Where are the Drug Commercials on YouTube?

Pharmaceutical companies tend to do a poor job managing their online reputations, especially on YouTube. Major drug companies like Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly, Abbott Laboratories and GlaxoSmithKline spend millions of dollars each year developing and marketing new pharmaceuticals to the public. After the cost of developing these drugs, millions of dollars are spent on television advertisements. Just watch an hour or so of primetime TV any night of the week and you’re bound to see a handful of drugs ads that promise to reduce your cholesterol, relieve chronic pain, reduce inflammation, help you sleep better, be happier, and generally improve your life.

Finding official information on Google for drugs with unique names like Abilify, Nexium, Crestor, Cymbalta, Humira, Celebrex and Advair  is pretty straightforward, and the SERPs will show the official corporate drug website in the top spot. But search any of these drugs on YouTube you’ll discover it is almost impossible to find even one of the broadly televised commercials. YouTube is the second largest search engine just after Google receiving upwards of 3 billion searches a month. Considering the millions spent on TV advertising it would benefit drug companies to spend a small fraction of this amount creating effective YouTube channels and promoting the online videos.

Obviously the biggest roadblocks for pharmaceuticals are the legal and regulatory requirements and restrictions. Many are related to side effects being spelled out in communications, but this problem is solved when an “official” commercial is being used online. If fact, both drug benefits and side effects can be listed additionally in the description area set aside for YouTube videos. And if there are issues related to the barrage of uncensored comments made by video viewers, this can be solved by simply not allowing comments to be made on a video.

Clearly there are opportunities for pharmaceutical companies to improve their online reputation by exploring how YouTube can help them extend their marketing and education reach. Here are some recommendations:

1)    Look for ways to benefit from the extremely large audience using YouTube (2 billion videos viewed every day)

2)    Produce unique longer form commercials for online use only

3)    Promote YouTube videos through other social media (Twitter)

4)    Develop an SEO strategy for videos so they’ll rank higher in both YouTube and Google searches

5)    Make videos available so they can be embedded in other drug review type websites

6)    Properly title, describe and tag videos so they can be easily found, and so they rank higher in both YouTube and Google results

7)    Use the description area of the video to link to the main drug site

7)    Use annotations within videos to help viewers find additional information

8)    Create localized versions of commercials in different languages such as Spanish

YouTube Pharmaceutical and Medicine Advertising Policy

AdWords Healthcare and Medicines Policy

How to Use YouTube to Combat a Negative Online Reputation

Not only do videos get a lot of attention in the search engines ranks compared to just regular old links, they also work really well for reputation management. Sure, they can take up a spot in the SERPs and push more negative link down, but they can also be great tools for getting your positive message across to users.

First of all, if you’re not using YouTube as part of your marketing strategy, you should be. Second, if you haven’t thought about it as a way to create a more positive online reputation, now is the time to start. Because it'd be difficult if you were to leave the scoring and grading at the end. And it’s not that hard.

Video Isn’t That Hard

There is a perception that in order to do effective YouTube content you have to have a big budget, actors, expensive equipment, and more. And that’s simply not true. A lot of the videos that rank well in a general Google search are just people sitting at a desk with a camera. So don’t be afraid to go out and try something.

All you have to have is a camera (your smartphone is probably just fine) and some good information. Maybe you just want to talk about your company or your services, maybe you want to give advice or create a “how to” video (on a side note, “how to” videos tend to rank better than most types of videos). The point it, if you have some great content about your company—which you probably do—getting a video together shouldn’t be that hard.

Ranking Your Video

Once you have a video made, you need to start thinking about how to get it to rank in the general search. There are only a few factors to take into account:

1) YouTube Rank

One of the factors that Google looks at when deciding to rank a video in the general search results is that video’s rank within the platform it is hosted on. In this case, if a video ranks well on YouTube it is more likely to show up on the first page of a Google search. So, first you need to focus on ranking well within the platform then think about ranking in the general search results.

2) Title, Description, and Keywords

YouTube is not nearly as complicated a search engine as the Google general search. YouTube relies much more heavily on user-generated factors to rank videos: the title, description, and keywords that users create when they upload a video. So, simply make sure that these areas include the words and phrases you want to rank well for.

