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European shift towards the social web for health

Strong use of social media for health seen in new Manhattan Research study

European internet users are increasingly turning to social media when it comes to their health, according to a new study.

Manhattan Research found that 72 per cent of European online consumers aged 18 or over had used the social web for health in the last 12 months.

Principal analyst Christina Anthogalidis said: “A large share of EU consumers is accessing health information from social feeds.

“Although dedicated health communities have been struggling for consumer participation for years, health threads on general platforms are finally driving the adoption of social health feeds. We believe this finding is pointing at a significant shift in the EU online health content market.”

The consultants measured a wide variety of activities to come to this figure, from using a community, group or social networking website to conducting social-related activity online, such as reading or posting on health blogs, message boards, or using health ratings websites.

Looking at these activities on their own Manhattan found: 

• 44 per cent of European online consumers used social networking websites for health

• 33 per cent read or posted patient testimonials

• 34 per cent used health ratings or reviews.

Their Cybercitizen Health Europe 2012 study found significant regional variation between countires in the percentage of people online who use the social web for health:

EU: 72 per cent (of those online)

Spain: 83 per cent

Italy: 82 per cent

Germany: 76 per cent

France: 71 per cent

UK: 56 per cent

But while the study shows a general acceptance of social networking sites and social tools for health, Manhattan Research's 2011 version of the report should sound a cautionary note for pharma. It found that of those people who wanted information from the industry, low numbers wanted it to come via social media.

The latest study surveyed 3,020 people in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK online in October 2012, on their use of digital media and technology for health and its influence on treatment and product decisions.

20th November 2012

From: Marketing, Healthcare

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