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How review analysis can inform pharmaceutical marketing research

In saturated markets, it’s crucial to stand out. Over the counter painkillers, for example. They all serve similar functions, but come in many different forms.

So how do you get consumers to choose your product on the shelf? Pharmaceutical marketing research. 

Brands use Relative Insight for competitor analysis. By analyzing reviews, we can understand the strengths and weaknesses of brands competing for the same customers. 

We analyzed Amazon reviews for three popular over the counter pain medications in the US – Advil, Tylenol and Motrin.

Using Relative Insight Medical, our specialized medical text analysis platform, we compared reviews for one brand against reviews for the other two combined. This form of market analysis in healthcare will pinpoint the differences in how consumers speak about each brand, and surface customer insights that can inform future product developments and pharmaceutical advertising strategy.

Here’s what we found:


Advil reviewers were more likely to use the product to treat migraines and fevers. Advil’s generic name is Ibuprofen, which is known to treat those issues. We saw far fewer reviewers using Advil for other forms of physical pain. 

Reviews were far more likely to mention not only what they use the product for, but also where and how they use it. Customers routinely included that they use the smaller sized bottle when traveling or on the go. 

Advil on the go

Based on these market analysis healthcare insights, Advil has a clear opportunity to market their product as an anywhere, anytime medication. Unexpected migraine out at dinner? in the middle of your child’s recital? Keep travel Advil on you at all times.


Tylenol is Acetaminophen, a drug similar to Ibuprofen.

Reviewers were more likely to use Tylenol for pain management purposes as opposed to fever reduction. They used the words pain, relief and aches to describe their ailments. 

Compared to competitors, reviewers were more likely to find Tylenol effective in treating their aches and pains. Reviews included the phrases always works and most effective, in addition to the words relief and helps.

customer feedback analysis shows that customers think Tylenol works

Tylenol has largely positive consumer feedback. Using verbatim quotes in marketing materials or adopting those commonly used phrases can help the brand align communications with the actual thoughts and words of customers.


Reviewers also used Motrin, another form of ibuprofen, for pain management – specifically muscle pain. They claimed Motrin provided relief from muscle pain the fastest, which we only saw in Motrin reviews.

Unique to Motrin, reviews talked about product packaging and the easy open cap. Opinions were split on whether this was a positive or negative feature. Some preferred the simple use, while others were concerned over child safety. 

Motrin packaging

Motrin has an opportunity to create a line of child safe products for parents with young kids at home. For consumers without children, Motrin can consider featuring the easy open cap on product packaging and marketing materials.

Market analysis in healthcare is crucial in understanding how consumers perceive your brand and product. Quantitative measurements like ratings can only tell you so much about customer satisfaction. Qualitative analysis uncovers the why behind the what, providing you with the nuanced insight to craft strategic pharmaceutical market research.

Our software brings measurable metrics to qualitative data sources – in this case by analyzing online reviews. If you have healthcare text data which you want to act upon but don’t know where to start, speak to one of our team to learn how Relative Insight Medical can help.