US Insights

My other doctor is a search engine

Meghan Bazaman

Research Analyst

Health 02.07.2018 / 12:00

computerSearch

The patient journey starts with an online search.

Pharma companies and health marketers looking to make the most of their ad spending need to find ways to engage patients who are doing their own research before heading to the doctor. The patient journey is often starting with an online search, and pharma companies looking to maintain an edge will need to gain a better understanding of exactly how they're researching health and wellness topics.

According to Kantar Media’s 2017 MARS Consumer Health Study, 55% of U.S. consumers value search engine results as a source of health information. 1 in 4 consumers say they have looked for information about a health condition or have researched symptoms online within the past month. Moreover, nearly 1 in 5 say they have read reviews about doctors, looked for doctors, healthcare facilities or scheduled an appointment with a healthcare professional online.

Many patients are researching their symptoms online before or after they visit the doctor’s office:

MARSStudy Grab

The value consumers ascribe to online sources of health information (e.g., health-related websites, blogs, etc.) is not far behind how they value their doctor:


And compared to two years ago, patients are increasingly valuing online sources:


Impact of Health Advertising

When consumers go online before seeing their doctor, it’s good news for pharma marketers and advertisers. Patients conducting research prior to a doctor’s appointment are 35% more likely than the average adult to ask their doctors for drugs they see in DTC ads. They are more knowledgeable and in control of their health and report feeling more positive attitudes toward healthcare advertising than the average adult:


Source: Kantar Media

Editor's Notes

Kantar Media’s MARS Consumer Health Study is a trusted information source for reaching different patient groups and uncovering deep consumer insights. 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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