So Pfizer “self-reported” the great progress in its COVID-19 vaccine development?

eNitiate | CoVID-19 vaccine | Pfizer | self-reporting | 9 Nov 2020

The world went gaga on the 9th of November 2020 on the latest report that Pfizer’s COVID19 vaccine – currently still in development – has achieved 90% efficacy.

This news led to the soaring of the share price of the 2nd largest pharmaceutical company in the world, and sent the world’s stock markets into a frenzy. 

eNitiate | CoVID-19 vaccine | Pfizer | Share Price | 9 Nov 2020
eNitiate | CoVID-19 vaccine | Pfizer | DOW Jones Stock Prices | 9 Nov 2020

Table of Contents

Why am I interested in this breaking news, you ask?

Well, like any other citizen of the world who is concerned about the destruction of COVID-19 on not only our health systems but also our economies, I am obviously interested.

However, there is something else that piqued my interest.

What caught my attention about this breaking news was the report on CNN that Pfizer “self-reported” it. 


And the definition of "self-reporting"?

According to Cambridge dictionary, self-reporting means “to give details about something yourself, rather than having them reported by someone else”. 

In simple English, Pfizer used its own media channel(s) to break the news – a story that is arguably the most important to the whole world after the US elections at the moment – as opposed to using other large online publishers’ platforms.

Now, this is interesting!

The approach used by Pfizer falls under inbound marketing.

If the company went the normal route of advertising and PR, this approach would fall under outbound marketing.

So which media platform(s) did Pfizer use for "self-reporting" of the news?

From my online research, this story was “quietly” broken on Pfizer’s Website on the morning of 9 November 2020.  

Hours later, the news was tweeted on the company’s official Twitter account.

This Google search results page shows that all the other media platforms picked up the story thereafter, and it has since gone viral at the time of publishing this eNsight.

Desktop analysis of Pfizer's digital real estate

Pfizer should have known the significance of this COVID-19 vaccine news, and yet the company did not announce it in the traditional way through large media platforms and PR rah rah.

Instead, it broke the story on its Website, and published it on Twitter, and left it to the world’s media to discover it. 

This made me wonder why?

In an attempt to read between the lines, I performed desktop analysis of the company’s digital real estate.

I share the results here below.

Size of Pfizer Website

Here is a graph of Pfizer’s estimated Web stats, according to Neil Patel’s UberSuggest tool:


The estimated organic traffic to the Pfizer Website was just under 200 000 visitors – or 6 500 visits per day – in October 2020, and this is judged to be great performance by Ubersuggest.

Note that the organic traffic in the graph above comes from search engines.


Traffic from the following sources, as categorised by Google analytics, is excluded from the organic traffic graph above:

  • Referring links, or referral traffic.
    There is more information about this source of traffic under OBSERVATION #3.
  • Social media.
    Analysis of Pfizer’s Twitter presence below will indicate that this channel is potentially contributing handsomely to the Web traffic.
  • Direct sources.
    Traffic from Whatsapp is included here.
  • Paid traffic.
    I would not be surprised if Pfizer uses this source of traffic extensively.
  • Newsletters. 

The number of backlinks (top right block above the organic graph), which are all Websites that point traffic to the Pfizer Website – is off the charts at over 6 million.

Traffic from backlinks is categorised as referral traffic on Google Analytics.

Because of the sheer number of backlinks that point to the Pfizer site, there is potentially massive traffic from this source; and I suspect that a fair number of the referring Websites are large media and news platforms.

Next, I analysed Pfizer’s Twitter presence, as a proxy for social media.

Size of Pfizer's Twitter followers


The official Pfizer Twitter account has 308 000 followers, and counting.

However, this company has a uniquely vast Twitter footprint.

According to Twitonomy, Pfizer has no less than 100 associated Twitter accounts across the globe.

Key takeouts

The overall monthly traffic to the Pfizer Website is a lot higher than what we see in the estimated organic traffic graph.

Pfizer has massive presence on Twitter through the multiple associated accounts; and this allows it to quickly and widely distribute its content directly to the market, with high potential for virality.

Key insight

Any company that has well-developed digital real estate can become its own online publisher as well, and harness the power of inbound marketing. 

Inbound strategies are all about being found naturally rather than aggressively pursuing leads through in-your-face tactics.

Pfizer’s example makes the case for building solid digital real estate; and I want to argue that this applies to companies of ALL sizes.

On a parting shot

When last have you seen a Red Bull advert on your tv screen?

What has the brand been up to lately? 

Turns out, it has been hard at work developing its real estate that is broadcast on its own tv channel!

Mouse over the image accordion below to see the types of activities this brand that gives you wings has been involved in, and thus generating content from its own properties, and publishing such content on its own media platforms.

Tap on the image accordion below to see the types of activities this brand that gives you wings has been involved in, and thus generating content from its own properties, and publishing such content on its own media platforms.

Classic example of self-reporting, alternatively called inbound marketing. Right there.

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