Measure value and maximize reach with altmetrics

Laura Bushell
tape measure

Altmetrics complement traditional indicators like time to publication and citation analysis; they track online sources in real time to measure engagement. This makes it easy for pharma brands to identify Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), and perhaps more importantly, Digital Opinion Leaders (DOLs). 

Using Altmetric’s data, pharmaceutical brands can see how these communities are using their research, what they’re saying about it and how that compares to competitor offerings. It’s at once a means to measure and maximize influence and a way to manage your reputation.

Practical benefits

By incorporating altmetrics with traditional analysis methods, medical affairs teams can improve their publication planning efforts with ease, ensuring that key scientific statements reach a diverse audience. Immediate insights into the degree and type of engagement in both the scientific community and wider public sphere facilitate better refinement of upcoming strategies.

Data-led insights

Previous applications of altmetrics have helped shed light on how organizations can enhance their publication planning strategies to maximize reach, increase influence in their therapeutic area and attract greater public attention. 

Leading authors do not always have a strong influence online. Those researchers who publish highly-cited papers often have little authority with broader, non-academic audiences who use social media and other online platforms to learn about a disease state or therapeutic area. With altmetrics, it’s possible to find out exactly who’s saying what – and where – making it easy to find DOLS who are talking about your specific area of influence and including them in your communications strategy.

Strategic plans built on engagement

Effective publication planning requires an understanding of not only who has seen your work, but also those who are actively engaged with it. Citation analysis provides a limited perspective which ignores the subtleties found in wider digital discourse. 

To gain a more accurate measure of influence, publication planners and medical affairs teams should explore both qualitative and quantitative data. Altmetrics can show which companies and what drugs are dominating online discussion – this also has important implications when it comes to Share of Voice (SOV) and attention from physicians.

Ensuring maximum return on investment

Altmetrics data has uncovered that, surprisingly, industry-sponsored research doesn’t necessarily correlate with the overall volume of attention that it receives online. Moreover, that the sponsorship status of research doesn’t negatively affect the degree of attention that research receives. This is reassuring for medical publication professionals, as it may demonstrate an increase in public trust in industry-sponsored research. This demonstrates the benefits of following good publication practices when communicating sponsored medical research. By promoting transparency and staying accountable, pharmaceutical organizations can protect their integrity and improve public perception of their brand, using altmetrics to stay on track. 

To sum up, there’s hard proof that altmetrics can help pharmaceutical brands to find unique DOLs, illuminate the growth of therapeutic areas, measure influence and test assumptions about industry-sponsored research. An essential counterpart to citation counts and other quantitative measures, altmetrics are an invaluable source of insights for organizations to measure value and maximize reach.

Read our report ‘Building a bigger picture to’ to learn more about how you can measure value and maximise reach.