March 2010 Study from Kantar Media Confirms Mindset of Consumers Seeking Health and Wellness Information on the Web

The type of website consumers turn to for health and wellness information and the reasons they go online for such information is greatly influenced by the stage of the condition they are experiencing and varies by ailment type, age and gender, according to research released today by Kantar Media.

The analysis is just one finding from The MARS 2010 Online Behavior Study. The study, conducted among more than 5,000 respondents in the second quarter of this year, is an extension of the 2010 MARS OTC/DTC Study.

The study found that the type of website visited to research a condition varies by the stage of one's ailment. While health  information websites are used more often than search engines across all stages of the 40 ailments covered in the study, search engines
are the preferred next option at early stages of a condition. However, for those recently diagnosed, in recovery, or living with an ongoing condition, websites dedicated to a particular condition are preferred over search engines.

Online behavior is also defined by type of ailment when it comes to those sites best able to drive visitors back. For example, the study found that those who use the Internet for diabetes information are twice as likely to go back to websites that offer helpful tools or connect them to a larger community of people with the same condition. Sites that offer easy access to medical professionals are favored by those researching cardiovascular or respiratory conditions.

Findings also indicate that men and women use online health research differently.
Nearly 84% of women researched for someone else compared to 75% of men who researched for others. When it comes to reading reviews or ratings about doctors, however, men are just as likely to do so as women.

The study's findings also show differences in online health research based upon age. For example, 18 to 34 year olds are more likely to go online to find healthcare professionals and read reviews or ratings about physicians, while those 50+ will seek information about a  condition or treatment after visiting a doctor.

"The Internet has become the source people turn to for health information," says Jayne Krahn, Vice President, Consumer Health and Custom Research, Kantar Media.
"While much is known about website visitation and patterns, less is known about the why and when in terms of ailment conditions and stages. The MARS Online Behavior Study identifies how these stages, along with other variables, impact online behavior. This indepth information, when analyzed along with the core MARS study and in particular offline data, can help marketers and content creators better plan, position and develop creative. It also has relevance for magazine publishers looking to demonstrate how their digital offerings can provide unique reach and build frequency for advertisers."

Among other findings:
• Of the 178 million Americans who have gone online in the past month, more than 89% have used the Internet for health research, with the typical user being female and under 50 years of age

• The primary reason for going online for health information is to gain general knowledge about a condition (71%), followed by researching symptoms that either the individual or someone else is experiencing (59%)

• 56% of respondents said a health care professional recommendation makes a health website trustworthy, followed by 46% who said the inclusion of academic articles or scientific research does and 39% who said having information that is easy to understand does.

• 79% said that they feel the Internet provides a wealth of resources when they are searching for health and wellness information, while 74% said they are very cautious about which websites they access for health and wellness information
• For those recently diagnosed with a condition, 77% say they first turn to online sources for information, second only to 81% who say they turn to a healthcare professional. Nearly 51% rely on magazines, pamphlets or other print publications.

Access to data from the MARS 2010 Online Behavior Study is available for purchase by current subscribers to the MARS OTC/DTC Study.

For more information contact Michele Deutschman at,
or call 212-991-6008.