Considering the millions of bloggers, social networkers, forum participants and their audiences, you might guess that the social media universe includes a broad mix of demographic groups. Indeed, there are plenty of teens, young and mature adults to poll about their social media activities. But we also need to pay close attention to the impact of social media on consumer behavior. The market is big enough. Soon, many companies looking to this space as a marketing platform will look for results beyond building brand equity. The latest data from Manhattan Research, a pharmaceutical and healthcare market research firm, suggests that brands who can engage patients and caregivers online may have the opportunity to strengthen their reputation and earn new customers.
Manhattan Research conducts ongoing studies focusing on ePharma consumers–adults who have researched pharmaceutical information online for themselves or for someone else in the past 12 months. According to their 7th ePharma Consumer(R) survey, nearly half (47 percent) of ePharma consumers report that user-generated content has at least some impact on their health or prescription treatment decisions.
The percentage of consumers who indicate being influenced by user-generated content increases among younger ePharma segments. For instance, 64 percent of 18-34 year olds indicate that blogs, chat rooms, message boards and social networks have at least some impact on their health-related decisions.
There seems to be a craving for different perspectives and hearing others’ experiences among caregivers. Among those who indicate that user-generated content has a strong impact on their healthcare decisions, 65 percent are parents with children in the household and 50 percent are people caring for someone with a chronic condition.
These findings point to significant advantages healthcare providers can gain by listening to relevant consumer chatter and becoming trusted resources to young adults and caregivers who are seeking answers online. Those healthcare/pharmaceutical companies that provide factual information to conversation leaders and answer patients’ questions, will be mentioned in patients’ conversations with physicians, caregivers and others suffering from similar conditions.