What Health Info Do Consumers Seek Online?

Source: eMarketer, FEB 28, 2013

Women, seniors, caregivers want different kinds of online health info

The internet is an increasingly important source of information for people researching health and healthcare. Women, seniors and caregivers are some of the most well-represented groups among online health seekers, but, according to a new eMarketer report, “Online Health Information Seekers: Internet Use Grows, but Doctors’ Orders Still Apply,” each has very different needs when they look to the internet to learn more about a medical condition or treatment.

Women play an outsized role in the world of online health. In a 2011 survey by BabyCenter, a pregnancy and parenting website, 86% of women said they made the decisions about the healthcare treatments their entire families used. While most said they trusted their doctors, they still went online before and after office visits to learn more about prescribed treatments and diagnosed health conditions.

Enspektos, a company that provides marketing services to healthcare organizations, found in January 2012 that nearly one-third of moms searched the internet for health information once a day or every few days.

Enspektos also found that among moms who had apps on their mobile devices, nearly half had downloaded health apps.

For seniors, the health information they seek is more specialized. The National Network of Libraries of Medicine said, for example, that “older adults use more medical services and acquire more chronic illnesses than other population segments.” Yet the American Academy of Family Physicians found that half of the US seniors it surveyed in March 2012 felt there wasn’t a single online resource where they could find highly credible health information, including information about prescription drugs for the elderly (14%) and preventative medical care for seniors (13%).

Caregivers too have different online needs than people who are looking for health information for themselves. Finding information about health insurance and advice on living with a chronic condition or managing chronic pain are especially important, according to a Kantar Media study from March.

Pharma product and disease-state websites also play an important role in the search for online health information and can directly lead to patients asking for specific treatment options.

Among those who look to the internet for health information, there is a desire for an “official” source. Deloitte reported in February 2012 that the websites of physician groups or medical practices were US internet users’ most trusted sources for treatment information. That was followed by academic medical centers and teaching hospitals that maintain health information sites for consumers.

The full report, “Online Health Information Seekers: Internet Use Grows, but Doctors’ Orders Still Apply” also answers these key questions:

  • How many people use the internet for health information?
  • How do moms use the internet for health purposes, and how does their use differ from that of other groups?
  • What kinds of information are online health seekers looking for?
  • What are the online health information needs specific to seniors?


This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. eMarketer clients, log in and view the report now.



Small Businesses Strapped for Time, Cash Seek Marketing Efficiency

Source: eMarketer, FEB 26, 2013

Small businesses want vendors to target their needs more directly

Small-business owners (SBOs) are a diverse bunch that includes more women, immigrants and young people than one finds atop big corporations. But what many have in common are modest levels of marketing expertise and technological know-how, according to a new eMarketer report, “Small Businesses as Tough B2B Customers: Shaky in Their Own Marketing, Critical of Marketing Aimed at Them.”

It’s evident that marketing is important to small-business owners. A May 2012 survey conducted by Constant Contact, which helps small businesses with email marketing and social media, asked what keeps SMOs up at night. The top response—from 76% of respondents—was “how to attract new customers.”

Though traditional media such as direct mail still claim a majority of small companies’ marketing dollars, digital spending is substantial. A Q3 2012 survey of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) by BIA/Kelsey found that they devoted an average of 29% of their marketing budgets to digital media.

In December 2012 and January 2013, Borrell Associates took a detailed look at the online advertising SMBs planned to invest in during 2013. Ads on Facebook and run-of-site banner ads were the leading categories.

Since SBOs are often anything but digital experts, their choice of channels may reflect personal comfort levels rather than a systematic calculation of return on investment.

It’s not surprising, then, that many rely on email as a marketing tool. In a November 2012 Ad-ology Research survey, 26.9% of respondents said email was the medium on which they spent the largest share of their ad budget, far ahead of all other digital media.

These days, one would assume even the smallest company would have a website. But Ad-ology found that three in 10 small businesses did not.

