Allergan reaches the masses via unbranded Botox Facebook page

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In six weeks, the page garnered 32 million brand impressions and more than 12,000 likes, Facebook reported. 

In an effort to educate a wider audience about chronic migraine and Botox's role in treating the condition, Allergan launched an unbranded Facebook page called My Chronic Migraine in February. In six weeks, the page garnered 32 million brand impressions and more than 12,000 likes, Facebook reported.   

Since the FDA approved Botox's indication for chronic migraines in 2010, Allergan has been promoting it via traditional DTC and sales-force-led professional efforts. But such efforts reached a comparatively small audience, at least compared to the Facebook throngs. 

See also: How Excedrin brought VR to drug marketing with The Migraine Experience

“There are a lot of people in our target that we can't get to via just traditional DTC or direct-to-physician-type marketing,” admitted Marc Forth, Allergan's SVP of sales and marketing in neurosciences and urology. “The reach of Facebook across millions and millions of consumers is undeniable.”

According to Allergan, 3.6 million patients in the U.S. suffer from chronic migraines. Patients with the condition endure 15 or more headache days a month, with each migraine lasting more than four hours. Not surprisingly, such individuals are highly motivated to seek information about the condition, even if only to secure proper diagnosis. Often, Forth noted, these patients are not getting desired results from their current treatment regimen.

See also: 10 things for pharma marketers to know about Facebook and Instagram   

Allergan worked alongside Facebook and its agency of record Mediacom, taking existing My Chronic Migraine campaign material and repurposing it for Facebook. The campaign originally launched in 2011 in TV, print, and digital realms. 

My Chronic Migraine's Facebook community allows Allergan to engage with its audience more fluidly, Forth noted. As it receives real-time feedback, the drugmaker can quickly  adjust its outreach, in terms of the types of messages and content it posts.

“We can't exactly have a free-flow back and forth,” said Forth. “But we're able to measure more real-time things that are coming to us via social media, and we're able to tailor our messages going forward.” 

See also: How VAYA Pharma used Facebook ads for its ADHD campaign

Facebook's willingness to work with the pharmaceutical industry on concerns such as safety and the reporting of adverse events factored into Allergan's decision to work with the social-media giant. In 2015, Allergan launched its first social-media campaign — #ActuallySheCan, for birth-control pill Lo Loestrin Fe — via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It now has six unbranded Facebook communities, including therapeutic areas like neurology, urology, eyecare, gastroenterology, and women's health.

“Facebook has a text limitation for their ad units,” said Forth. “For the pharma ISI requirements, they were able to edit those requirements and facilitate that for us, which made it viable to work with them.” 

See also: Allergan draws on A-list celebs to drive engagement

While it's still too early to tell whether My Chronic Migraine's Facebook community has truly generated additional prescriptions, the soft metrics of engagement are good indicators, Forth said. “What we're doing here is going to work. Now that we have figured out ways to work together, we can now start customizing campaigns from the get-go,” he added. That means Allergan will likely launch campaigns tailored specifically for Facebook in 2018 and beyond.

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