Social Media’s Impact on the U.S. Health Consumer

The healthcare sector, like all areas of life, has been affected by the internet and social media. This blog post focuses specifically on how consumers and ailment sufferers engage with social media for health-related purposes.

According to the 2017 MARS Consumer Health study, 73% of all U.S. adults use the internet for health and wellness. Of those, more than one in three are looking up information about health conditions or symptoms. Social media’s influence on many patient groups is growing as more individuals turn to online sources for health information and advice.

Consumers are Getting Social

84% of adults indicate they have visited a social media site such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter in the last 6 months, and nearly 70% say they have caught up or posted on a social network in the last 30 days (an increase of 5% since 2015). This trend is also apparent among older adults: 51% of adults aged 50+ say they have participated in social media in the past month (an increase of 4% since 2015).

The Value of Social Media

Nearly half of all adults indicate they value social media related sources for healthcare information. Social and online sources of information help consumer groups connect with others and share information:  

Valued HC Sources 

Do Patient Groups “Like” Healthcare Information on Social Media Sites?

Patient groups that are more likely to value social media content as a source of healthcare information are:

Many condition sufferers are turning to social media for additional emotional support in managing their condition. This is especially the case for those suffering from debilitating or chronic conditions. For example, Multiple Sclerosis sufferers are 138% more likely than all doctor diagnosed condition sufferers to agree their ailment makes it difficult to do day-to-day tasks. They are 67% more likely to indicate their health is worse compared to a year ago.

While social sources of health information are a valuable resource for many, only 12% of all condition sufferers indicate they trust the medical information people share on social media. Advertisers and marketers should consider strategies to build trust and establish credibility when utilizing social media channels to reach patients.

To learn more about the 2017 MARS Consumer Health study, please stay tuned for our next blog post or contact us directly for additional information.

About the study

Kantar Media’s 2017 MARS Consumer Health Study is a trusted information source for reaching different patient groups and uncovering deep consumer insights. It provides stable and reliable media and healthcare data that is projectable to the U.S. population to better meet the needs of agencies, marketers, healthcare facilities, insurers and media companies. The study contains detailed information among U.S. adults including online and offline media usage for 100+ consumer magazines, newspapers and health-related publications as well as TV, radio, and internet usage.

Click here to learn more.

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