May 21, 2007

Online Health Information Category Grows 12 Percent in Q1 2007 Versus Last Year to More Than 55 Million Visitors per Month

WebMD Leads Category with 17 Million Monthly Visitors

While Upstart Health Portals Flex Their Muscles

RESTON, VA, May 21, 2007comScore, a leader in measuring the digital world, today released the results of a study on consumer usage of online health information resources.  During the first quarter of 2007, the health information category reached an average of 55.3 million monthly U.S. visitors (31 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience), an increase of 12 percent versus the same period last year.  WebMD Health led the category with an average of 17.1 million unique visitors per month in Q1 2007 (up 25 percent), followed by NIH.gov with 9.8 million (up 8 percent), MSN Health with 8.1 million (up 1 percent), and Yahoo! Health with 6.7 million (up 83 percent).

 

Top 10 Online Health Portals

Q1 2007 vs. Q1 2006

Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations

Source: comScore Media Metrix

Property

Average Monthly Unique Visitors (000)

Q1 2006

Q1 2007

Percent Change

Total U.S. Internet Population

169,728

176,195

4%

Health - Information

49,473

55,260

12%

WebMD Health

13,700

17,114

25%

NIH.gov

9,061

9,816

8%

MSN Health

7,951

8,068

1%

Yahoo! Health

3,642

6,671

83%

Everyday Health

4,135

6,421

55%

About.com Health

5,177

5,827

13%

MayoClinic.com

4,032

4,072

1%

AOL Health

2,070

3,659

77%

Healthline.com

725

2,674

269%

QualityHealth.com

1,206

2,586

114%

 

Several smaller players have also gained traction in the category during the past year.  In Q1 2007, Healthline.com attracted an average of 2.7 million visitors, up 269 percent versus last year, while QualityHealth.com jumped 114 percent to 2.6 million visitors.  Meanwhile, recent market entrant RevolutionHealth.com has seen its traffic more than double from 239,000 visitors in January to 486,000 visitors in March.

 

“While the larger and more established health portals are continuing to grow, the category is being shaken up by a few upstarts,” said Carolina Petrini, vice president of pharmaceutical solutions at comScore.  “In the past year, both Healthline.com and QualityHealth.com have more than doubled their respective online audiences to nearly 3 million visitors per month, becoming major players in the category.  In addition, RevolutionHealth.com comes in with high expectations, so it will be interesting to monitor its ability to compete against the top sites.”

 

Online Health Portals Users are Loyal to their Primary Site

Generally speaking, online health portals elicit a high degree of user loyalty, as evidenced by the low degree of cross-visitation that occurs within the category.  Among the top health portals, MSN Health had the highest user loyalty with just 16.8 percent of its audience visiting other health portals, followed by Yahoo! Health (17.1 percent) and Healthline.com (20.0 percent).

 

Overlap Amongst Top Health Portals

Q1 2007

Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations

Source: comScore

Site

Percent of Site Audience Visiting Any other Site in Category

 MSN Health

16.8%

 Yahoo! Health

17.1%

 Healthline.com

20.0%

 NIH.gov

22.2%

 Everyday Health

22.2%

 QualityHealth.com

23.0%

 AOL Health

23.9%

 WebMD Health

28.5%

 About.com Health

33.7%

 MayoClinic.com

36.8%

 

 

Health-Related Search Activity Drives Substantial Traffic

One of the key drivers of traffic to the online health information category is health-related search.  Specifically, many consumers begin their navigation by first conducting a search using keywords or phrases for specific conditions or ailments.  In Q1, the top health-related search keyword/phrase, “pregnancy,” was entered more than 17 million times, followed by “cancer,” “flu,” and “fitness,” each of which generated at least 15 million searches.

 

Searches Conducted Using Major U.S. Search Engines

Number of Searches Q1 2006

Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations

Source: comScore

Keyword or Phrase

Searches (MM)

Pregnancy

17.5

Cancer

15.3

Flu

15.3

Fitness

15.0

Cold

13.8

Rash

12.6

Nutrition

7.4

Weight Loss

7.2

Diabetes

4.9

Depression

4.9

             

 

About comScore

comScore, Inc. is a global leader in measuring the digital world. This capability is based on a massive, global cross-section of more than 2 million consumers who have given comScore permission to confidentially capture their browsing and transaction behavior, including online and offline purchasing. comScore panelists also participate in survey research that captures and integrates their attitudes and intentions. Through its proprietary technology, comScore measures what matters across a broad spectrum of behavior and attitudes.  comScore consultants apply this deep knowledge of customers and competitors to help clients design powerful marketing strategies and tactics that deliver superior ROI.  comScore services are used by more than 700 clients, including global leaders such as AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Verizon, Best Buy, The Newspaper Association of America, Tribune Interactive, ESPN, Fox Sports, Nestlé, MBNA, Starcom USA, Universal McCann, the United States Postal Service, Merck and Expedia.  For more information, please visit www.comscore.com.


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