Tracking epidemics on social media: “Big Pharma” and the Ebola vaccine

Tracking epidemics on social media: “Big Pharma” and the Ebola vaccine

The Ebola epidemic was – and still is – heavily discussed across different online platforms. Information about the disease and its spread are shared heavily, as are new developments in the research for a cure or vaccine against the disease. The conversation around these topics contains valuable information, especially for the pharma companies involved in the development of Ebola treatments and vaccines.

Where does the conversation about Ebola happen?

share of media types Ebola reports

Social Media Monitoring can help you discover how much buzz a particular disease or the related topics cause online. The Ebola epidemic, for example, resulted in over 6 million results across all platforms for November 2014 alone. Most of the conversation surrounding Ebola and the development of a vaccine was focused on Twitter and online news. Communications, Market Research and Research & Development departments can then filter these results according to the topics that are most relevant for them. Based on these insights, they can draft communication strategies or see which disease might be most prevalent in a geographical area and target their marketing to this area.

Which countries are talking about Ebola the most?

With a mortality rate of up to 70%, it is not surprising that Ebola is so heavily discussed on social media. For pharmaceutical companies, it can be interesting to use a social media analytics tool to see where in the world the conversation happens.

World map Ebola conversation

An increase in the buzz for a topic or a disease – including, but not limited to Ebola – can indicate a new outbreak. By monitoring the worldwide conversation for selected keywords related to a disease, pharmaceutical companies can prepare as early as possible for potential new epidemics, for example by adapting the production volume of a type of medication.

Why social media monitoring matters for "Big Pharma"

What’s being said you about online affects your reputation and can have a direct impact on your business. If you want to find out how the insights gained by social listening can help you manage your online reputation or deal with potential crises, check out our full case study on why “Big Pharma” should listen to the conversation about an Ebola vaccine.


Image credit: Syringemanufacturer, resized to 1024x582 pixels