Advertisers Expected To Tap Mobile Health Apps To Market Products


Advertisers are expected to start tapping mobile health applications to market products as more U.S. residents use mobile devices to obtain health information, the New York Times reports.

Mobile Health App Use

According to a report by online research firm comScore, nearly 100 million U.S. residents own a smartphone and about a third of those users monitored their diet and exercise electronically in January.

In addition, comScore reported that 17 million people in September, October and November 2011 used their smartphones to access health information.

Device Use Draws Advertisers

In 2011, advertisers spent $818 million on mobile device ads, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. The amount was more than what advertisers spent on print or radio ads.

According to the Times, certain companies are trying to learn more about customers they could reach through mobile devices by conducting surveys and examining social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Health Companies Slow To Advertise Online

However, health organizations have been slow to advertise on mobile devices or other Web-based platforms, the Times reports. Health companies accounted for just 1% of all online display ads by the end of 2011, according to comScore.

According to Geoff McCleary, a group director for mobile innovation at Digitas Health, some health care companies are encountering obstacles to mobile advertising, such as drug companies that are struggling to fit drug safety information onto ads designed for smaller screens.

Experts Advise More Mobile Advertising

Heartbeat Ideas, an ad agency, advises health companies to "max out" their mobile device advertising budget.

Lee Slovitt -- Heartbeat Ideas' media director -- said, "The return on investment is much higher than radio or TV," adding, "If searchers are actively looking for information on a given condition or a specific drug, they are much more likely to respond to a commercial message" (Freudenheim, New York Times, 4/1).   

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