The president of publisher and advertiser solutions at Healthgrades, the leading website for guiding readers to the right health care, explains the reasons behind the explosive growth in interest in health content and how publishers can benefit from the combination of Healthgrades’ proprietary health content and AP’s timely news.
Over the past 15 years, the general public has dramatically increased its interest in health content. In fact, more than 75 percent of today’s Internet users search for health topics on a weekly basis, according to eMarketer.
Why is this happening?
Everyone hears nearly every day, whether in the news, in a political debate or perhaps by his or her own insurance company, how health care costs are rising. In nine of the past 10 years, inflation in the industry has exceeded that of the overall economy — often by wide margins.
At the same time, patients have access to fewer doctors because health plan provider networks are shrinking. Together, higher costs and narrowed options provide significant incentives for consumers to conduct more research on their own.
In addition, it’s impossible to ignore the effect that smartphones and other mobile devices have had on the way we communicate and find information. Practically anywhere, at any time, consumers can conveniently use their phones to research their symptoms, find which doctor can best help them and understand treatment options to discuss with their doctor.
Where can consumers go online to find health information?
Along with the added convenience of accessibility that the Internet offers, it also provides a bevy of choices for finding health content, including local and national hospitals such as the Mayo Clinic, specialized online health publishers such as Healthgrades, as well as traditional media outlets such as trusted newspapers.
The health experiences from Healthgrades are focused on helping people make more informed decisions and guiding them to actions to improve their health. This includes finding the right doctor to see, the latest treatment options available and self-care measures to stay healthy. Healthgrades’ content and tools are more transparent, local and personalized than most other health content online. In combination with AP’s highly credible news, it’s a powerful offering.
How can publishers take advantage of this increased interest in health information?
At the heart of it, health is local. Where we live has implications on our health and who will treat us. News stories and articles on health topics by local publishers are powerful triggers that motivate consumers to take action to improve their health. For example, reading a story about a local outbreak of E. coli may prompt someone to want to understand if he or she has E. coli or if a loved one has it, and if so, how to better manage or prevent it.
Advertisers want to reach consumers while they are making decisions and taking action.
Knowing what drives audiences can provide an additional powerful selling point for publishers, as advertisers want to reach consumers while they are making decisions and taking action. By providing news articles about health followed by practical, actionable information, media companies can help advertisers do just that. They can then target paid media for this content either in-house or through partnerships to generate the highest yield for their unique content and audience.
Brad is the president of publisher and advertiser solutions at Healthgrades, the No. 1 digital platform for health care consumers.