About.com Sees Healthly Health-Related Traffic

Those who are looking to influence consumers one way or another in the health care reform debate might consider turning to About.com, which has posted a whopping 320 million health-related queries on various search engines drove Web users to visit the site in the past year, according to internal research.

Not surprisingly, the site’s users are health-information-hungry and receptive to health-related advertising, according to new research conducted by About.  After survey over 1,800 of its users in June, About–which is owned by The New York Times Company–found that 47 percent claimed that they search for more information after being diagnosed with a particular condition. Just 20 percent claimed they would normally go straight to a particular health site for such information

Even more compelling for advertisers—particularly pharmaceutical brands—57 percent of respondents reported that condition or medication-specific ads would grab their attention. When asked specifically about pharmaceutical ads, 42 percent of those queried said they’d be interested in ads that made them aware of treatment options, while 41 percent would be interested in ads that provided education. It’s that factor that might interest the various constituents looking to educate, and influence the health care debate through online advertising—a list that’s been short to date.

Health care ads–at least according to About.com users—are also effective in urging users to speak with professionals. More than 35 percent of respondents claim to have both talked to a doctor and researched a drug  online after seeing a health ad online, according to the survey.