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Health vs. Fitness: Smartphone User Analysis by Opera Mediaworks

Health vs. Fitness: Smartphone User Analysis by Opera Mediaworks

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Is there is a difference between the audience using “Health” apps vs. those using “Fitness” apps? Opera Mediaworks thinks so, and they have released a two-part study revealing how consumers use their mobile devices to interact and engage with health and fitness content. The first part of the study is based on the 500 million monthly ad impressions served on 400+ mobile sites and apps within the Health & Fitness category on the Opera Mediaworks platform. They define health sites and applications as the sub-category focusing on medical and healthy lifestyle issues, while fitness sites are those focused on exercise interests or weight control.

Overall, iPhone users focus more on Health (62%) than Fitness (58%) while Android users consume more Fitness content than Health (39% vs. 30%). The Health & Fitness audience is far more likely to use an iPhone than other devices and far less likely to use a tablet than a phone. Among Android users, the Fitness audience was significantly larger than the Health audience.

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How does the Health-focused audience use their device?

Within the Health sub-category, over 90% of users visit sites where the publisher addresses a broad range of health-related information. There is also significant traffic to sites with specific medical content. The table below details the subject matter of the content-specific sites with the most traffic. Note that the lack of advanced medical care in certain countries did not prompt more use of health sites; while 11% of total impressions are served in countries with the fewest doctors per capita, that audience consumes only 1% of health-focused site impressions.

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How does the Fitness audience use their device?

To investigate the Fitness audience in more detail, Opera Mediaworks focused their efforts on its consumer survey. They designed the survey to address questions as to how the Fitness audience uses a mobile device while exercising. They found:

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Interest in health and fitness varies greatly by country. Several Commonwealth countries (Canada, Australia and the UK) took the top three spots for being the most inclined toward Health & Fitness content, as measured by the ratio of impressions to that category.

For the second part of the study, Opera Mediaworks focused on the United States, as it provides the highest volume of traffic from health and fitness sites and applications. The company analyzed traffic from nearly 50,000 unique U.S. smartphones and also conducted a 2,000-person survey in May 2014. They found that 1 in 4 Health & Fitness users are ‘regulars’. More than half of all smartphone users do use their device to learn about diet, exercise or other health and wellness topics, but 22.5% of that group does so more than once per week. Fitness fans and Health readers also have different secondary content preferences. When they’re not using exercise apps, Fitness users are likely to focus their attention on entertainment and productivity categories, while Health users are most likely to be engaged in social media and on news sites.

The report was released just ahead of one of the largest gatherings of healthcare communications professionals at the Lions Health event in Cannes, France. The remainder of the survey findings will be released in July, as part of a special Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) event.

You can view the full report here.


Opera Mediaworks is the world’s largest mobile advertising platform, deployed by 18 of the world’s top 25 media companies and servicing 23 of the world’s top 25 brands. With a focus on technological innovation, transparency and trust, Opera Mediaworks enables advertisers to reach their target audiences and publishers to optimize ad monetization. Opera Mediaworks’ mission is to deliver relevant ads to the right people at the right time across today’s most important medium—mobile.

Headquartered in Silicon Valley, California, Opera Mediaworks has additional offices in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, London, Hamburg, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Bogota, San Jose (Costa Rica), Santiago, Dublin, Oslo Moscow, Singapore, Jakarta and New Delhi. Opera Mediaworks is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Opera Software ASA, which is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol OPERA. Learn more about Opera Mediaworks at