Astellas puts its finger on the TikTok Pulse

The company hopes to tap the platform’s potential to reach menopausal women.

Astellas engaged two influencers for the campaign. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

In recent years, TikTok has emerged as a bona fide phenomenon, with the platform expected to have 1.8 billion users by year’s end. But it is largely perceived as an entity that appeals to younger audiences, which makes its use by Astellas, on an initiative targeting menopausal women, all the more curious.

Pushing back against that notion, Astellas saw the promise in TikTok’s demographics. More than 30% of users are over 40 and, of that cohort, 61% are women. TikTok Pulse, described by the company as a “contextual advertising solution,” proved a fit with its more tailored targeting of ads. Pulse’s primary offering is the placement of ads against the top performing 4% of content in a user’s For You feed.

Sensing a match, Astellas engaged two influencers: Dr. Kerry-Anne Perkins -- Dr. P, to her followers -- and Susan Feldman, the founder of positive aging platform In the Groove, and charged them with creating videos. Astellas thus became the first pharmaceutical brand to launch a TikTok Pulse program.

One video by Dr. P includes some of the dancing ob/gyn’s signature moves, while another by Susan Feldman finds her sharing basic facts about common vasomotor symptoms, such as hot flashes and nights sweats. Both videos end with an invitation to visit

The Pulse program ran for 10 days in late August, then the campaign remained on TikTok through the end of September. After the campaign concluded, Astellas senior director of marketing, women’s health Jill Jaroch pronounced it a success.

Before considering where the menopause outreach campaign might live, Astellas did its homework, Jaroch recalled.

“What we found, and this is probably not surprising to anybody who’s in this space, is that there is a lack of understanding around midlife women’s health,” she said. “We found a real unmet need for education on the topic broadly, and then we keyed in on vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause.”

Jaroch admitted that she was in awe of TikTok’s reach. “The hashtag ‘menopause,’ for example, has over 700 million views,” she noted. “It’s some of the highest engaged-with content on TikTok.”

Astellas’ TikTok content ultimately received more than 158,000 likes, 3,700 comments and 5,100 shares. The videos were viewed more than 41 million times.

It’s not surprising, then, that Jaroch wouldn’t hesitate to return to the platform in the future. When asked about complaints with the platform or the TikTok Pulse program specifically, she mentioned only one positive surprise: “Maybe I just hadn’t really considered it before, but TikTok is a really great forum for sharing healthcare education and information. I don’t know that that’s completely intuitive when you think about social media platforms.”

“Our goal is to shatter the stigmas around menopause, to educate women on symptoms and to urge them to speak to a healthcare provider to find out more information,” Jaroch added. “That’s what we’re trying to achieve with the program. If our early engagement is any indication, we’re taking a good step in the right direction.”

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