Today’s post features commentary from Gary Monk, Product Manager (Marketing) at Janssen-Cilag. Gary is responsible for (among other things) administering the company’s LivingwithADHD YouTube Channel. So, along with my commentary, Gary will share his perspective based on his experience with Janssen-Cilag’s relatively popular video, “ADHD: A day in the life.” More on that in a moment, but first a little background.
For whatever reason, YouTube seems to get lumped into the giant “social media” bucket. I suppose there are some social aspects to it, but that’s a debate for a different day. It’s in that bucket and that means that it makes most pharma companies nervous. By nervous, I mean that many haven’t even taken the leap onto YouTube even though the vast majority have content that is probably YouTube worthy. Those that have started with YouTube, for the most part, treat it purely as a broadcast medium. That means that they turn off comments and the ability to like (or dislike) a video. And, yes, YouTube uses Like, just as Facebook does.
However, a number of pharma and healthcare companies have already started their own YouTube channels or posted videos. There are about 30 examples on the Pharma and Healthcare Social Media Wiki. As I mentioned, the majority do not allow any form of commenting on their videos even though they should (see: “Healthcare and Pharma Social Media: It’s All About E.V.E.“). The rationale I’ve been given for this by these companies is that they are afraid people will post adverse events. Of course, you can probably see me banging my head on my desk now because you all know that I’m not a big believer in the validity of this excuse. Having said that, I thought I’d share some real world experience in this area to see just how real these fears are.
So, how does Janssen-Cilag handle YouTube? First, let’s take a look at their video. [If you're having trouble viewing it, you can view it on YouTube. If you have YouTube blocked by your company, then that's another problem altogether.]
First off, this is a well done video. I like it. This is rule number one of YouTube. If you don’t have quality content, then don’t post it. When I’ve asked some companies about why they block comments, but also ratings, they have responded with something like this: “Well, we’re afraid that people won’t rate our videos very well.” Hmmm, is that a YouTube problem or an indication that your videos aren’t very good? But I digress.
By pretty much any standard on YouTube, Janssen-Cilag’s video has been a success. At the time of this post, there were 71,637 views. Considering this video has been up for a little under a month, that’s pretty impressive. For perspective, that’s more views than all but 5 of the 300 videos on the Johnson and Johnson YouTube channel (my personal favorite pharma YouTube channel) and each of these have been up for more than a year. Like the J&J channel and all its videos, the Janssen-Cilag also allows comments and ratings. At the time of this post, there were 54 published comments. So, is that a lot?
“Consider videos on the subject of ADHD – Typically the number of people who leave a comment after viewing varies between 0.05% and 0.5%. It seems that the barrier to entry of logging in to post a comment is either a bridge too far, or that folk are just happy to be entertained rather than engaged.”
For those not interested in doing the math, Janssen-Cilag’s video has a comment rate of 0.08%. That means there’s one posted comment for every 1,250 views. I agree with Gary that this is a pretty typical number. However, for perspective, the one Johnson and Johnson video about ADHD, has been up for a little more than a year and has 64,726 views, but 322 comments. That’s a rate of 0.5% or one posted comment for every 200 views. The big question is why the difference? Answer: I’m not sure, but stay tuned.
So, is the number of comments lower than what should be expected for the Janssen-Cilag’ video?
“I say emphatically no, the comments are diverse in nature and you can witness dialogue between ideological adversaries. Its great to see feedback in PR Week and on the YouTube channel itself that suggest at first glance the site appears unmoderated.”
I agree with Gary on this one. There is a free-flowing debate and discussion happening around this video and it certainly isn’t one that you’d expect a pharma company to allow especially if they have the ability to prevent it. It’s a pretty heated debate. In fact, to Gary’s point, one commenter asked, “Are comments even being screened for this video?” Gary promptly responded with: “Yes comments are reviewed before posting – in line with the commenting policy on the site. The vast majority of comments have been posted, Kind regards, Gary.”
