Privacy and Personalization: The Power of Direct Consumer Relationships


As consumers seek out personalized health experiences, marketers have an opportunity to offer tailored experiences and gain the insights needed to serve their audiences better. 

The health industry needs to flip the script on the growing tension between data privacy and personalization needs. What appears to be a challenge could actually be an opportunity for both brands and consumers. 

The key is to make the most of direct audience relationships, which enable a data value exchange that benefits both parties. When health platforms offer audiences valuable, tailored experiences, many consumers will register for access, sharing their information in exchange for the support they want. 

Trust is fundamental to this value exchange, particularly within the health industry, and we need to earn and protect that trust in each interaction.

At Healthline Media, our deep understanding of consumer needs and commitment to providing valuable health resources has positioned us to foster direct audience relationships. Across our platform, consumers sign up for tailored experiences, giving them the tools to make the most informed health decisions and feel confident, such as:

The result is a win-win approach that unifies the consumer’s need for personalized health guidance with the brand and marketer's need for data access and insights.

[Read more from Berkeley Bethune in our Insider Talks Series]

A Promising Solution for Data Privacy Challenges

Publishers and advertisers are seeing a rise in regulations related to user consent and data protection, from the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) to Google’s plans for cookie deprecation. These measures are meant to improve consumer protection, and in many ways they do. 

However, these regulations can make it more difficult for health marketers to understand and serve their audiences — especially as those audiences increasingly expect personalized resources. It’s become clear that the industry needs a solution, and direct audience relationships are the way forward.

Are Health Consumers Ready to Register for Personalized Experiences?

Three-quarters of consumers agreed that it’s important for health and wellness platforms to offer health and wellness resources personalized to their needs — suggesting a significant opportunity for brands able to provide these resources. 

On the other hand, just a third of consumers said they are not concerned about sharing basic contact and health information online — such as email and health conditions — if they gain valuable information and guidance in exchange.

This data suggests that some consumers may not understand why they may need to provide their data for these tailored experiences, and the industry will need to continue to educate them. 

However, younger consumers do appear more comfortable with the data value exchange, as 40% of Gen Z and 43% of Millennial consumers say they are not concerned about providing their information. 

Fostering a successful data value exchange comes down to a defining value: Trust. Nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults want their health information to come from a trusted organization

The industry should continue to build – and earn – trust with the many consumers who want personalized support. We know that 66% of consumers won’t register unless they know and trust the brand — again, higher among Boomers (75%) versus Millennials (57%). 

That’s just one reason that we work to build consumer trust through features like the medical review process, clear, accurate content, and a privacy-first data policy

How Platforms Make the Most of Direct Audience Relationships

For platforms like Healthline Media, registered users contribute valuable zero- and first-party data. This data, along with consumer insights, provides a comprehensive view of engagement, highlighting topics of interest and the resources that motivate users to opt in.

By analyzing the data from these initiatives, we can see whether we’ve hit the mark — whether users are engaging as we hoped and what we might need to improve further. 

Understanding consumer behavior across the platform allows us to continuously evolve our strategies to align with consumer preferences. This alignment is not a “one-and-done” process, but an ongoing feedback loop. 

As we offer stronger content and products that meet known audience needs, we gather additional insights about audiences that drive us to make more changes, keeping our offerings fresh and relevant for consumers. By serving the user, we aren’t just future-proofing, but aiming to raise the standard for the industry as a whole.

Why Direct Audience Relationships Are Impactful for Partner Brands

Brands working with health platforms already know the benefits of partnering within a privacy-first, brand-safe environment. The data value exchange can offer further advantages. 

Connect with the right audiences. For pharma brands in particular, it’s critical to make an impact with qualified audiences who are more likely to take action. Opt-in experiences like Bezzy, our suite of chronic condition communities, offer people living with chronic conditions a place to find peer support, expert guidance, and solutions from relevant brands. 

Connect with engaged audiences. With the direct audience relationship, brands can reach particularly engaged consumers who are more likely to continue engaging over time and are motivated to take action. In one analysis, we found that over half of new Healthline Newsletter sign-ups with type 2 diabetes chose to share topics of interest, which meant they could receive personalized information and resources. This group then took 40% more actions in the three months following registration.

Our Leadership in Data Best Practices

Healthline Media is uniquely positioned in the industry to facilitate a successful data value exchange for health consumers seeking personalized resources and brands seeking to make an impact. 

Through our extensive platform and experiences, we specialize in offering consumers the personalized health guidance they need, while providing brands with insights to reach and engage their target audiences. 

Learn more about Healthline Media’s data offerings for our partners.

Three-quarters: FIG Brand Agency study. Survey of 611 U.S. adults. 2022; A third, 40%, 43%: Health Segmentation study. Survey of 2,985 U.S. adults. Dec 2023; Nearly three-quarters: Healthline Media Health & Wellness study. Survey of 1,269 U.S. consumers. Data weighted to be representative of U.S. adults. Sep 2022; 66%, 75%, 57%: Health Segmentation study. Survey of 2,985 U.S. adults. Dec 2023.; 40%: Healthline Newsletter data. 

About Healthline Media

As the #1 health media property in the US, Healthline Media reaches more than 94MM unique visitors each month (Comscore, August 2021). We provide credible health information with a compassionate approach.