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BizReport : Research : April 13, 2010

Study: Unhealthy consumers turn to social media

Whether they are actually unhealthy and trying to get healthy, concerned about a family member's health or simply seeking information about a health issue, a growing number of consumers are turning to social media for answers. That, according to a recent study by direct marketing agency Epsilon.

by Kristina Knight

The study found that 40% of consumers use social media to access health information and many say social media is as important as talking to a doctor or pharmacist about their problem.

Here are the study findings:

• 80% claim to be 'highly engaged patients' who want as much information as they can get about ailments or issues

• All age groups are looking to the Web for health information

• Consumers believe endorsements 'add credibility' to social media, but many prefer endorsements from groups such as the FDA rather than pharma marketers• Consumers like branded/corporate sites as well as 3rd party hubs for health information consumption

Why are consumers turning to the Web for information? According to Epsilon's Mark Miller they turn to the Internet for information because there they can connect with other consumers who suffer from the same issues. Not that a doctor's information isn't helpful, but consumers are responding that they like to be able to talk about the problem, get advice from or offer advice to people in their same boat.

Tags: Epsilon, health advertising, health websites, social media, social networks

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