pro-vaccine commercial, Dr. Tuckson said it would say: “Dear American households, would you like to get your life back? Kids go back to school? Have a job? Do you want to have Christmas and Thanksgiving with your family? You can’t do it without getting vaccinated. Let’s get our lives back. Today’s the day.”

Frank Washkuch, executive editor of PRWeek, struck a similar tone. “There are many negative messages, but one that really works is, ‘This is how we get back to normal’,” he said.

The Employer Has a Vaccine Confidence Platform

Employers – who can access a toolkit at adcouncil.org – may not want to give ultimatums about vaccines, said Allison Weissbrot, editor-in-chief of Campaign US at Haymarket Media, but “employers have a huge platform and microphone to get employees vaccinated.” They can use other ways to persuade, including helping make appointments or giving people information about the vaccines, she said.

Jim Weiss said Real Chemistry would approach employee vaccination communication just as he would recommend to clients. “We’ll meet everybody where they are, listen to their concerns and have mutual respect,” he said.

Health Innovation at SXSW and Beyond

Boosting vaccine confidence is a path to help get us out of this pandemic, which has taken a terrible toll on so many. But one silver lining of this past year has been a rapid acceleration of innovation in health care. We will continue to share with you the insights gleaned at SXSW Online 2021 from our industry’s top thought leaders. Thank you for showing up and shaping the future with us.


This is part one of a three-part series recapping our health innovation content at SXSW Online 2021. Stay tuned for more!

The use of digital tools is not the same as digital transformation, so what does this mean for healthcare? Dr. Michael Blum, Chief Digital Transformation Officer of UCSF Health, joins the show to discuss the digital health renaissance, the progress needed for our industry, and he shares a pretty clever answer for the album he’d bring on a desert island. Take a listen below.


Don’t miss an episode of What2Know, subscribe to our podcast on iTunesStitcher or Spotify!

If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Healthcare page.

Who isn’t looking forward to the return to a roaring 20s?! ⬇️ The future is looking bright and it’s not just because spring has sprung. 🌸 Twitter is mapping out “safe spaces,” like Facebook. TikTok decided to be the first to do ads “right” and Snap seems to be back and doubling down. And you can’t help but 😊 for Amazon who is gamifying their warehouse experience with virtual pets 🐶 👏.

Combatting Vaccine Hesitancy Through Marketing

New research has found that 40% of Americans have yet to make up their minds about taking the COVID-19 vaccine, and vaccine hesitancy in Black and Hispanic communities continues to be influenced by false information online. To address this, several groups have launched campaigns that provide straightforward guidance that getting informed and vaccinated is up to all of us. For example, the Ad Council’s “It’s Up to You” campaign encourages audiences to get the latest vaccine information, with messaging targeted specifically to Black Americans. To help shift the mindset of communities of color, who are most affected by COVID-19, and increase the number of people vaccinated, we must develop messages about vaccine benefits and clearly and concisely communicate them across channels.

Sources: MM+M, THE NEW YORK TIMES

An Intimate Portrait of Post-Pandemic Life

As the U.S. set its sights on making COVID-19 vaccines available to all adults beginning May 1, questions about how consumers will return to a post-pandemic world have sparked conversation – and controversy – among marketers. AdAge has gone so far as to declare spring “the new Christmas,” suggesting consumers will return to a “roaring 20’s of consumerism.” Suitsupply gave its take on “The New Normal” with a suggestive, spit swapping digital campaign, which CEO Fokke de Jong says is “simply a positive outlook on our future.” Data from EY’s latest iteration of its Future Consumer Index indicates affordability and health will remain top priorities for post-pandemic consumers – an impetus for brands to tailor communications accordingly to maximize the resonance of messaging with audiences.

Sources: VOX, THE NEW YORK TIMES, ADAGE, EY FUTURE CONSUMER INDEX

Getting Paid for Personalization

Online user experiences have become more personalized over the years, as demonstrated through platforms like Patreon where users can pay to create a feed of exclusive content from their favorite creators. Meanwhile, influencers are diversifying their income streams beyond traditional #SponCon with subscription monetization. Twitter also announced “Super Follows,” a new pay-for-posts feature for creators to charge for exclusive content. The feature offers more control over the content users see on the platform while building communities around specific topics. With the continued push toward personalization, establishing and growing relationships with influencers will become even more important, as they will become the gatekeepers of the communities they’re growing and will determine the balance of free and paid content that followers will accept.

Sources: SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY, WSJ, THE NEXT WEB, TECH CRUNCH, VOX, VOX, FORBES

Learning to Roll with the Changes

Platforms have begun offering resources for smaller businesses to help them adapt to Apple’s IDFA changes. Snapchat announced a partnership with Gannett to promote Snapchat ads to Gannett’s 100,000+ small business clients in the U.S. and Canada. On March 24, TikTok will host “Ready Set Grow,” a virtual summit to help small and medium businesses (SMBs) become familiar with advertising possibilities. Facebook launched a campaign aimed at showing why users should enable data tracking and connecting the dots on how businesses can reach their audiences. Despite rumors, Google also clarified that alternative tracking options will not be provided when third-party cookies become unavailable. With that in mind, advertisers of all sizes should take a closer look at their digital and social media strategies and look to those who are able to effectively reach their target audiences.

