IN SUMMARY: Online health seekers are using the Internet differently since the pandemic. Treatment options are researched more, and people are using, but not relying, on social media to gather information on what’s best for THEM.
I’ve spent the last three months gathering information on how online health seekers are using the Internet. My research points were Google, Twitter, and various websites that provide metrics on a variety of topics. Here is what I learned:
1ne: Since more people are working at home, they have more time to research health conditions and possible treatments. I estimate that the time searching and consuming online health information has increased by 54%.
2wo: The number of sites people go-to for online health information has also increased, and friends and family play a big part in recommending sites with health information.
3hree: Pharma websites are still a “brief stop,” but the bounce rates continue to be the highest of any industry. Pharma websites are NOT meeting user needs regarding “reasons to believe” that their product is best for them.
4our: By far online health searches start at Google but the blurring of organic and paid search results often results in frustration.
5ive: Social media plays a bigger part in searching for online health information, but seekers feta fact check what they find. Social media also plays a big part in recommending online health information.
6ix: The misinformation around COVID-19 and possible treatments have caused widespread skepticism among online health seekers. Well, established health sites are seeing increases in traffic.
7even: While telehealth has increased, HCP’s report that people who contact them for a telehealth session seem to have “done their homework” around possible treatments.
8ight: Paid media for pharma products is performing worse than most other industries. In my opinion, this is due to pharma being sold on programmatic and the lack of investment in creative.
9ine: Searches for specific medical terms have increased, indicating that people don’t necessarily understand common medical terms.
10en: The most consumed pages on most pharma websites is safety information and pages that offer co-pay cards as people try to save money on Rx’s.
To me, there is a hell of a lot of opportunities here but pharma is late to the party. There are some pretty basic changes that need to take place and 99% of them revolve around pharma product websites which still look like medical journal ads.