Health Information Sites See Rapid Growth

    September 9, 2008

Online health information sites have grown 21 percent as a category in the past year, more than four times the growth rate of the entire U.S. Internet population according to a new study from comScore.

WebMD Health continues to be in the top position of the category with 17.3 million visitors in July, up three percent over a year ago. Three other health networks increased the overall growth of the category, each pulling in more than ten million visitors.

Everyday Health had 14.7 million visitors in July (up 63 percent), Revolution Health Network captured 11.3 million visitors (up 182 percent), and AOL Health grabbed 11.1 million visitors (up 88 percent). Everyday Health and Revolution Health Network were able to achieve growth with recent partnerships with a number of smaller health sites, along with some strategic acquisitions.

"Improved site functionality, increased content personalization, and overall consumer acceptance of the Internet as a source for health information have helped to breathe new life into the health information category," said John Mangano, senior director, comScore Pharmaceutical Marketing Solutions.

"Most sites have become vibrant online communities rooted in sharing experiences and advice, rather than simply being one-way information resources for the consumer. As Google and Microsoft ramp up efforts with their respective health sites, Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault, it will be interesting to see how the category continues to evolve."

In June, more than 1.5 billion display ad views were seen by 53.5 million people on health information sites. WebMD Health led with 290 million display ad views that reached nearly 15 million people at an average frequency of 19.3 times per visitor during the month.

Revolution Health Network and AOL Health ranked second and third, with 201 million display ad views and 186 million display ad views, respectively.