Sources: TikTok, Facebook, Social Media Today, Google

In Other News… 

Philips and Disney are joining forces to improve the healthcare experience of children.

The CDC’s program to track vaccine effectiveness over time leaves out 60 million Americans.


W2O’s The Scoop is brought to you by an editorial collective, featuring industry updates and insights from subject matter experts across social media, digital and influencer activation teams.

Get the latest marcom news directly to your inbox! Sign up to receive The Scoop updates here.

Welcome to our sixth and final episode of our first round of #MedicallySpeaking, a video series aimed at uncovering the what, why and how of marketing and communications in the healthcare industry.

In this final video I speak to Molly Butler, Senior Account Manager for W2O Group. We talk about her choice of degree and the challenging and rewarding aspects of marketing for healthcare companies.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the video series. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel for more in this series in the future.


Learn more about W2O via our About or Healthcare pages.

SXSW is back. One of the first industry conferences canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this event has returned as a digital experience from March 16-20 that features keynotes and sessions, screenings, showcases, networking and exhibitions. For the 11th year, W2O is excited to celebrate innovation and creativity with the SXSW community and proud to be a sponsor in 2021.

SXSW represents the intersection of technology, media and culture across many industries, including healthcare. As always, we are convening our industry’s leading innovators to discuss the issues driving us forward. Although we won’t be in person in Austin, Texas, eating BBQ, we are committed to surfacing important conversations about digital transformation, health equality, vaccine confidence and the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on society.

Register Now for the W2O Healthcare Media Lounge

New for 2021, W2O is hosting the Healthcare Media Lounge, a two-day virtual event that includes panels, fireside chats, keynotes, happy hours with bands, and meditation. Our lounge content is free to anyone who signs up for the event, and no official SXSW pass is required.

Reserve your spot today to receive updates to our agenda and learn more about our online engagement opportunities that seek to replicate the “SX Serendipity” that we all love.

Confirmed speakers include:

Join us and RSVP today.

Use #W2OSXSW to join the conversation on social!

SXSW Official Sessions (accessible with a conference badge)

W2O is proud to present five official sessions that are accessible to those with an official conference pass. Add these to your official schedule and join us as we go deep on understanding what’s next in healthcare and how patient lives have improved as a direct result of breakthroughs in health technology.

COVID-19: The New Reality: 3/17, 3:00 PM CST

W2O is proud to have earned a featured session with Dr. Osterholm and our advisor and health economist Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, to speak to the SXSW community about what is next in the fight against COVID-19. From the immediate concerns around new variants to the “collateral damage” we face from this pandemic, Dr. Osterholm and Ms. Sarasohn-Kahn will share insights to help navigate public health in 2021 and beyond.

Speakers:

Tech-Enabled Health Solutions and Patient Outcomes: 3/16, 10:30 – 10:55 AM CST

In the year since the COVID-19 global pandemic changed life as we know it, virtually every sector of the economy has adjusted to a new reality of customers stuck at home, unable to travel but still needing services. Healthcare professionals did what other customer-focused sectors were doing: they turned to technology.

Tech-enabled health solutions, such as robotics, wearables, and mobile applications, have been fueled by this increased level of consumer comfort using technology to address their healthcare needs. This panel explores examples of how patient lives have improved as a direct result of breakthrough elements of health technology. The panelists will also discuss challenges that have come from this new ecosystem.

Speakers:

  • Terri Sanders, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Marketing and Communications, HIMSS
  • Ivan Tornos, Group President, Orthopedics, Zimmer Biomet
  • David Cassak, Co-Editor-in-Chief and Managing Partner, MedTech Strategist (moderator)

@Doctor @Patient: Healthcare Trends on Twitter: 3/18, 2:30 – 2:55 PM CST

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, ushering in the most profound change in medical care in the modern era. In-person interaction with the medical system—outside of treatment for SARS-CoV2 infection— disappeared nearly overnight, fundamentally altering physicians’ relationships with their patients, and their peers.

Twitter sits at the intersection of relevant conversations from patients, caretakers, HCPs, and public health officials. At W2O, we observed a 93% increase in patient engagement with physician content on the platform from March through August of 2020. Using Symplur, an analytics platform purpose-built for healthcare, we explored how connections between physicians, their patients and their peers on Twitter impacted the delivery of healthcare and medical information. This panel will share those findings and explore future social media trends in the healthcare industry.

Speakers:

Patient-Centricity Reduces Healthcare Inequality: 3/19, 11:00 – 11:25 AM CST

The CDC has reported increasing evidence that some racial and ethnic minority groups are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Factors such as poverty, lack of access to healthcare and poor housing conditions contributed to this inequity. Patient-centric solutions in healthcare have the power to help reduce this inequality. Looking holistically at a patient’s journey requires navigating the impacts of race, gender, ethnicity and religion. This deep understanding of the patient experience supports development of innovative solutions and behavioral drivers of care. This panel will explore the importance of involving diverse patient voices in conversations around clinical trials, drug development, and advances in specific disease areas.