In general, informational or “how to” videos tend to rank well, and videos with words that are related to products or brands tend not to rank as well. So, although you want to include the name of your brand in the video description and title, make sure it is paired with information-focused keywords as well. For example, “how to install a door knob” would be a great information title. Just make sure your brand name is included in the description (and a link to your official website is good too). Also include a handful of keywords that are relevant to the content of the video (as well as your brand name).

3) Links

Lastly, ranking well on YouTube is a lot like ranking well on Google, if you have a number of links and social shares that point to your video, it is more likely to rank well within YouTube and in the Google general search. So, do some good old-fashioned link-building to create some authority for the video. Chances are, if you are simply trying to rank for branded searches, a couple of links will be all you need. (Your brand name is not usually a high-competition keywords set.)

Lastly, keep in mind that a video can serve a dual purpose. Not only can it appear in the general search results (pushing negative links off the page), but it can be a tool for building a positive reputation. Although your video doesn’t have to be a Hollywood production to be good, if you create a video with compelling, informational content—you’ll be building trust in the eyes of anyone who sees it. And building actual trust with real people will lead to real sales and conversions, which should be your ultimate goal in the first place.

How to Do Reputation Management for “Boring” Industries

At its essence, reputation management isn’t that hard. The basic principles sounds easy enough: Push bad and damaging search engine results off the first page of a Google search page by getting positive content on the web to rank higher. But it’s more complicated than it seems. For instance, what kind of things do you want to rank well? Do you make content yourself, or do you build links to help others’ content rank well? And how positive is too positive? At what point will your audience think they’re being fooled by overly positive search results?

If you’ re in cool industries, like technology or entertainment, you probably can think of a million ways to get positive information to rank well in your SERPs. But what if the company you are doing reputation management for is “boring,” like they make blenders or tax preparation software? How do you create good content on the web that people will want to link to so that it will rank high for your branded terms?

First of all, there is no such thing as a “boring” industry, only boring reputation management professionals. If you’re going to help a boring company clean up their SERP, you just have to get a little more creative. Think outside the box. Do something different.

In fact, here are some great examples of boring companies that have managed to build a great online reputation just by being creative with what they share on the web. So creative, in fact, that most of them have come to be seen as leaders in their industries.


BlendTec makes blenders. Not the most exciting industry in the world. But not only do they make blenders, they make industrial strength blenders. And they were a virtually unknown company until they started an online video series, called “Will it Blend?” Each video has a simple concept, they think of an object and then they throw it in one of their blenders to see if it will blend. They’ve done books, super glue, glow sticks, and even a iPhone. Now when you search for them by name, two of the top ten results are links to their videos (both on their own website and their BlendTec YouTube channel).


One of the top search engine optimization companies in the world didn’t start out as the most well known. In fact, how do you get people excited about all the technical mumbo jumbo involved in search engine optimization? Well, SEOmoz took that challenge and created an awesome online reputation with it. Instead of trying to appeal to a mass audience, they decided they were going to be a great resource for the SEO industry. So they created downloadable SEO guides, videos, blog posts, and more. Now they have over 50,000 social shares on Twitter and Facebook and a search for their name reveals videos, social media profiles, articles, pres releases, pictures and more.

Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club is a company that sells disposable razors over the internet for a dollar a month. Not exactly front page material, right? Well, to jumpstart their reputation management efforts, they created a hilarious video about their company that currently has over 4 million views on YouTube. Now when you search for them online, you see a myriad of reviews, videos, articles and more all about them.


What about tax preparation software, you ask? Certainly one of the most boring industries ever created. Well, for the 2011 tax season, TurboTax took to social media to interact with its customers and raise their online reputation. And it worked. They had thousands of responses and now their social profiles rank number 2 and 3 after their main site, showing anyone who searches for them that they are a company who cares about its customers. And that’s the kind of reputation you can’t buy.

Remember, reputation management doesn’t have to be all drudgery. If you get creative not only will you build a solid online reputation but you’ll cut down on the work you do because everyone else will be building links to your great content for you. So don’t be boring. Be creative and build a better online reputation.

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