Social media influenced nearly 40% of recent hospital or urgent care center patients, with 25 to 34 year olds reporting the most influence (53.2%), according to the Spring 2009 Ad-ology Media Influence on Consumer Choice survey. Nearly 30% of hospital visits by this age group were maternity-related. Of social media types, forums and discussion boards had a "significant" influence on 20% of 25 to 34 year olds who recently made a visit for maternity reasons, suggesting hospitals should target this group with an online space where these parents-to-be can interact. At the other end of the spectrum, respondents 55 and older had the highest percentage of recent hospital or urgent care center visits and reported significant influence from direct mail and newspaper advertising. The most important factors for this age group were quality of care, availability of specialized services, and out-of-pocket costs. “Progressive hospitals are already participating in social media through specific micro-sites, social networking, online communities, and targeted online marketing,” said C. Lee Smith, president and CEO of Ad-ology Research. “Urgent care and maternity provide excellent opportunities to connect with younger consumers, and social media is the way to engage this group,” Smith said. Other key findings from the survey:
- Women accounted for approximately 60% of those who researched family doctors online
- Quality of care ranks the highest among patients as the most important factor when choosing a hospital or urgent care center
- Hospital/urgent care Web sites had the most influence on 18-to-24-year old patients (53.8%)
- Of traditional media, television had the most influence (22.3%), followed by newspapers (21.9%)
The Media Influence on Consumer Choice survey is conducted throughout the year by Ad-ology Research to study online, traditional, and social media influence on buying decisions. The 59-page downloadable report, Media Influence on Consumer Choice: Hospitals & Urgent Care Centers, is available for purchase through Ad-ology.net, and includes 25 data charts, consumer-spending estimates by market, and additional marketing insights.