With consumer trends driving healthcare to a more geo-targeted, patient-centric model, Kantar Media recently released the 2015 version of its annual MARS Consumer Health Study with a number of modifications designed to uncover different, deeper, and more data-driven insights than years past.

Crafting More Meaningful Measurement 

With readership diversified across more formats than ever, new metrics were added to more accurately capture reading habits.

  • The Average Issue Audience, or AIA, incorporates print, digital, and app usage to assess total readership for its last 4 issues read.
  • The Average Monthly Reach, or AMR, accounts for print, digital, app, and website usage in one comparable monthly metric. 
Parsing Format Preferences

The study also compared reader preference for traditional versus digital methods.

  • Results varied by title.
  • Interestingly, regardless of original tactic, 37% of adults that read digital newspaper or magazine publications also read a print publication.
  • This insight warrants deeper research into user experience on Internet, social media, and device formats.
Understanding User Behavior

Specifically looking into the health space, new questions were asked to obtain a better understanding of how consumers use the Internet to make health decisions. The study contained focused on four types of user behavior:

  • Condition/treatment related
  • Prescription shopping
  • Medical professionals and services
  • Health-related lifestyle and social

Overwhelmingly, looking for information about a particular health condition was the most commonly practiced online health related activity – ranking #1 for desktop and tablet users, and #2 for mobile users.

Looking for information

Going Beyond the Doctor’s Office

The MARS study has typically identified where patients receive their health services, but this year, it tracked actions taken after seeing a medical professional as well, including the following:

  • How consumers are using mobile to improve their health and wellness
  • How diet and exercise apps are taking a major lead in the industry
  • Health insurance implications
  • Satisfaction with Rx treatments among sufferers of certain conditions

Big data is only getting bigger. As data continues to become more accessible and nuanced, we expect MARS to continue to adapt its study to the marketplace—helping marketers drive more informed and effective media strategies moving forward.

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