Twitter aims to bring medical conferences — and ad sponsors — from ‘inside 4 walls and 3 days’ to digital future
Medical conferences’ new hybrid virtual models are changing the news cycle for healthcare professionals. Now Twitter wants to make it easier for physicians to stay up on medical convention news — and give pharma marketers another way to reach them.
The social media giant, along with Medscape and Publicis Health Media, is debuting “Conference Conversations” to run around big medical conventions like ASCO and ASH.
Twitter serves as the media platform, while Medscape will provide the content and Publicis Health Media is the ad strategizer in the coordinated effort.
“Conferences used to basically be inside four walls and around three days. But that’s not how conferences are anymore. People are following them virtually, they’re following the Twitter hashtag. People follow ASCO conversations all year round,” Lisa Bookwalter, Twitter’s director of client solutions in health, said. “Yes, there’s a heavy up during the conference, but guess what? People are talking about ASCO long after the conference is over.”
Medscape will create a series of videos of editorial coverage for each convention for Conference Conversations, Vincent Muehter, Medscape’s group general manager and SVP, explained. The package includes four videos: a preview of what to expect at the conference, a clinical takeaway, another on what the study news out of the conference means for HCPs and a final recap.
The first video will launch about a week before the conference and then roll out in succession during the event and up to about three weeks after it ends. Each two-to-three-minute video will feature subject matter expert physicians chosen by Medscape’s editorial staff. Drugmakers will not be involved in any content development.
However, there will be advertising opportunities for pharma companies. That comes from Publicis Health Media whose clients will be able to insert pre-roll ads before the Medscape video content. While the specific content of the short video ads will vary by conference and drugmaker, Patty Ryan, group VP, paid social media at Publicis Health Media, said she expects the ad messages will be customized for each event.
When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, pharma marketers with now limited in-person access to HCPs were left wondering how to best reach them.
Ryan said that’s how the partners came up with the idea “where we can not only surround conferences that we know are highly engaging for HCPs throughout the year, but also have these evergreen, always-on activations targeting HCPs in a digital world on Twitter where we already know they are spending time and are already having conversations.”
“Conference Conversations” is launching with ASCO, ASH and two other annual meetings – the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) and the American Psychological Association (APA) conventions, Muehter said, but others will be considered for coverage.
While the pandemic forced conventions to go virtual – accelerated the move to digital marketing – the medical conference offering on Twitter reflects broader shifts, the co-creators said.
“You have a new demographic of doctors coming in and they leverage social and digital in different ways,” Bookwalter said. “Marketers are having to add to their toolkit beyond what they’re used to doing. It’s definitely an evolution of digital but it’s also an evolution of the ideology in DTC that you have to find patients where they are. Now you have to find HCPs where they are.”