Ad spending for healthcare last year $9.7 billion

screenshot_536KEY TAKEAWAY: TV is still the number one channel for healthcare, but more and more consumers are going online to “get answers”.

An exclusive analysis by Kantar Media shows total U.S. measured-media ad spending for the healthcare industry increased 11.3% in 2015 to $9.7 billion.  After single-digit declines during the U.S. economic collapse and recession beginning in 2007, healthcare industry spending began to tick upward again in 2011.  The bulk—86.2%—of healthcare ad spending comes from two categories: pharmaceutical companies, which represent nearly two-thirds of total spending, and hospitals, healthcare systems and clinics.

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Some 42% of the U.S. population said the internet is the first stop when they need health and wellness information , according to Kantar Media’s 2016 MARS Consumer Health Study.

The annual MARS study found that a whopping three out of four adults use the internet for health and wellness information, with 22% saying they access internet sources at least once a week.

Among the three-quarters of the adult population who go online for health and wellness information, the top two online activities are no surprise: 29% say they look for information about a particular health condition, and 27% say they research symptoms in search of clarity.

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Smartphone users are twice as likely as non-smartphone owners to go online at least once a week for health and wellness information.

The No. 1 health and wellness activity on smartphones is tracking diet and exercise 39% of smartphone owners say they typically conduct research online before a doctor’s appointment. A good portion of smartphone users’ online health searches happen in the moment: 15% use their smartphones for health-related purposes while at their healthcare provider’s office (or in the waiting room); 12% while at a hospital or clinic; and another 12% at a pharmacy or drugstore.

Far and away the top health and wellness apps are exercise and fitness offerings, followed by apps for calorie counting or diet tracking and apps for planning meals, accessing nutrition information or finding recipes.

Consumers who use the internet for health and wellness information are open to accessing and trusting internet healthcare resources but also cautious about sources. For instance, 63% of adults who use the internet for health and well- ness information believes the internet provides them with a wealth of healthcare-related resources.

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More than 68% of regular online health and wellness users say they are “very cautious about which websites I access for health and wellness information.”  And only about 17% say they trust the medical information other people share on social media.

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Online Docs

According to the March 2016 Sources and Interactions Study, the five sources doctors indicate as most important sources of information for new medical developments are professional portals (72%), colleagues (70%), print editions of current medical journals (69%), meetings for continuing medical education (69%) and in-person conferences on a product or therapy (56%).

Among doctors who use the internet for professional purposes, 69% said they had referenced drug data online or on a mobile app within the past month; 64% had completed some form of continuing medical education; 62% had accessed or maintained medical records; and 53% had looked up information on medical equipment or devices.

On average, surveyed doctors report that 73% of their prescriptions are written via computers or mobile devices.

When asked which version of current medical journals they read, 93% said they read the print edition. Nearly half (47%) said they access the digital version of the print edition (in PDF form, for instance), and 25% said they access the publication’s website. Only 18% said they access medical journals via a tablet app, and 11% through a smartphone app.

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