In the month the NHS celebrates its 65th anniversary, new data from Exponential Interactive, a global provider of digital advertising intelligence, reveals that pregnancy, skin care and fitness are the most common health concerns for which Britons turn to the internet.
Exponential analysed the online behaviour (anonymously) of over 1.8 million Britons during May 2013 and reveals that one in five people (20.3%) viewing health content are looking at pregnancy and childbirth-related content. Skin care and exercise/fitness are the next most common concerns (both 18.4%) followed by weight loss (15.9%).
Smoking, headaches, high blood pressure and diabetes also feature among the top 10 health issues for which Britons turn to the internet.
E.g. 20.3% of UK people viewing health content online are looking at pregnancy & childbirth-related content
How men and women’s concerns differ
Men are 14 times more likely than women to be interested in vitamins, 10 times more likely to be interested in nutritional supplements and four times more likely for high blood pressure. Vision, cholesterol, insomnia and alternative medicine are also issues men are more likely to be interested in.
Women are 12 times more likely than men to be interested in dental health and nine times more likely for vaccinations. Although women are more likely to look at fertility (7x) and birth control (6x), men are twice as likely to be looking for pregnancy tests. Headaches, hearing, digestive health and back pain are other issues women are more likely to be interested in.
E.g. UK males are 14x more likely to look at vitamin content online; females 12x more likely to look at dental
Lawyers and retail managers most likely to look at online health content
Britons working in the legal profession are the most likely (18x more than average) to view health online followed by store managers (9x), those working in administrative roles (8x) and flight attendants (7x).
Journalists, marketers, IT managers and mortgage brokers all feature in the 10 professions most likely to be looking at health online.
Teachers are the most likely to view content about headaches and high blood pressure, while people working in marketing have the highest propensity (8x more likely) to view digestive health content online.
E.g. UK people in the legal profession are nearly 18x more likely to look at health content online
Interests highly correlating with health online
People viewing divorce content are 20 times more likely to view health online closely followed by marriage counselling (16x). Credit cards (14x), Valentine’s Day (11x), pest control (10x) and bridal/wedding content (8x) are also topics that correlate highly with looking at health content online.
People viewing dental content are 36 times more likely to view soft drink content; those interested in diabetes are seven times more likely to look at fast food content, while people with hearing issues are almost 10 times more likely to view Metallica content.
Niki Stoker, Exponential UK managing director, said: “The NHS deals with over a million patients every 36 hours so being able to better understand links between interests, behaviours and demographics provides the opportunity to create and disseminate information more effectively and potentially reduce the burden.
“By looking at the way people actually behave online rather than what they may tell you can often challenge common-held assumptions. Men, for example, are three times more likely to be interested in alternative medicine and twice as likely to be looking at pregnancy tests. These insights offer providers of health services and products the opportunity to better tap into the unmet needs of potential customers.”
Britons under 35 are more likely to look at health online than those over 35. People aged 25-29 are 21% more likely to do so than the average whilst people over 70 are 30% less likely to view health online. People looking at health online are 70% more likely to have children than not.
The data is based on the analysis of the actual online behaviour of 1.85 million Britons during May 2013. The data is anonymous and aggregated at the server level, so no one individual can ever be identified. It is not based upon personal questionnaires or medical forms but only the online content that people consume.
Due to the Network Advertising Initiative code of conduct that requires user permission before collecting information about certain specific health conditions, this study does not include data on cancer, mental health related conditions and sexually transmitted diseases.