Attitudes impact first visit to an unfamiliar website

Continuing Motivo consulting’s 25 years of attitudinal research on the U.S. 40 and older market, the market responsible for 72% of all health-care expenditures, we have found that segments in our Health Information segmentation strategy are motivated to visit an unfamiliar site for differing reasons, as well as holding vastly different attitudes toward their health.

Getting someone to visit your health-related web site for the first time is a daunting task. While it’s true that the number of U.S. consumers visiting web sites for health information is exploding, so too are the number of web sites dispensing health information. According to one government analysis, there are 3,608 such web sites. However, just 6% of those websites are “most frequently visited.” The others receive far less traffic, even as marketers pour more and more dollars into attempting to entice consumers to their sites, a total of $1.5 billion in 2015. The competition to attract visitors is intense.

While marketers are projected to spend $2.22 billion on digital and online spending by 2018, unless these ads contain messages targeted to specific segments by their attitudes these efforts will not pay off in greatly increased visits to their sites. “Focusing solely on behaviors and demographics,” says Doran J. Levy, Ph.D., executive vice president at Motivo consulting, “does not address these crucial motivations. Targeting messages to specific segments by their attitudes will increase the chances of success.”

Our most recent study with a nationally representative sample of 1,445 respondents found that of six different prompts to visit an unfamiliar web site. Of those 40 and older, 27% visited an unfamiliar site if they remembered or saw an interesting advertisement for the site. This awareness is the first stage in the consumer adoption process. Two of the segments from our Health Information segmentation strategy, however, would do so at a higher level: Fearful Listeners and External Health Actives (both 35%). While brand name recognition would drive one-third (35%) of the overall sample to visit an unknown site, both the External Health Actives (44%) and Fearful Listeners (45%) are far higher on this prompt.

In order to move those in our attitudinal segments from awareness to interest—shown by actually visiting an unfamiliar site—messages must be keyed to each segment’s vastly different health-related motivations. Fearful Listeners are pessimistic about their health; in contrast, External Health Actives are certain that their actions will keep them healthy. While External Health Actives say they immediately give up behaviors destructive toward their health, Fearful Listeners admit they procrastinate. Advertising messages targeting External Health Actives might confirm their commitment to their families, a key motivator for them. While Fearful Listeners are heavy consumers of health-related information, they feel they don’t understand much of it. Therefore, messages targeting them must be simple, direct, and credible.

It is evident, then, that messaging and images, whether in ads or in other forms of communication, targeting the External Health Actives would differ from those attempting to attract Fearful Listeners.

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