Pharma Ads Send Consumers To Search Engines

The majority of users who search engines to research health information on the Web schedule visits to their doctor after going online. That's one of the conclusions of a new Yahoo study examining the connection between search behavior and offline activity.

The study found that 61 percent of health searchers go to a physician after conducting a search, and 71 percent of health searchers discuss in depth the medications and brands they are prescribed.

For the study, Yahoo surveyed 5,625 consumers and found that most--55 percent--used a search engine to find health care information in the last three months. That group was found to be more engaged than other online consumers: searchers were about twice as likely to view third-party health sites, and three times more likely to spend time on pharmaceutical-branded Web sites searching for information on health topics.

The study also detailed the effectiveness of online ads on health-interested consumers. Twenty percent of those surveyed were convinced to search online after having seen an advertisement and wanting to know more, and 70 percent of searchers said they question their doctor if they are prescribed a different medication than what they've found searching online.

The survey was fielded in March by Yahoo and Hall & Partners Healthcare.

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