Home > Insight & Ideas > Expert Knowledge >  Consumers Use Social Media For Health Information 

Consumers Use Social Media For Health Information

Holmes Report  23 Sep 2012

 

US consumers seeking health information online are more likely to visit Wikipedia than health magazine websites or Facebook, connect through a PC rather than a mobile device, and be swayed by word of mouth over direct-to-consumer advertising, according to results from a new national consumer survey conducted by Makovsky Health and Kelton.

The research investigates consumers’ overall engagement with online healthcare information, and reveals specific consumer preferences for online publishing sources, channels and even devices, and finds that consumers rate government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Food and Drug Administration and advocacy organizations among the most credible.

“Whether they want guidance for an informed conversation with their doctor, or the support of a larger community coping with the same illness, consumers seek trusted sources for health information,” says Gil Bashe, executive vice president and Practice director, Makovsky Health. “These new survey results enhance our understanding of how and with whom consumers connect online, and help ensure that credible, useful information is readily accessible to the patients who need it.”

Adds Tom Bernthal, CEO of research consultancy Kelton: “The macro-trend—globally and in the US—is moving from web to mobile. Yet, when it comes to healthcare, data show the desktop search is vastly preferred, meaning the newest channels might not be best for healthcare marketers.”

People are still most likely to use a personal computer (90 percent)—and not a smartphone (7 percent) or tablet (4 percent)—to search for health information online. And PC-reliant consumers are more likely than smartphone/tablet-reliant consumers to visit a pharma website after receiving a diagnosis from their doctor (52 percent vs. 31 percent), although smartphone/tablet users are far more likely than PC users (43 percent vs. 24 percent) to visit a pharma website after they experience a few symptoms.

If seeking information about their own medical conditions, consumers trust advocacy group and
government agency websites nearly as much (33 percent) as they trust websites with medical information, such as WebMD (35 percent). And a personal recommendation from a friend, family member or colleague (33 percent) is a stronger motivator to visit a pharma website than TV advertisements (27 percent), magazine advertisements (14 percent), digital advertisements (13 percent), or discounts (16 percent).

Consumers also report an overall preference for externally-sourced information, though user-generated content on Wikipedia is gaining high levels of trust:
• 56 percent of Americans use WebMD for healthcare information
• 31 percent visit Wikipedia, which has emerged as a trusted source of credible information, an increase of 13 percent from Makovsky Health’s 2011 survey
• 29 percent visit health magazine websites online (e.g., Prevention, Women’s Health)
• Social networking sites are utilized by far fewer Americans for healthcare information: Facebook (17 percent), YouTube (15 percent), blogs (13 percent), and Twitter feeds with links to other resources (6 percent)

In the context of Facebook, consumers are just as likely to rank a pharma company-generated page about a specific medication (9 percent) as their most trusted Facebook source as they are a pharma company’s disease-state page (6 percent), far lower than Facebook content generated by sources such as government agencies or patient groups. 
But when it comes to news and announcements from a company, consumers are most likely to believe traditional sources:
• 53 percent are most likely to believe company news from a press release
• 29 percent are most apt to believe what is posted on a company website
• Official corporate Facebook pages are a distant third (12 percent), while only 2 percent have the strongest faith in company news posted on Twitter
 

 

comments powered by Disqus

 

Archive

Fawaad Saleem @Fawaad Saleem

@Westofcenter @holmesreport Let's meet up. It ll be great to connect with you. Add me on linkedin http://t.co/vDRMafAAL3 and setup a time

46 minutes ago ReplyRetweetFavorite
PR Institute of Aus @PR Institute of Aus

RT @AdamBensonSyd: @holmesreport Paul - thanks for the great video intro to @PRIANational consulting sector conference in Sydney on Friday

1 hour ago ReplyRetweetFavorite
Adam Benson @Adam Benson

@holmesreport Paul - thanks for the great video intro to @PRIANational consulting sector conference in Sydney on Friday

1 hour ago ReplyRetweetFavorite
Johan Höjvall @Johan Höjvall

RT @jonobean: Unity And Ogilvy PR Retain Top Spots In 2014 Global Creative Ranking http://t.co/Ynv0V9S0ma via @HolmesReport #pr

2 hours ago ReplyRetweetFavorite
Charu Srivastava @Charu Srivastava

Good to see Primark on path to reform | Primark Seeks PR Counsel To Help Improve Reputation http://t.co/qSpMOuvnbP via @HolmesReport

4 hours ago ReplyRetweetFavorite
Charu Srivastava @Charu Srivastava

Primark Seeks PR Counsel To Help Improve Reputation http://t.co/zDOUmAIn9G via @HolmesReport

5 hours ago ReplyRetweetFavorite
RSS | Join Facebook Twitter Linked In

Agency Directory

Search by Clients