You don’t need to be an industry expert to identify that we all care about our health more now than ever before. Did you know more than 5% of all internet searches are health and wellness related? Not only are we dealing with the impact of a global pandemic on our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, we are also bombarded every day with more information about staying well than we could ever hope to process.
At Hearst, our overarching purpose is to help people get more out of life, so we set out to understand how consumers’ approaches to their health and wellness have changed since the start of the pandemic – and what this means for brands. We conducted social listening and search analysis alongside running a nationally representative survey of 1,000 people, while also speaking to more than 3,500 members of the Hearst audience panel. And the results were enlightening…
Watch the Hearst health and wellbeing webinar below which shares our research results in full…
Insights audiences can’t trust
According to our research, nearly half (45%) of people in the UK either consume or plan to consume more health-related content since the outbreak of Covid-19. But more than half of those people (58%) say it’s difficult to find the right information online, as so much of what they find is overwhelming at best – and contradictory at worst.
A large proportion of UK audiences also find social media to be full of distorted health and wellness information – a whopping 93% would go as far to call it misleading, and 45% believe that more regulation is needed in this space.
At HCA, we feel this presents a huge opportunity. If your brand can use its content and social output to prove to consumers that they can trust you and your products – through everything from research to real world reviews – you’ll instantly create trust and cut through.
The shift to self-care
Although we’re in the midst of dealing with a new virus that has taken far too many lives, it’s not just content related to illness-prevention that interests consumers – they want to find insights into how to feel great, too.
According to the Hearst research, 84% of the UK believe that as a country we need to focus more on self-care; two-thirds of people are open to or have already increased their investment in health and wellness over the last 12 months; three in five (72%) are regularly using vitamins and supplements; 40% of people take the time to practice mindfulness or meditation; and there’s been a 59% increase year-on-year in searches related to turning bath time into a spa-like ritual.
It’s clear audiences are looking for trusted content around holistic health as much as they want information on illness-prevention.
Protect and prevent approach
This focus on self-care is coupled with a ‘protect and prevent’ approach to health. Hearst research shows that more than half of Brits (56%) do their own research online before they consult a medical professional, and 40% are self-diagnosing and treating conditions without the help of a doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Audiences will also turn to curated content, review sites, and even social media for health guidance. In fact, our social listening work revealed Pinterest, LinkedIn and Tik Tok all index higher among health-conscious consumers than average.
Google Trends reveal a year-on-year increase in individuals looking for health related content that relates to preventing a wide variety of ailments and symptoms, from coronavirus to shin splints. This prevention trend is not limited to illnesses but extends to general body care with searches around mask acne +4,250% increase in the last year and stretch marks +170% in the past year. So although audiences are reluctant to trust health content online, they are still turning to it regularly.
What does it all mean?
At a time when consumers need and want more help with their health, brands can create real value by providing expert and trusted content when and where customers need it most. Digital is driving the health consumer experience and there is a clear opportunity to help consumers look after their physical and mental health with inspiring content, building loyalty along the way.
A range of content formats is essential to get in front of audiences at the right time in the right places. The more high-quality content brands can put out online, the more potential consumers will find and convert to your brand.
At HCA, we see this as a huge growth opportunity for brands. If you’re looking to engage and inspire those who care about their health and wellbeing, the time is now. We create print and digital content for our clients and can work in partnership with brands to amplify content beyond owned platforms to new audiences via Hearst brands. We put the audience at the heart of all our content strategies, forging deep and trusted connections, helping consumers on their journey to lead a well-balanced life.