Kinsa Insights

Kinsa Insights Case Studies

Discover how brands and agencies are taking advantage of real-time illness insight

Mucinex uses Kinsa Insights’ ™ Illness Solution to Double Retailer Demand Forecast Accuracy

The Challenge:

The timing and intensity of seasonal illness is always unpredictable. COVID-19 exacerbated that unpredictability for illness related brands. Some, such as disinfectants, saw historic sales fueled by panic-buying. Others, like symptom relieving medications, saw volatile sales due to historically low levels of common colds and flu. Amidst this uncertainty, Mucinex®, a leading cough, cold and flu brand, sought to reduce out-of-stocks by ensuring a top 3 national retailer’s forecast could cover exceptions in illness-driven demand.

The Solution:

Kinsa deployed its Illness-Based Sales Demand Solution, which leverages Kinsa Insights’ proprietary 12-week cough, cold and flu forecast, to accurately predict Mucinex product demand. During an unprecedented illness season, Kinsa’s Illness-Based Sales Demand Solution reduced a top 3 national retailer’s forecasting error by 50%, reducing Mucinex out-of-stocks, ensuring a superior experience at the shelf, and driving sales.



reductionin forecasting error using Kinsa’s illness insights vs. retailer’s traditional illness data set


additional product demandabove what the retailer forecast identified

Kinsa cold, cough and flu based sales forecast

  • Actual
  • Kinsa predicted
  • Retailer Forecast

Our partnership with Kinsa helps us understand where, when and how much demand there will be for our products, allowing us to better collaborate with our retail partners. This upcoming Cold & Flu season, Kinsa’s accurate illness forecast will help us optimize our supply chain, drive revenue and most importantly, have our products on shelves where they are needed, ensuring consumers can rely on Mucinex for symptom relief.

Brian Nussbaum Planning Director - Reckitt Health
MiQ uses Kinsa Insights’ hyper-local illness data to increase in-store sales for a national drug retailer

The Challenge:

Existing illness data used in media targeting is delayed, costly, and limited in geographic accuracy. For retailers targeting ad campaigns to areas of rising illness, this data results in inefficient and ineffective spend, and low ROI. Retailers need a unique way to promote products that are directly impacted by illness.

The Solution:

Kinsa Insights delivers real-time, hyper-local, aggregated illness data to pinpoint precisely where and when illness is spreading. MiQ leverages this innovative solution to target retail store locations where community illness is on the rise.


About Kinsa

Kinsa Insights’ real-time aggregated data is built from a proprietary network of millions of households using Kinsa smart thermometers nationwide. This dataset is weeks earlier than the Centers for Disease Control’s ILINet and gives brands the insights they need to: Optimize budgets around campaigns that drive results with real-time insights. Improve media targeting to consumers that need their products the most with hyper-local targeting. Quickly adjust in-market messaging based on current and predictive illness trends


Sales Liftin featured products


A campaign ROASof $3.25 per $1 spent.


Sales Liftin halo products

By using illness data via Kinsa’s API connected with their DSP, MiQ updates their campaign spend and audience targeting in real-time, driving ROI

Incremental sales lift from illness signal vs benchmark

Johnson and Johnson Consumer Health Accurately Predicts Illness Season with Kinsa Insights™

The Challenge:

The 2020-21 illness season – the first full season impacted by COVID-19 – was historically mild, with overall cough, cold and flu (CCF) levels 83% below the pre-pandemic average. With this unprecedented backdrop, Johnson and Johnson Consumer Health (JJCH) faced great uncertainty coming into the 2021-22 illness season as they sought to answer: will there be an illness season this year? And how severe will it be? This information was crucial for JJCH to accurately forecast needed supply capacity for the illness season and communicate effectively to both internal stakeholders and retailer customers.

With sales demand largely determined by illness and symptom prevalence, JJCH partnered with Kinsa Insights to forecast timing and severity of the 2021-22 illness season and provide epidemiological guidance during the season for it’s Tylenol and Sudafed brands. 

The Solution:

Amidst ambiguity going into the 2021-22 illness season, Kinsa projected a moderately-severe illness season in August 2021. Despite the greatly depressed 2020-21 illness season, Kinsa predicted that flu-like illness levels in ‘21-22 would actually rise 11.2% above the pre-pandemic average. JJCH was able to use this illness projection, along with regular guidance from Kinsa’s epidemiology team, to:

  • Decide to build out increased long-term supply capacity
  • Make more informed financial planning decisions based on illness projections
  • Provide thought leadership to retail customers and impact ordering & allocation
  • Increase media where and when illness will surge regionally

After the season, JJCH found that their cough, cold, flu & sinus POS sales increased by 10.0% above the pre-pandemic average, a figure that closely mirrors Kinsa’s illness increase projection.



Kinsa projected flu-like illness levels for ‘21-22 illness season vs. pre-pandemic average, mirroring JJCH sales increase


JJCH cough, cold, flu & sinus sales increase for ‘21-22 illness season vs. pre-pandemic average

Kinsa projects higher illness than pre-pandemic average. JJCH sales reflect Kinsa’s projection.


“Kinsa’s illness projections were the most accurate of the illness data sources we consulted. Their epidemiological insights helped us to understand where and when symptoms would increase, and why. 
Partnering with Kinsa for next season will enable us to make informed supply capacity decisions, plan media for maximum effectiveness, and better support our retail customers with reliable consumption projections.”


Stephanie Espinoza
Associate Brand Manager – Tylenol CCFS & Forecasting, Johnson and Johnson Consumer Health