  • Mary Stutts, Senior Vice President, Corporate Relations, Sumitovant Biopharma
  • Mary Michael, Vice President, Patient Advocacy and Stakeholder Management, Otsuka
  • Anya Harry, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head, Demographics and Diversity, GlaxoSmithKline
  • Abby Hayes, Practice Leader, DEI Engagement, W2O (moderator)

We look forward to having you join us for these important conversations with clients and partners, including HIMSS, Zimmer Biomet, Twitter, Jefferson Health, Otsuka, GlaxoSmithKline, Sumitovant Biopharma and Stanford Health Care.

Plus, don’t forget to sign up today to reserve your spot in the W2O Healthcare Media Lounge.

Use #W2OSXSW to join the conversation on social!


Learn more about W2O via our About or Healthcare pages.

It’s only March and we’re running out of adjectives to describe the way time blurs from week to week, and the rapid pace of changes in the digital space. If you end up reading the below 😉 you’ll probably wonder why we’re starting off this intro highlighting the trend of nostalgia showing up all over digital – but we HAD to address these strange updates. MyHeritage created Deep Nostalgia, which animates old still photos. The photo app Dispo, launched by a YouTuber, mimics the unpolished look of photos from a disposable camera. But hey, all we know is that we’re all human and looking for connections, even if it’s through email. 😊

A Local Approach to Vaccine Marketing

As COVID-19 vaccine distribution ramps up nationally, varied accessibility guidelines and availability by state are making it difficult for administrators to communicate the most up-to-date information to the public. To overcome this hurdle, governments and health systems are turning to local targeting, sometimes even down to the zip code level, to share the most relevant information to the masses and reduce confusion. This local strategy will likely be implemented to drive awareness about the extended enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) approved by the Biden administration. While supply-chain limitations are dominating current news coverage, a clear public communications strategy is essential in controlling the pandemic.

Sources: MM+ M, THE DRUM

The Race to Reach People of Color Online

Facebook is ramping up its efforts to boost vaccine confidence amid increasing evidence of low COVID-19 vaccination rates among minorities. The platform updated its COVID-19 Information Center by creating alerts for vaccination dates/times for users. It is also allocating $120 million in ad credits for health ministries, non-governmental organizations, and United Nations agencies, potentially making it easier for these groups to reach communities of color via zip code targeting in areas where vaccination rates remain low. However, as this push increases, reaching these communities online might be a hurdle. Recent research has found that many Black and Hispanic patients lack access to the internet or a computer, making it difficult for them to access the very information Facebook is trying to provide. As health services continue to move online, it’s clear that a bigger effort is needed to provide these communities with access to the internet.

Sources: SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY, FAST COMPANY

Old-Fashioned Chatting is Here to Stay

The exploding popularity of Clubhouse is pushing other platforms to adopt audio-first tools. There are rumors that Facebook has its own Clubhouse clone in the works, and Twitter is beta testing Spaces, a similar audio-only chat feature. However, despite the popularity of Clubhouse, there is concern over how it is being used and moderated. It has already been banned in China, and many are voicing concerns that COVID-19 conspiracy theories (among others) are spreading unchecked. Some are taking moderation into their own hands: Black doctors are working overtime to combat COVID-19 conspiracies and dispel misinformation on the platform. While community standards are in place, the surge of new users on the app could result in changed policies, and larger platforms may be carefully watching to determine whether to implement their own versions.

Sources: BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK TIMES, SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY, TECHCRUNCH, VICE

Platforms Provide Creator Assistance

Popular content creators drive a huge percentage of traffic to platforms, providing views and pathways for ad revenue. Now, platforms are releasing tools and support for those creators. Instagram recently released its “Professional Dashboard” to all Business accounts, bringing detailed data and insights, page management tools, and educational resources to one spot. LinkedIn also announced efforts to develop content creator support, which could include incentives to create posts, assistance in using LinkedIn’s video and other media posts, and opportunities to connect with advertisers. Insights and information on influencer post performance is an important aspect of identifying the right influencers and ensuring campaign success, so additional resources for creators are beneficial for both users and brands. In addition, executives developing thought leadership initiatives may find LinkedIn’s new support for creators useful.

Sources: SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY, SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY

Twitter’s Flightpath for Its Future

At 14-years-old, Twitter is finally looking to evolve its place in the social media world. CEO Jack Dorsey spoke about his vision for Twitter’s future and touched on a variety of topics ranging from content moderation to subscription models to moving beyond 280-character tweets. Twitter is looking to give users more control over their experience on the platform by creating new types of content they can follow to help make their feed more customized to their interests, including considering offering an ad-free subscription plan. This subscription model has the potential to greatly impact social advertisers, especially if the feature takes off and is adopted by other platforms. Building relationships with influencers and content creators will become even more important for brands to successfully reach their audience on platforms with traditional ad-free subscriptions.

Sources: DIGITAL TRENDS, CNET, BLOOMBERG

In Other News… 

Older generations are taking social media by storm, and “granfluencers” may be the next big thing.

Bonus tweets, newsletters and badges showing support: Twitter’s new Super Follows feature gives users the option to charge their followers for access to additional content.

And not to be outdone, Facebook is reportedly making a smartwatch, and it will have health features.


W2O’s The Scoop is brought to you by an editorial collective, featuring industry updates and insights from subject matter experts across social media, digital and influencer activation teams.

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Welcome to our fifth episode of #MedicallySpeaking​​, a video series aimed at uncovering the what, why and how of marketing and communications in the healthcare industry.

