Pharmaceutical Industry Video Content Trends to Watch in 2021

As we put 2020 in our rearview at long last, the pharmaceutical industry—like most industries—finds itself in a profoundly changed world in 2021.  There might not be a way back to “normal,” but there will be a new normal.  Now, the question for the pharmaceutical industry is deceptively straightforward: what will that new normal look like?

Luckily, by analyzing pharma video content trends on the rise in 2021, we can shed some light on the road ahead. 

Trend: Digital Spending will Increase

As Ethoseo writer Damien Wright explains, “It’s become clear that digital spending [in pharma marketing] is finally starting to catch up to the levels of other industries.”

Of course, not all of this digital spending is dedicated to video; Wright points out other trends, from artificial intelligence and marketing automation, telemedicine and online care, and more. 

Digital video, however, is far from overshadowed by these initiatives.  

“This medium is particularly important for healthcare marketers because individuals who engage with a health-related video online are more likely to take an action after watching a video – with one study showing 39% of patients called to make an appointment after viewing a relevant video on a healthcare topic,”

Wright argues, with the statistics to prove his point.

Streaming bandwidth, fueled in no small part by the rise of 5G, will continue to increase. Video will become even more normalized. Wright points out that FDA guidance will require updating “to take into account the advertising realities of the new decade, and provide much more precise guidelines to the industry”. But as this inevitably occurs, more and more pharmaceutical firms will expand their use of digital video.

The takeaway from Wright? 

Get involved in video now.

Video is well-suited to not only marketing in general but healthcare specifically. Your competitors in the pharmaceutical world will almost certainly be using more and more video in their marketing. Don’t fall behind them, or worse, ignore the trend. Get started as soon as possible by investing in digital video for your marketing, training, HR, and other content.

Wright gave one reason for the suitability of video to healthcare, and Curtis & Coulter provide more to explain the trend of increased video use in the pharmaceutical industry.  “Easy, cheap and convenient communication,” video can provide something particularly salient to pharma marketing: “communicating patient success stories.”

Why does video work for the pharmaceutical industry?

Video works because, when done right, it can clearly explain complex or innovative ideas. Take a look at this video we created for Catalent Pharma Solutions:

In addition to sharing complex information, at TruScribe, we’re very interested in utilizing the best of design principles in our content creation.  We call these principles Scribology, and one of the scientifically proven, highly effective ones is the employment of human forms. The brain cannot help but fixate on human forms, particularly faces. And this is exactly what a patient testimonial video brings to the table.

Trend: Testimonial Videos Connect with Your Audience

With a real person speaking naturally about their experience with your products or services, you’ll have high engagement from your audience from start to finish.  And that’s not the only thing that makes a testimonial stronger in video than text or other media. You’ll also gain credibility, due to the nature of the subject matter.  

As most people are fairly quiet about discussing their personal health, a video testimonial means that the subject will almost certainly be seen as being open, sincere, and even vulnerable.  Allowing oneself to be open and vulnerable are great ways to gain a listener’s trust. They’ll do just that for the stock that your viewer puts in your subject.  

Compare this to a testimonial about dish soap. Both have people to drive engagement. But only one is discussing how the product in question improved or even saved their life. A pharmaceutical testimonial shows a real person discussing a hard issue because they want others to know about your solution. It’s hard to say the same about other industries’ testimonials.

Trend: Shifting Audiences for Video

Martin O’Toole adds another dimension to the increasing trends of video content in pharma marketing: trends in YouTube viewership. YouTube’s fastest-growing demographics are Baby Boomers (50-65 years of age) and Gen Xers (36-49 years of age).


With these demographics in mind, you can already likely see the advantage pharma gets from YouTube. Its fastest-growing demographics are very likely to be interested in healthcare solutions, for themselves and their children.  Across the two groups identified as fastest-growing, 75% use YouTube to “embrace nostalgia” (perhaps watching performances or events filmed years earlier). And 68% use it to “stay in the know” (monitoring and viewing trending topics and creatives). Perhaps most relevantly, 73% use it to access how-to content.

O’Toole doesn’t precisely define how-to content, but we can imagine a significant amount of potential pharma topics and ideas that could easily fit into this content category. From searches on “how to alleviate pain at [x] area” to “what to do for teenage skin condition,” Baby Boomers and Gen Xers’ YouTube use will tee them up for watching pharma videos more than perhaps any other demographic.

How should you react to this information? 

Make videos that reliably populate such search results. Be the pharmaceutical organization that your audience sees first when they look to, say, find a fix for their neck pain.  

Always remember content marketing as you create your videos. You’re not required to frontload your videos with your product. And you might in fact do better by providing other solutions to your viewer for free before referring to your organization or product. A video that proclaims “Only Our Painkiller Can Help” will likely come up in the kinds of how-to searches common to key demographics, but will feel considerably more heavy handed than something like “Ten Ways to Relieve Neck Pain, from FeelBetterSolutions.”

Trend: Remote Work Requires Asynchronous Training

Shifting trends in remote work for many, even in the pharmaceutical industry, has changed the landscape of training and HR content for staff. While we once relied on in-person training, much of that has shifted to video. And whiteboard video is designed to grab AND keep attention, ensuring that your resources are well-used.

Key Takeaways

Trends in video content show that pharmaceutical organizations can benefit profoundly from the increasing use of digital video in marketing, from the content itself to the types of people that are more and more likely to be perusing YouTube and other videos for healthcare topics.  And the remote work trend has changed the way companies offer training and HR content to their staff.

The trends are pointing in the same direction. It’s high time to greet 2021 with a renewed focus on video content.