Did you know that over 22 million people visit the exercise and fitness category online each month? That’s 45% of the total internet population who visit gym sites, read fitness content, and track their fitness online.

But what do we learn when we track this audience in return? When does engagement with fitness and exercise peak? Who’s most likely to use the Fitbit app? Which magazine brand is best for reaching Strava users?

We’ve used Ipsos iris to answer these questions and more, pulling out key insights to help inform content planning, enhance audience understanding and ultimately improve marketing performance.

New year, new May 

As you might expect, the monthly audience for fitness and exercise in 2023 peaked in January, when gyms are offering discounts and people are making their New Year’s resolutions.

However, when we look at time spent on fitness and exercise brands, we see this actually peaked in the first week of May – over the first Bank Holiday weekend – with another bump in September after the Summer holidays.

The right fit audience 

Overall, people visiting the fitness and exercise category tend to skew younger and female. However, this varies across subcategories.

For example, people using fintech fitness trackers – i.e. apps that reward steps and exercise with financial incentives – are 50% more likely to be aged 15-44 than those using ‘regular’ trackers like Fitbit and Strava.

Meanwhile people accessing gym sites or apps are the highest income, and the most likely to be heavy visitors of the technology category online. Understanding how these audiences behave outside of the category gives a richer picture of their interests and the kind of marketing and propositions that may resonate with them.

Health news = healthy views

Over half of people looking at health news content also visit fitness and exercise brands, making this a great means of reaching people interested in fitness alongside relevant content.

Specialist content in magazine and news brands can be particularly effective at reaching users of some of the biggest fitness brands: Men’s Health readers, for example, are 149% more likely to visit the Strava site or app compared to the average internet user.

Social media works out 

Social media provides another effective means of reaching fitness and exercise visitors. Data from iris shows that Fitbit users are more likely to visit Pinterest (+24%) and TikTok (+15%), while Strava users are more likely to use X (+23%) and Instagram (+19%) compared to the total internet population.

People who access both Fitbit and Pinterest are particularly likely to be younger and female and are also more likely to be heavy technology visitors. This kind of insight can help you identify the perfect social media platform for your brand, and the best messaging for the audience you’ll reach.

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