Throughout the six episode series, we’ll be speaking to a variety of people here in the W2O EMEA offices about their jobs, education and experience to find out how they got where they are.

In this video I speak to Kelly Blaney, Managing Director for W2O Group. We talk about how Kelly got into healthcare communications, more about the opportunities at an agency,  as well as life working in-house.


Learn more about W2O via our About or Healthcare pages.

The W2O Global Vaccine Confidence Dashboard is exploring the drivers of vaccine confidence and hesitancy across seven countries, sharing real-time learnings that can inform communicators about how to increase vaccine acceptance rates.

You can view the dashboard here.

In our first report, we set an initial baseline for future dashboards and then looked more closely at the findings in the UK. We noted three key learnings for public health officials and the biopharma industry:

  • Self-interest remains the top driver – People are keen to return to a life without restrictions, and the drive for personal protection strongly correlates with vaccine acceptance rates. With the impact of COVID-19 affecting elderly people at a higher rate than younger people, this population will see the greatest value from a vaccination. Younger people who have experienced symptoms are more likely to need to be convinced of the value of vaccination to ensure high uptake.
  • Proven is key – Safety concerns remain the biggest barrier in shifting the hesitant towards acceptance. We believe that people are most concerned about the rapid speed of regulatory approval of vaccines and the dosing schedule. But as the world continues to vaccinate and positive real-world evidence about the safety of COVID-19 vaccine increases, we expect that vaccine confidence will increase. A key challenge will be how to ensure high vaccine confidence both nationally and globally so enough people can be vaccinated to eradicate the disease.
  • Scientists and pharmaceutical companies are the most trusted experts –The selection of spokespeople for vaccine messages is extremely important. In the UK, where there have been multiple lockdowns and one of the highest mortality rates in the world, it is no surprise that politicians rank as one of the lowest trusted sources, especially among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. Across all seven countries, scientists and pharmaceutical companies consistently rank as the most trusted experts. Campaigns to increase vaccine confidence will need many and varied voices to convert all audiences, and spokespeople that reflect the interests and composition of BAME communities and younger people will be especially important.

In future dashboards, we’ll assess what is disrupting and causing change in the vaccine conversation and its impact on acceptance. We’ll also look at the differences between the seven countries. If you have a particular interest and would like to dive into an aspect of our data further, or you would like to discuss implications in more detail, please contact us. You can find out more about vaccine confidence in the United States by downloading our recent report: Using Social and Search Data to Build Vaccine Confidence.


Learn more about W2O via our About or Healthcare pages.

The Economist recently wrote about a “strange pattern to come” regarding oil & energy. To build on that theme, we can most certainly say there are strange patterns arising in digital and social around the world. From ecommerce livestreaming taking China by storm, to the popular new platform Clubhouse now in hot water, to Jack D and Jay Z donating 500 BTC to fund the development of Bitcoin in Africa and India…does this mean we’ll be using BTC to buy from our livestreams soon? 😉 But then again, who even has BTC?! Strange patterns, indeed…

Super Bowl Marketing Looked Super Different

Watching Tom Brady win a Super Bowl for the seventh time may have been the most familiar sight from this year’s big game. Social media was abuzz about The Weeknd’s halftime show, this polarizing Oatly commercial and a moment of silence for frontline workers lost to COVID-19. However, noticeably absent were ads from mainstay brands Budweiser, Coca-Cola and Hyundai. In contrast, companies that recorded notable growth during the pandemic, such as Fiverr and DoorDash, made their Super Bowl advertising debuts. Brands concerned about receiving backlash from “COVID-weary consumers” on social media pursued alternatives to in-game commercials. Others, such as Budweiser, completely redirected their advertising dollars to campaigns to promote vaccine awareness and distribution efforts.

Sources: CNBC, BLOOMBERG, MM+M, BUZZFEED NEWS, POP CULTURE

Long-form Content in a Short-form World

Longform content is making a comeback, with both Facebook and Twitter announcing plans to roll out newsletter tools. For Facebook, this is part of a larger plan to provide more legitimate news sources on its platform, giving users the option to subscribe and receive more content from journalists and writers they trust. Facebook hasn’t shared a formal update or acquisition, but Twitter has acquired the newsletter service Revue. While Twitter historically has been known as a place for brief updates, this acquisition proves that sometimes 280 characters just isn’t enough.

Sources: NEW YORK TIMES, TWITTER, EMARKETER, AXIOS

Users Are Swarming the Hive

After going viral on TikTok and Twitter, Hive, a social media app with MySpace, Twitter and Instagram-like features, briefly dominated the Apple App Store charts. It became the number one social media app and number two most-downloaded app, gaining over 130K users in just a few hours. Hive touts itself as a nostalgic mashup of all three platforms, likely why users swarmed to download it. While we don’t know if Hive will become a true competitor to existing apps, its popularity to date might point to a larger trend of online users looking to try new social experiences (as seen with Clubhouse). Given this, (healthcare) brands must stay on top of where their audiences are engaging to ensure they are reaching them where they are most active.

