Search behavior varies based on stage of illness

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Consumers’ online health search behavior differs significantly based on their stage of illness and the condition they are seeking information on, a new study from Yahoo! found.

In a survey of 12,000 consumers, respondents fell into one of five categories:
27% were undiagnosed
11% were diagnosed with an illness but not yet taking a prescription medication
24% were diagnosed and taking prescription medication with no plans to change
13% were diagnosed but considering switching their current medication
25% were diagnosed and considering stopping their current medication

The survey showed that in the diagnosis stage prior to taking a prescription drug, 50% of consumers relied heavily on search to determine if taking a medication is right for them.

“In order to…have maximum impact, marketers must not only include search in their overall marketing mix, but also tailor their messages to address consumers’ specific needs and concerns at critical phases during their search,” said Bonnie Becker, senior director, pharmaceutical category for Yahoo! Search Marketing.

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