As for social media, Constant Contact’s Mark Schmulen, general manager of social media, said the tough economy has boosted SBOs’ adoption of social media, “but probably for the wrong reasons. The perception is that social media marketing is free.” But success on social platforms requires “time and energy—and often money,” he said.

Tight budgets notwithstanding, SBOs would likely be more inclined to open their wallets if the marketing aimed at them struck a chord—but it often does not. Small-business owners complain that companies don’t market to them effectively or make the effort to understand their business.

In buying things, owners aren’t tapping a line in an institutional budget. “When they spend money for their business, it’s like pulling money right out of their own pocketbook,” said Schmulen. Thus, it’s crucial for marketers to convince a small-business owner that a product or service isn’t merely good in the abstract but is good for that person’s specific business.

1 in 2 Consumers Say Use of Multiple Devices Makes Them Shop More

Source: February 25, 2013 by MarketingCharts staff


63% of shoppers used multiple devices to help with their holiday purchases last year, finds Google in a holiday consumer survey conducted with Nielsen. Among the survey’s highlights, 2 in 3 also said that having access to multiple devices made it easier for them to shop, and half felt that access to those devices made them shop more frequently. The results align with recent research from PricewaterhouseCoopers, in which 56% of US consumers said that they’ve spent more with their favorite retailer since they started shopping across multiple channels.

Indeed, the Google survey shows a correlation between the number of devices used to shop and the number of categories shopped. Namely, while those who only used a single device shopped an average of 6 categories, that average number increased to 8 among those using 2 devices, and 9 for those using 3 devices.

The data also shows that shoppers became more reliant on their digital companions this past holiday season, with 65% using their smartphones more frequently. The most popular tools used by smartphone shoppers were: store locator (71%); a shopping application (65%); and mobile coupons (51%).

10 Tips to Help Small Marketing Teams Kill It

Source: Search Engine Watch, , February 22, 2013

Many of us work with a small marketing team. In fact, a recent marketing industry survey found that the majority of marketers work in teams of five people or less – with most of them spending the majority of their time on lead generation and content creation, as well as juggling multiple tools, channels, and tactics to try and achieve their goals.


While the stress and pressure of delivering high volumes of qualified leads isn’t getting any easier, how can small marketing teams manage the multitude of channels, tactics and online possibilities to meet their goals?

Here are 10 tips to help small marketing teams kill it.

1. Focus

Focus is important for every company, but for small marketing teams lacking resources, focus is essential. It’s essential in almost every part of your marketing work, but there are few aspects where it’s critical:

  • Target audience. You have to pick a specific segment you’re targeting and focus all your efforts on that segment. It doesn’t mean that later on you can’t change it, expand it and add to it, but with a small team focusing your efforts on one segment will yield better results.
  • Campaigns. Marketers who consistently meet or exceed their goals invest big blocks of times in specific lead generation channels. Their less successful counterparts divide their time across multiple channels, tactics, and campaigns and invest less time in each.
  • Goals. Star performers spend significantly less time on administrative tasks, focusing their time on tasks that had direct impact on their goals. It is also beneficial to have specific goals to drive towards and have those be as clear and specific as possible so you can focus your efforts on reaching those goals.

2. Planning

Smart, thorough planning leads to better results. Make sure you dedicate time to plan out your campaigns and don’t be afraid to trade off time planned for admin tasks for time spent on planning. It will pay off.

3. Attitude

There’s much to say about attitude and how it contributes to moral and performance. But while it’s important to keep a positive outlook on your future, it’s also important to be realistic. With a small marketing team you can’t waste time trying to “rally the troops,” so intrinsic motivation is important.

Star performers complain less and have a far stronger “can-do” attitude than their counterparts. Less successful marketers tend to blame external constraints on their performance while star performers take more responsibility and ownership of their fate.