Since Gary mentioned the commenting policy, you should read it for yourself by going to the video on YouTube and clicking the double-down arrow immediately to the left of the view total (right under the view itself). The commenting policy is posted and clear [italics added]:
All submissions will be reviewed and may not be posted if deemed inappropriate. Comments which are off-topic, offensive, or promotional, will not be posted. Please note that we will not post comments about any specific products or treatments, whether they are sold by Janssen-Cilag Ltd or not.
The comments contained on this site come from members of the public, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Janssen-Cilag, and no endorsement or approval of their content should be implied. Comments that contain links to third-party or commercial Web sites may not be posted; please note that any Web sites that may appear in comments are not endorsed or supported by Janssen-Cilag.
A policy like this is a must if you are going to moderate comments and this one is simple, to the point and also fair. There are some things that aren’t going to be allowed like mentioning specific products because this would require some form of fair balance (or would it?). Based on this commenting policy, how many comments would you expect had to be removed by Janssen-Cilag? Before you answer, recall that anything considered “off-topic, offensive, or promotional” is excluded along with any mention of any product (Janssen-Cilag’s or not). Also, keep in mind that this is a pretty contentious subject with some people arguing that “big pharma” is over-medicating kids, etc. You’ve heard the rumblings, so, you might expect a ton of anti-pharma rhetoric, right?
“So far only 7 comments have not been allowed on, in line with the site posting policy. 3 of these mentioned specific medical products and the other 4 were deemed too offensive to post.
Moderating the comments is more straightforward for those that discuss ADHD as a condition or the video, and additional internal discussion is required for comments that allude to treatment, medical advice and strong language. Clearly the process needs to be robust and compliant yet ideally allow quick postings to site and subsequent engagement.”
Only 7 haven’t been allowed. What did you guess? Most of you probably guessed more. Point is that it’s likely not as bad as what you think. In fact, most discussion and the overall reaction to this particular video has been quite positive. There are 47 likes and only 9 dislikes for this video. That means that 84% of people had a favorable view of the video…a pretty good rate. I’m guessing that most pharma companies would be pretty happy if the public viewed everything else they did at this positive rate.
So, is Gary happy with the results to this point?
“My personal opinion is this is a great start, however I see it as a first step and I look forward to a future of increased engagement between pharma, patients and the public: a future where regulation is seen as an opportunity to do the right thing by patients and not as a barrier to engagement.”
Again, I agree with Gary. His last sentence should be the one you remember: “a future where regulation is seen as an opportunity to do the right thing by patients and not as a barrier to engagement.” Imagine that.
One thing many of you are probably wondering about is how exactly you moderate comments on YouTube. Can it be done? Recall from past posts that you cannot pre-moderate comments or posts on Facebook. That is, you cannot review them before they are posted. As page owner you can remove them after they are posted only. YouTube is different. As the owner of a video (i.e., the person who uploaded it), you are given a number of different options to control. This is the panel you’ll see when you’re saving your video just before making it live.
As you can see, there’s quite a bit you can control. There’s no reason to block all comments (“Don’t allow comments” option) when you can select the option to approve them before posting (“Allow all comments with approval only”). This is similar to how most blogs work, so people are familiar with the process. Note that you can remove them after approving too if necessary.
Comments are critical for the reasons Gary outlined, but also because of YouTube’s search algorithm. I won’t get into too many details here, but the number of comments and ratings play a major role in where your video shows up in the YouTube search results. You probably optimize your websites to ensure they appear on the front page of Google results for as many important keywords as possible (you do, right?), but do you do the same for your YouTube videos? If you’re like most people, you probably aren’t familiar with the fact that there even is an algorithm that determines the order videos appear in YouTube search much less what the algorithm is. Never fear, Dose of Digital has you covered. Just review my post, “8 Tips to Help You Own YouTube’s Search Results” and you’ll be caught up.
So, ready to allow comments and ratings on your YouTube videos yet?
[A couple of housekeeping items on this post. First, from Gary, "Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this blog are mine and don't necessarily reflect those of my company." Also, Gary will be discussing this project in more detail at Digipharm, in London on September 30th. In the meantime you can always follow him on Twitter: @GaryMonk.]