Sources: FAST COMPANY, YAHOO

The Ground Shaking Under Social Giants

Many social media advertisers still have brand safety concerns that could impact paid dollar spends in 2021. Platforms have made efforts to address these issues, but the steps they’ve taken have not been as straightforward as some advertisers hoped. For example, Facebook reversed its algorithm changes that boosted news from authoritative sources shortly after the election and scaled back on other measures related to misinformation. As a result of the brand concerns, shareholders of Home Depot and Omnicom filed resolutions to determine if their ads funded hate speech. This indicates some brands are reevaluating their advertising, which could have worrying implications for platforms. Combined with the swell of grievances aimed at Robinhood, revocation of Section 230 could be closer than we think.

Sources: NEW YORK TIMES, REUTERS, SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY, SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY

Personalizing the Telehealth Experience

The increased demand for and use of telehealth across all demographics since the pandemic began last spring has given developers insight into patient preferences. Overall, consumers of all ages prefer phone or video calls over texts and want telemedicine platforms and apps to function seamlessly with the real world, similar to their experience with Uber and Amazon. Meanwhile, providers are interested in using telehealth technology to establish more personal connections to patients with chronic conditions rather than those suffering from colds, flu and dermatology issues, which are the current focus.

Sources: EMARKETER 1, EMARKETER 2, CEDAR HEALTHCARE CONSUMER EXPERIENCE STUDY

Taking the “Para” Out of Parasocial Relationships

The continued COVID-19 lockdowns combined with increasing use of social media are taking the “para” out of parasocial relationships. Many platforms, including Twitter, Instagram, Cameo, OnlyFans and Twitch, allow celebrities and influencers to interact with their audiences directly or form communities through ongoing conversations with fans. As the pandemic continues, partnerships with influencers and celebrities may resonate with audiences even more strongly, as everyone is craving face-to-face interaction and deeper connections.

Sources: QUARTZ, METRO

In Other News… 

Social platforms launched new initiatives to celebrate Black History Month.

Dual-medium collaboration: Fast Company thinks this simple feature makes video meetings way more productive.


W2O’s The Scoop is brought to you by an editorial collective, featuring industry updates and insights from subject matter experts across social media, digital and influencer activation teams.

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It’s been two weeks of obsessions with surprising headlines and trends. How could we have predicted STAT News would focus on Clubhouse, 🤯, or that the New York Times would make us consider the responsibility of top influencers in educating communities on race, inclusion and bullying? Or that Grindr, the location-based social networking and online dating app for gay, bi, trans and queer people, appeared to violate GDPR rules by sharing third-party data in Norway. We thrive on weeks like these: from pivoting strategies, to examining the social community’s roles and responsibilities related to ethics, to applauding governments that enforce the protection of user data.

What the Future May Bring: Health Innovations at CES 2021

The first virtual Consumer Electronic Showcase Convention occurred in early January, with health innovations and gadgets taking center stage (or “center screen” in this instance). There was no shortage of products directly related to, or accelerated by, the COVID-19 pandemic. Futuristic face masks were showcased that made wearers feel like they were living in a sci-fi series. Panels about sustaining the innovation around telemedicine to fully realize the benefits of virtual healthcare emphasized the connection between patients’ data and their doctors, as well as its role in addressing healthcare disparities.

Sources: EVERYDAY HEALTH, WIRED, CNET, MEDGADGET

Recap: How Top Platforms Prepared for Inauguration Day

Following the events at the United States Capitol, social platforms quickly took action to introduce new safety measures leading up to inauguration day. Facebook prohibited events from being created near the U.S. Capitol, or any state capitol, blocked ex-U.S. pages and accounts from creating events in the U.S., restricted access to certain tools (such as live videos) for U.S. users with a history of platform policy violations, and banned ads for weapon accessories through January 22. Airbnb blocked and canceled all D.C. metro area reservations during inauguration week, and Apple, Google and Amazon all took steps to limit the social app Parler from their respective platforms, citing content moderation concerns.

Sources: THE VERGE, SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY

How Social Platforms are Combating Vaccine Hesitancy

In response to an influx of COVID-19 misinformation on social media, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have taken proactive steps to ensure their users are being served with evidence-based information by attaching fact-checking labels to posts. And it seems those labels are working. A recent study measured the impact of the labels on vaccine hesitancy and found that users who were shown the labels on tweets were more likely to have a positive outlook on vaccines than those who saw misinformation alone. As vaccine hesitancy is an ongoing public health challenge, sharing accurate, fact-based information is crucial to improving understanding of vaccines, especially their importance in helping stop the spread of COVID-19. Hopefully, these labels will be a permanent feature across platforms to combat misinformation and improve confidence in vaccines.

Sources: HEALTHLINE, SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY, MED CITY

NYC Taps Influencers to Promote COVID-19 Testing

With COVID-19 tests becoming easier to access in many states, public health officials are now turning to efforts to encourage the population to get tested and continue to follow safety guidelines. NYC Health + Hospitals has taken a unique approach, working with popular local influencers to create content about testing options and processes. Ballerina Misty Copeland, fitness influencer Trevor Bell and even some “petfluencers” are among the partnerships. While there hasn’t been a national announcement of plans to work with influencers around vaccination efforts, the approach may prove useful as the vaccine becomes more widely available. For example, Indonesia is prioritizing influencer campaigns in its vaccine rollout as part of a strategy to demonstrate vaccine safety. As with other campaigns, influencers can play a key role in reaching various audiences and speaking about serious topics from a relatable level.