4. Execution

“Perfect is the enemy of good” says the old proverb, and Jim Collins, the author of “From Good to Great,” rebutted with his famous line: “good is the enemy of great.” I love this book and believe in the leadership concepts outlined in it, but when it comes to marketing execution is a small marketing team, I’m a strong advocate of the principle of good enough.

Most successful marketing teams face challenging goals all the time and execution coupled with velocity is the only way to achieve them. If you wait for something to be perfect or sometimes even just great, you’re going to miss the mark anyway.

The nice thing about online marketing is that you always have the opportunity to change, reiterate and improve. So start with good and make your way to great.

5. Be Unique. Be Different. Be Special.

This point kind of explains itself.

6. Master At Least One Thing

Another big differentiator between star performers and less successful marketers is their perceived expertise level in different marketing tactics and the confidence they showed.

Mastery can be achieved through repetitions and practice and it takes time to get there, but if you want to be a successful marketer, you need to completely master at least one area. So pick one and be the best at it.

7. Learn From Others

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Isaac Newton. Learn from your peers, your colleagues, your friends, and your collaborators. Learn from you competitors. Learn from other disciplines and other schools of thoughts.

The only way for a small marketing team to be successful is to use the knowledge out there and build upon it. You don’t have the time to learn everything from experience, so read, watch, observe others and then give it your own spin.

8. Always Think About Scale, Have a Process

You know the saying “Think big?” Well, in online marketing (and online business) in order to think big, you need to think scale.

How can you take what you did once and do it 10 times? How can you replicate the success of a small campaign and do it over and over and over again? Will it sustain or break? Will it still be at the same quality or would it deteriorate?

Building a scalable marketing machine is one of the biggest challenges any marketer can face; the answer to how is the process. You need to have a process that works and that you can test, modify, analyze and reiterate on until you optimize it. So start small but think big and have a process to scale.

9. Test

If you aren’t testing, you aren’t learning. Online marketing includes so many variables that there’s no way for you to ever get it right on your first iteration. So test and let the data show you the way.

10. Measure, Analyze, Refine, Repeat

It doesn’t matter if you’re in a small marketing team or in a large one; the process of measuring and analyzing your results needs to be in your marketing-DNA. It’s an integral part of every marketing activity but small marketing teams can’t afford to ignore it.

Every single pixel you put out there need to be traceable and measureable, otherwise you’re just wasting money.


Steady Gains for Mobile Paid Search

Source: eMarketer, FEB 22, 2013

Nearly one in four paid clicks came from a mobile device in Q4

There is no question that mobile search advertising is on the rise: Recent analysis by The Search Agency found that in the US the share of paid clicks coming from smartphone and tablet devices nearly doubled between Q4 2011 and Q4 2012. Tablets’ share grew especially rapidly, and accounted for nearly 10% of the market in Q4 2012. Overall, 23.4% of paid clicks came from mobile devices last quarter.

In the competition for ad dollars, Google continues to have a sizeable advantage over Bing on all platforms: On desktops, Google captured more than four-fifths of search spending in the last quarter measured, according to The Search Agency, and Bing under one-fifth (figures for Bing refer to the combined search marketplace of the Yahoo!-Bing search alliance). Google’s advantage is even greater in the growing mobile space. On both smartphones and tablets, Google had 88.8% market share, and Bing had 11.2%.

This advantage on mobile could prove key for Google. The Search Agency found that advertisers pay less per click to place listings on smartphones and tablets, but appetite for mobile search advertising is only increasing.

eMarketer estimates that US advertisers will increase mobile search ad spending 80.6% this year to $3.54 billion, up from $1.99 billion in 2012. US digital search ad spending including mobile will also rise, from $17.58 billion in 2012 to $19.76 billion in 2013. This represents a comparatively restrained growth rate of 12.4% driven largely by increased mobile search spending. And the spending gap between mobile and desktop paid search will narrow even further over time: eMarketer projects that by 2016, advertisers will spend $24.45 billion on search, with $10.3 billion of that going toward mobile.