Health data in Ireland’s digital ad campaign is being bought and sold, new research has found
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Health data is being sold and bought, and a study has found that Irish consumers are increasingly buying and selling health data in the digital ad space.
Read moreThe study by digital ad company Acorns, which looked at how health data was being bought in Ireland, found that the majority of the health data being used in digital ads was from healthcare companies.
Acorns data showed that nearly one-third of all digital ads from companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google, used data from Irish providers including the Department of Health, the Department for Public Expenditure and Reform, and National Health.
The report, which analysed 3,000 health and social media advertising ads, found the majority were purchased from healthcare businesses and were used to target advertising messages to the right groups.
“In general, the healthcare ad campaign was bought and paid for by healthcare consumers in Ireland and was delivered to these consumers with a clear aim of targeting them with health messages,” the study found.
The study also showed that more than a third of the advertisements were purchased and paid to health companies.
“The majority of this advertising was delivered through an advertising partner such as a pharmaceutical company, medical device manufacturer, health insurance company, or pharmacy,” it found.
“This is consistent with the health insurance industry’s use of healthcare data as a way to target ads.”
The report found that most of the ads were bought to target audiences of people aged under 25, aged between 15 and 64, and those aged 65 and over.
The majority (61%) of the healthcare ads were purchased to target people in Ireland between the ages of 25 and 64.
“Healthcare consumers were more likely to purchase ads in the advertising channels targeted at those aged 55 and over than their peers in the general population,” the report found.
It also found that a third (31%) of advertising dollars paid to the healthcare industry were spent on health care advertising.
Healthy digital ads in IrelandThe study said the vast majority of ads paid to healthcare companies were bought and used to promote the company’s services, and only 3% were purchased by consumers to target health information.
“It is also important to note that most healthcare ads did not target individuals or groups that were not insured by the healthcare company,” the research found.
Healthcare ads in particular are being used more often in the US and the UK, where health care companies are buying health data for health advertising purposes.
In the UK and the US, there are signs that the use of health data is rising, with the Department Of Health saying that the average consumer has more than $2bn in health insurance.
In Ireland, health data used in the ads was purchased from private companies.
The Acorns research said the majority (54%) of Irish consumers buying the health information for advertising purposes were also buying it from healthcare organisations.
The health data, which Acorns analysed included details of individuals and groups, such as ethnicity, income, smoking status, smoking behaviour, family income and ethnicity, as well as the health status of individuals in the same age group.
“Although healthcare companies are increasingly using healthcare data in their advertising campaigns, it is still unclear whether they are using the data to target individuals with insurance or not,” it said.
“These ads are being paid for with a view to selling the health care information.”
It is not the first time that digital ads have been purchased by healthcare companies in Ireland.
Earlier this year, a study by The Irish Examiner revealed that Ireland’s biggest healthcare company, Health Insurance Agency of Ireland (HIIA), was buying the personal data of Irish citizens for marketing purposes.
The Health Insurance Company of Ireland said the data was purchased for the purpose of providing an online service.
It was a similar story with another healthcare company Health Insurance Ireland Ltd, which said it was purchasing data from its insurance customers for marketing.
The latest Acorns report is the first to look at health data purchased by Ireland’s health insurance companies.
A spokesperson for Acorns said the study did not include any data from healthcare providers and would be published in a future publication.
Health data is being sold and bought, and a study has found that Irish consumers are increasingly buying and selling…
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