Sources: ADAGE, VICE

The Shifting Social Media Landscape

With people spending more time at home due to COVID-19, gaming and streaming have risen sharply. The surge in user bases on platforms such as Twitch and YouTube mean that opportunities for advertisers have broadened, and streaming has opened more opportunities to reach audiences. Notably, these users are younger than those on other platforms, and brands that have seen success on Snapchat and TikTok are likely to be able to expand their reach and see successful campaigns. Gaming and streaming activity isn’t limited to platforms with younger audiences, however. In fact, Facebook Gaming saw a 238% YOY increase in hours watched in April 2020. As exciting as this appears, it’s important for advertisers to understand the way these platforms work so they can avoid backlash like that experienced by Burger King after advertising through Twitch’s donation feature.

Sources: SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY, SPROUT SOCIAL, BBC, THE SENTINEL

In Other News… 

Swipe right and swipe-up: LinkedIn adds Swipe-Up links to LinkedIn Stories.

To meme or not to meme: A guide to memetic media in 2021 and beyond.


W2O’s The Scoop is brought to you by an editorial collective, featuring industry updates and insights from subject matter experts across social media, digital and influencer activation teams.

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Empowering people with the right data to make healthy choices is the present and future of healthcare. Jeff Dachis, CEO & Founder of One Drop, discusses how the industry can make this happen and shares his appreciation of Led Zeppelin. Take a listen below.


Don’t miss an episode of What2Know, subscribe to our podcast on iTunesStitcher or Spotify!

If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Healthcare page.

Welcome to our fourth episode of #MedicallySpeaking! A video series aimed at uncovering the what, why and how of marketing and communications in the healthcare industry.

Throughout the six episodes we’ll be speaking to a variety of people here in the W2O EMEA offices about their jobs, education and experience to find out how they got where they are.

In this video I speak to Ralph Zakhia, a Social Media Manager about moving countries, getting started in marketing and the main differences between social media for yourself and a business.


Learn more about W2O via our About or Healthcare pages.

A year after the COVID-19 pandemic vaulted digital health into the headlines, we’re asking some big questions. Is there a better warning system for the next pandemic? Can we have consumerization of health care? Will new payment models work? What impact can we make on key issues such as health equity and vaccine confidence?

W2O’s annual Digital Health (this time, virtual) event was the place to go to for answers. As always, it took place alongside the J.P Morgan Health Care Conference and CES and featured some of the leading minds in health care and beyond.

Day One Keynote: Improving the Human Condition Through Data and Technology

The two-day summit began with an engaging discussion between former Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann and W2O’s Mike Huckman, Global Practice Leader, Executive Communications. The pair have known each other for many years, dating back to Huckman’s days as a CNBC reporter.

Dr. Desmond-Hellmann, an oncologist and longtime biotech leader, spoke about the need to make sure the tools used to make medicines even more precise are “fit for purpose” in public health. She also discussed the role of digital technology in helping those experiencing “long-haul” symptoms from COVID-19.

For more: Reunited and It Feels So Good: A Conversation with One of My Favorite Executives

Day Two Keynote: Why Do You Even Call It A “System?”

Mastercard Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Raja Rajamannar highlighted the potential for tech-oriented payment companies to disrupt what he called a “mind-befuddling” health care system. He asked, “Why do you even call it a system?”

Rajamannar called for tech-focused disruption in three key areas: billing, paperwork and the catch-all category of waste, fraud and abuse.

For more: Mastercard CMO’s Prescription to Fix the US Healthcare System

The Evolution and Transformation of Primary Care

What’s next for primary care was the focus of a discussion between Crossover Health Founder and CEO Dr. Scott Shreeve and health economist Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, an advisor to W2O.

Dr. Shreeve, a board-certified emergency medicine physician, said that when the pandemic hit last March, Crossover – whose clients are largely self-insured companies – embraced “pandemic primary care” almost immediately.

For more: Primary Care 2.0 – How Crossover Health is “Re-Bundling” Health Care

How Far Did the Pandemic Push Digital Health?

The pandemic not only accelerated the development and use of digital health, but also pushed the FDA to be even more flexible in its regulatory approach. That was one of many conclusions in a panel discussion moderated by Udit Nagar, a Vice President at health care investment banking group BTIG, and panelists Brian Harris, Co-founder and CEO of MedRhythms, Eddie Martucci, CEO and Co-founder of Akili, and Michael Evers, CEO of Woebot Health.

For more: The New Next and What Does 2021 Look Like for Digital Health

How Do You Find an Ideal Patient Population?

Ron Elwell, Co-founder of Swoop and IPM.ai – which were recently acquired by W2O – talked with W2O Chief Marketing Officer Aaron Strout about getting patients with undiagnosed conditions, especially rare diseases, connected more quickly to potential treatment paths. The discussion also focused on ensuring a more representative sample of patients in clinical trials.

For more: Moderated Chat: Uncovering Your Ideal Patient Population and Closing Remarks (video)

The New Normal: Digital Welcomed with Open Arms

Techonomy’s David Kilpatrick led a session about the “return to normalcy” after the pandemic. Kirkpatrick was joined by Denise Heaney, Senior Scientific Affairs Manager, Diagnostics Information Solutions at Roche Diagnostics, and Nick Vitalari, Chief Strategy Officer at Quantum Materials Corp.

