When it comes to being healthy, Hispanics have several things going against them: language and cultural barriers, lack of access to preventive care and lack of health insurance. But there is another, lesser-known barrier that prevents them from living healthier lives: lack of online health information in Spanish.
Given the growth of the Hispanic online market, I thought I would take a look at how Hispanics use the Internet to educate themselves on health-related matters and what content is available to them. What I found was that, despite a strong demand for health content online among Hispanics, there is very little of it available in Spanish.
According to comScore, Hispanic usage of health care websites is growing twice as fast as the general market. In September 2011, a total of 17.2 million Hispanics visited a health-related website; this represents 52% of all online Hispanics and an annual growth rate of 31%.
Compare this to the general market, where 66% of online users visited a health site in September 2010, up 15% from the previous year. The fact that most Hispanics are young helps explain why they are less likely than the general market to visit health sites, but language preference and the relative lack of Spanish language health information also seem to play a roll.
In the past 12 months, usage of health websites skyrocketed among the bilingual and Spanish-preferring online Hispanics. As a result, more than half of all online Hispanics visits a health site each month. Take a look:
Growth in health site visitation by segment September 2010 - 2011
English Preferring: 25%
Spanish Preferring: 35%
All Hispanics: 32%
Percent of given segment that visited a health site in September 2011
English Preferring: 53%
Spanish Preferring: 51%
All Hispanics: 52%
So, what sites do Hispanics visit when they are looking for health information? I found that they predominantly visit English language health websites. This is also true when we look only at the 5.7 million Bilingual and Spanish-preferring online Hispanics who sought health information online in September 2011.
Most popular health sites among Bilingual and Spanish Preferring Hispanics September 2011
Every Day Health Network 857,000 visitors
WebMD Health &n bsp; 565,000 visitors
WomensHealthBase.com 374,000 visitors
Livestrong –eHow Health 346,000 visitors
Health .com & nbsp; 265,000 visitors
When it comes to Spanish language health sites, we came across a relatively small number of properties that have relatively limited reach among Hispanics. We used Quantcast to gauge traffic because most of these sites are not currently tracked by comScore.
Most popular Spanish Language health sites
VidaySalud.com 40,000 visitors
GeoSalud.com 34,000 visitors
Salud.Univision.com 24,600 visitors
Medline Plus Español N/A
This data should signal an opportunity to companies in the healthcare space. There is a clear demand for Spanish language health information online and relatively few companies providing it. Providing online Spanish health content would not only meet this demand, but it would also help Hispanics get healthy.