A new startup social media network offers to provide brands in the healthcare marketing world with "symptom-targeted advertising.”

Let's say you're the maker of a cough syrup or a fever reducer or a cold medication and you want to target those areas ofthe star grouppeople that are currently coping with these ailments or other health-related ailments but you have no idea how to identify these folks. Well enter Sickweather, a new startup company that's part social media network, part "data aggregator for sickness forecasting & mapping" as per their Twitter bio. What the folks at Sickweather will do is monitor social media networks like Facebook and Twitter for any signs of aliments: runny noses, fever, cold, flu and so on. Then, as per their website "Sickweather's robust algorithm filters and qualifies this data from several public sources (including its own online community) and cross references them with location tags to produce real time "weather maps" of reported symptoms" AKA the ideal place for healthcare marketing folks to place ads, hence the aforementioned "symptom-targeted advertising," the phrase used by Sickweather CEO Graham Dodge.

According to the article that ran in Ad Week on Sickweather they "... will host healthcare and pharmaceutical marketers for free as it seeks feedback on the system during its beta testing phase," which will launches by October 16. 

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Privacy Concerns? 

Here's a sample forecast of a screenshot of an area in Baltimore: “Fever, nausea, and chills are going around in 21218.”

Now I can see both sides of this coin as from an advertising and marketing perspective, this is as Kenny Banya said to Jerry Seinfeld, Gold..


...in so much as knowing exactly who and where to deliver a highly targeted (presumably) ad is gold. But from a consumer perspective the issue of privacy will surely be raised as I would imagine many people will not want marketers and advertisers capitalizing on their ailments and for the whole world to know, theoretically, what it is that ails them. Then again, if people don't want to the whole world to know, they need to think twice about what information they share via social media, right? 

Either way, it's an interesting topic and makes for a great conversation. 

So, what do you think about all this from a both a healthcare marketing and advertising perspective as well as from a consumer one?

Sources: Sickweather, AdWeek, The Star Group, A New Social Media Network For Healthcare Marketing Folks