Heaney pointed out that the pandemic “has opened up a lot of doors where digital will really be welcomed with open arms, because people have started to adopt, or at least consider, these types of virtual platforms that allow them to do a variety of virtual care.”

For more: Health Tech’s Role in Return to Normalcy

Can We Have Amazon-Like Experiences in Health Care?

Health systems are getting pushed into the digital age by changing patient demands that the pandemic accelerated. How those systems handle that was the focus of a discussion between Salesforce Executive Medical Director Dr. Geeta Nayyar, M.D., and HIMSS Senior Vice President of Enterprise Marketing and Communications Terri Sanders.

Investing in the patient-physician/provider relationship may be the best opportunity to satisfy those patient demands and improve patient outcomes, Dr. Nayyar said, and not just for large hospitals. “You have to bring value to that independent practitioner,” she said.

For more: Digital Health’s Push Into Consumerism

Public Health’s Early Warning System Is Digital

Last year, users of Kinsa’s connected thermometer provided early signs that COVID-19 was spreading. Public health officials were slow to accept the data, Kinsa CEO Inder Singh said in an eye-opening session with Techonomy’s Kilpatrick. “I’m sad it took a pandemic to bring to light how important our work on early warning of outbreaks is,” Sing said.

For more: Kinsa’s Thermometer Network: Crowdsourcing for Public Health

Critical Issue: Clinical Trial Diversity

The need to keep up the push for true diversity in clinical trials was the main subject of a panel moderated by Eric Roberts, Vice President of W2O’s Hū, with Peyton Howell, EVP and Chief Commercial Officer of Parexel, Sonali Duggal, Chief Commercial Officer of par8o, and Jackie Kent, EVP and Head of Product for Medidata.

Duggal sounded a note of optimism: “It’s more than just lip service. It’s actual people, it’s budgets, it’s time, it’s executive attention, and that is something that feels really new, and that it will last and stick beyond COVID.”

For more: Clinical Trial Diversity in Recruitment/Identification

Media Chat: Stories from the Frontlines

Wired magazine Co-founder Jane Metcalfe and ex-CNBC reporter Christina Farr, who moved from journalism to OMERS Ventures last year, had a wide-ranging chat on the event’s final day.

Farr discussed her jump into the VC world from media, saying she wanted to be “more of a source of help behind the scenes,” and Metcalfe talked about how her science-focused NEO.LIFE brings together “a community of people who should all be talking to each other.”

For more: Your Ultimate Guide to Hiring Doctors into Digital Health (scroll to bottom)


Learn more about W2O via our About or Healthcare pages.

Looking for 2021’s national awareness months and days for healthcare? This is the holy grail – the most comprehensive calendar available.

As experts in healthcare marketing, we fully appreciate the regulatory challenges our clients face. And as a strategist specializing in content at W2O, I fully appreciate the regulatory challenges of healthcare marketing.

It’s tough, and we get it.

You often can’t mention the drug by name. Or the indication. As a result, we have to figure out how to communicate the brand promise through topics that are allowed.

Often, when we’re putting together an editorial calendar or social strategy for clients, we recommend peppering in stories related to healthcare holidays and observances. However, Twitter stopped creating its Healthcare Holidays Calendar a few years ago. That’s why we’ve decided to step in.

We’ve created a comprehensive calendar for the healthcare industry that lists all potential holidays and awareness dates around which you may want to launch a campaign. To access the full calendar, enter your info below to download it.

If you’re a W2O client, ask your account team for a personalized calendar, and we’ll edit this document to fit your needs.


Learn more about W2O via our About or Healthcare pages.

Tags:

Are glimpses of “normalcy” slowly starting to find their way into digital and social media? While brands are finding innovative ways to reach audiences via only virtual means, as demonstrated by a successful CES 2021, others are bringing IRL exhibits to life among social-distance protocols. In these changing times, we’ll always strive to find innovative new ways to stay connected, but we also know our hearts still need comfort food sometimes: YouTube and Instagram were the top two apps (again) this week.

ByteDance is Latest Tech Company to Enter the Pharma Industry

The next big thing in drug development is…TikTok? ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, has joined other leading Chinese tech companies as the latest to bet on the healthcare industry in a move to diversify ad-reliant revenue streams. Job descriptions for the business suggest candidates will work on drug design, identification and simulation using the company’s AI-powered technology. The investments underscore the massive scale at which AI-supported algorithms can be applied and investors seem to believe the healthcare industry is the right place to start.

Sources: TECHCRUNCH, DIGITAL INFORMATION WORLD, FUTURISM

To Opt-In or Opt-Out, that is the Question…

Facebook and other social platforms are bracing for the impact Apple’s latest software update and its changes the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) feature will have on advertisers. The update will inform users on what types of data an app tracks before they download it from the App Store, with an opportunity to opt-in/opt-out of data tracking. Facebook has been vocal in its opposition to Apple’s IDFA updates, highlighting the detrimental impact it will have on small and mid-sized businesses that rely on using that data to reach new and existing customers. While Facebook has been sharing guidance on how to prepare for iOS 14, the update’s full impact on campaign performance and reporting will be unclear until users begin to either opt-in or opt-out of data tracking. With recent privacy legislation such as CPRA and an upcoming antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, it’s clear that the conversation around data privacy isn’t going away any time soon.

