What will Google+ mean for pharma?

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Google tried one-upping its rival when it released a Facebook-esque package of social media features known as Google+. Is this a game changer, and what will it mean for pharma marketers?

Larry Mickelberg
Partner and chief digital officer,
Havas Worldwide Health

While Google+ may not be a game-changer in terms of the social graph, some of the nuanced differences between it and Facebook might allow it to be more of a factor in health and pharma. Privacy concerns have limited people's sharing of personal information on these platforms. The core differentiating feature of Google+, something called Circles, is a novel way to address privacy by allowing a great deal of control of what, when, how and with whom you share information on the platform. If people gain comfort with Circles, they should have confidence to more fully engage and share more health information. Google has proven itself to be a reliable partner for pharma marketers, and appears committed to finding innovative ways to accommodate our needs, and Google+ is the latest proof point.

Jim Dayton
Senior director, emerging media,
Intouch Solutions

Google+ certainly has the features of a “game changer.” Brands who share and have their valuable content shared on Google+, should have more relevant organic results in Google's search engine. Also, integration with Google's applications like Translate, Reader, Maps, Documents, Photos and YouTube, as well as the Chrome browser and Android mobile OS, could give marketers a unique opportunity to have extremely rich and targeted interactions. However, this level of integration has not been rolled out yet. Pharma marketers should definitely keep an eye on the progress of Google+ and participate in the initial business feature testing. But only time will tell if Google+ can lure the masses away from Facebook.

Mark Bard
Digital Health Coalition

The next 12 months are critical—but it certainly appears to have the potential to shift the landscape in a big way with over 10 million users prior to the formal launch. The impact to pharma is more of a strategic question than it is about a specific platform. The industry must recognize the inherent value of social platforms—from the end user point of view. As everyone knows, the lack of guidance on the regulatory front has been a major barrier to adoption and investments by brands in recent years. In the end, social platforms are a strategic shift in thinking and limiting that to just marketing or brand impact is missing the value of the social shift under way in health. If brands and marketers learn how users want to engage with content and come up with solutions based on those needs, we all win in the end.

Carol Nordin
Community manager,
Medicus Life Brands

I believe it is crucial for pharma to have a social presence where our audiences are spending time, asking questions and learning about treatment options. However, Facebook's ever changing and unpredictable platform, has at times made this participation challenging. We are working with Facebook to better understand and anticipate changes, but I am hopeful that Google+ may offer another option for pharma. It appears that Google+ will provide the ability to manage privacy settings that we need and the closed circles on Google+ might make it easier for pharma brands to communicate with specific interested groups. And with Google+, pharma has an opportunity to get in on the ground floor!
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