Woman Seeking Health Information Online

The Content Conundrum: Applying Market Research Insights

August 17, 2017 Jason Brown Brand, Content, Digital, Health System, Healthcare, Local, Marketing, Strategy, Trends

In June 2017, BPD Advertising commissioned a national study of 1,000 women to identify the types of health information women are seeking and their approach to obtaining that information. Our proprietary research insights can help you better understand how these decision makers consume healthcare content as well as the types of content healthcare marketers should be investing in.

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In June 2017, BPD Advertising commissioned a national study of 1,000 women to identify the types of health information women are seeking and their approach to obtaining that information. Our proprietary research insights can help you better understand how these decision makers consume healthcare content as well as the types of content healthcare marketers should be investing in.

College-age — 18-24 years old
Target audience — 25-54 years old
Seniors — 55 years old +

80% of the survey respondents fell within the targeted audience of women ages 25 – 54. 39% of the targeted audience respondents claimed a household income (HHI) of $75,000 or higher with 14% of the respondents not wanting to answer. 47% of the respondents had a HHI of $74,000 or lower. 

Search Behavior and Credibility

Question: Which of the following actions apply when looking for additional health information? 

Overwhelmingly, the targeted audience answered that they look for information from a well-known national brand.  In a distant second was whatever came up as second in their search. Looking for information from a local hospital was last in their thought process. (Table 1)

Interestingly, women in the younger demographic still seek a national brand as their first action, their tendency to look at whatever comes up in search is more than 10 percentage points higher than the women 25-54. (Table 2)

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Question: When you need information regarding a health issue which do you find the most credible & trustworthy?

In an effort to determine where women placed their trust when they needed information regarding a health issue, the survey asked what was deemed the most credible and trustworthy to the targeted audience of women 25-54. Not surprisingly, the overwhelming winner was Google and WebMD. A smaller percentage lean towards friends and family and hospital websites. Social media platforms did not appear to have the same level of credibility as national websites gaining less than 4% of the votes. (Table 3)

Seniors skewed slightly more in the favor of Google and WebMD than both their younger counterparts. Additionally, the college-age audience shared that they value family, friends and local hospital websites over 10 percentage points more than the 55+ year old women surveyed. (Table 4)

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Marketing Implication: Opportunity to build a content strategy around creating and curating branded content that drives women to learn more about your hospital. Prioritize search engine and word of mouth marketing in your content marketing strategy. Be intentional in connecting your content with your brand in creative, attention-getting ways. Create the type of content that will generate links and earn links to other websites for national brands.

Content Topics and Tactics

Question: When you are looking for medical information which type of content are you most interested in? 

Women ages 25-54 are two times more interested in specific signs, symptoms and treatment options as they are in wellness, prevention and disease-management related content. Less than 8% of the target audience is looking for an illness expert either at the national or local level. (Table 5) Not surprisingly, the seniors research signs, symptoms and treatments slightly more and the younger generation is more interested in prevention and wellness and finding an expert. (Table 6)

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Developing shareable content is paramount to the success of your content strategy. Understanding which type of content is most likely to be shared among the different audiences is important. It is also important to identify the content message and the tactic in which you develop that content. The targeted 25-54 females who participated in this survey chose written/readable content in the format of articles, short tips or lists as the most preferred format they would share with their family and friends. This was preferred 5x more than the next format which was designed/viewable content such as images, videos or presentations. Less likely to be shared by this group would be podcast, webinars or events at less than 5%. (Table 7). The younger female audience is almost twice as likely to share videos than the targeted 25- 54 women. It appears senior women have a significant comfort level in sharing written content like articles and tips with their family and friends. (Table 8)

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Marketing Implication: It is important to make sure you that build your editorial calendar towards the types of information each audience finds most relevant. Recognize that WebMD will have been their first stop in their research. It is important to create content that emphasizes your brand’s unique approach to treatments to help differentiate your information from your competitor’s. Utilize preventative content as an introduction to your brand and your physicians for targeting the younger generation. 

As you develop your own content strategy it is important that you plan to create your content in multiple formats that are specifically relevant for the age range and makes it easy to share. For example, develop your message about the importance of breast health exams in a video format for ages 18-24, a webinar explaining the steps involved for the women ages 25-54 and a written list of steps for the older set of women ages 55+.

 

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