Sources: SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY, CNBC, THE DRUM, AP, FACEBOOK

As CTV Popularity Soars, So Do Ambitious Scammers

Last month, Oracle discovered a Connected TV (CTV) ad fraud scheme now dubbed “StreamScam” that exploited digital ad technology by “spoofing” millions of IP addresses to steal the ad revenue from the advertising platform. Given the skyrocketing interest in CTV from viewers and marketers alike, experts expect to see an increase in fraud attempts as scammers try to take advantage of the higher CPMs from CTV inventory. Still, some say the concern is overblown because CTV is significantly safer for brands compared to digital display since inventory is typically sourced directly from premium publishers rather than on the open exchange. As healthcare marketers, we will continue to find new ways embrace CTV while trying to reduce waste by leveraging unique audience sets.

Sources: PR NEWSWIRE, FORBES, AD EXCHANGER

2021: The Year of the HCP Influencer

In late December, we reported that patient-physician engagement had doubled on Twitter since the start of the pandemic 🤯. We’ve quickly come to learn that this emerging influential group is not immune to various forms of online harassment. In fact, one in four physicians reported being harassed online, with women and physicians of color facing additional risk of attacks grounded in sexism and racism. But that doesn’t mean they should step away from the platform. As the world slowly works toward returning to life as it was pre-COVID-19, reliable HCP voices remain important in encouraging smart health decisions among consumers. As with all influencers, supporting HCPs in all aspects of campaigns and programming is critical to break through the noise and help them get out important messages.

Sources: FAST COMPANY, STAT, W2O

Twitter is Tuning Up So Audiences Don’t Tune Out

Podcast listening has increased tremendously since the onset of the pandemic. Google was quick to recognize this change in audience behavior with the expansion of its audio advertising options last August. In keeping up with audio-focused content consumption, Twitter announced the acquisition of Breaker as an expansion of its voice-based “Spaces” feature. Breaker is a podcast listening app that features user engagement tools. These developments show that Twitter is expanding its features, so users can both read AND listen to their news – all while making a compelling fight to keep audiences engaged within its platform. The rise in audio-first features also marks another step forward for accessibility and inclusion on social media.

Sources: SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY, TECH CRUNCH, EDISON RESEARCH

In Other News…

Social platforms are starting to resemble each other, but what does that mean for content consumption?

Because we live by our calendars, here’s a 2021 events calendar to help you stay on top of all the key happenings.

For those who love an annual trend forecast: eMarketer shares 10 digital trends that marketers need to track in 2021.


W2O’s The Scoop is brought to you by an editorial collective, featuring industry updates and insights from subject matter experts across social media, digital and influencer activation teams.

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Insights from the Reuters Patient-Centricity Conference

I recently “attended” the virtual Reuters Patient-Centricity conference. It was refreshing to spend three days with like-minded people across the healthcare industry, laser-focused on how we can continue to place patients and their needs at the center of all we do. The conference agenda covered nearly every aspect of the patient journey – from research and development, to designing clinical trials, to the impact of COVID-19, to the most effective ways to reach and engage patient communities.

One of the themes I found particularly energizing was how the industry is using data to better understand the needs and nuances of patient communities, and, in turn, the most impactful ways to engage and service them. At W2O, leveraging data and analytics to help make the world a healthier place is in our DNA. I’m grateful to be able to see first-hand how meaningful data can be, and one of my favorite parts of my job is translating data-derived insights into meaningful marketing communications. One example that comes to mind is a W2O client that was looking to better understand, and thus better target, people with cystic fibrosis in order to drive clinical trial recruitment. Our analytics and data team created SocialGraphics segmentation, which allowed us to look at members of the community as both patients and people. With this approach, W2O could target beyond the cystic fibrosis community’s general interests. Using Facebook’s affinity targeting, we then matched the top interests from our SocialGraphics segments with Facebook targeting inputs and activated separate Facebook and Instagram campaigns targeted to specific interests. The result? SocialGraphics targeting outperformed traditional efforts, and the insights gleaned were pulled through to other activities.

During the conference, Tara Hastings, Senior Associate Director, Research Partnerships & Patient Engagement, at The Michael J. Fox Foundation, shared how the Foundation is using data to better understand and respond to people living with Parkinson’s disease. Tara noted that their innovative online real-world study, Fox insight, has generated some unexpected results. For example, patients cited pain and fatigue as what’s most bothersome about living with Parkinson’s disease, which isn’t necessarily what they expected. Fox insight also uncovered new language patients are using to describe their most bothersome symptoms during “off” periods. This is an important discovery that the Foundation is using to inform future communications.

Tara’s presentation resonated with me because the staff at The Michael J. Fox Foundation spend 100% of their time focused on the Parkinson’s patient, yet there were still new learnings to be gleaned. It reminds me that we can never stop learning and never stop listening. We must continue to engage patient communities at every step along the way and be truly open to what we learn, even if it isn’t what we want to hear. Ultimately, we need to let the experiences and needs of patients guide us because patient-centricity is central to patient communications and ultimately to the best patient care.


Learn more about W2O via our About or Healthcare pages.