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ALM: Mobile optimization delivers 60% lift

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With more of its audience reading electronic newsletters on mobile devices, media company ALM knew it had to optimize its content for readers on the go. The company began an overhaul of its electronic newsletter platform in January, adopting technology that allows it to make messages more readable for a mobile audience. The move helped boost open rates and deliver traffic to the ALM website, said Jeffrey S. Litvack, senior VP-digital media. “Readers are opening their e-newsletters on their phones rather than their desktops,” Litvack said. “We wanted to make sure we offered the best experience for them so they could quickly and easily browse those e-newsletters. Also, for advertisers, we want to make sure that the advertisements are in the right place.” ALM, which produces titles in the legal and real estate verticals, began rolling mobile-optimized messages out across 20 of its e-newsletter titles in March. The open rate for those titles surged 60%, Litvack said, and the click-through rate rose more than 50% compared with the 12-week period prior to the launch. The publisher worked with technology vendor Sailthru Inc. to develop the mobile-optimized messages, which render differently when opened on a smartphone than on a desktop. Mobile deliveries feature single-column text, modified ad formats and an interface that is easier to navigate on a small screen. The transition, which now encompasses more than 60 e-newsletters, is part of an aggressive ALM mobile strategy that includes tablet editions, apps and mobile-optimized websites. The websites recognize a user's device and serve one of two interfaces. Readers who visit a home page via their smartphone arrive not at the full site they would see on their desktop or tablet but at a simplified site developed for a smaller screen and thumb navigation. “It's critical that you close the loop. You want both experiences to be mobile-optimized,” Litvack said. Publishers need to move with their audiences, he said. About 40% of ALM readers who open their e-newsletters perform the task on a mobile device, and the push technology of email continues to be a high performer. Litvack said that he expects that performance to improve as the company continues to leverage the new platform. ALM is building behavioral profiles and testing technology that will allow it to better anticipate the news that its readers want to receive. “We're watching what people click on,” Litvack said. “We want to be able to "surface' those articles and make sure that [attorneys] aren't seeing the same content that the attorney who is sitting across the hall, who practices in another area, is seeing.” The personalization will not be limited to content. The new platform will also allow ALM to determine the best time of day to deliver its messages to an individual reader's inbox. “There is a level of sophistication not only about what information is inside but how you deliver it and when you deliver it as well,” Litvack said.
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