Twitter is partnering with publisher Everyday Health to deliver public-health alerts and to sell ad packages related to health topics.
The publisher, which owns a host of health-related properties like Daily Glow and Jillian Michaels, will be able to scour the 2 million health-related daily tweets in the U.S. to see if anything is overindexing in a region to suggest that there's an impending outbreak (which could include mental-health issues). The deal is similar to host of partnerships with the likes of ESPN, A&E, Conde Nast and Major League Baseball.
It's not the first time a tech giant has used its massive pool of real-time user data to provide a public-health resource. Google has a flu tracker that uses aggregated Google search data to estimate flu activity.
Everyday Health president Michael Keriakos pointed to a whooping cough outbreak in South Central Los Angeles two years ago. He said the "HealthBeat" product developed with Twitter could have provided information to residents about vaccination programs through promoted tweets and hashtag health alerts targeted to Twitter users in that region.
"We'll be looking at the key health terms flaring up every day, and when something is indexing in an abnormal way we'll let Twitter know and we'll supply content about what to do," Mr. Keriakos said.
Not all content will be sponsored, he said, but advertisers will be sought to promote content around broader health topics like allergies, flu season and insomnia. For example, a national pharmacy chain might want to sponsor the hashtag #fluseason as well as videos featuring Dr. Sanjay Gupta (CNN's chief medical correspondent who also reports for Everyday Health) describing preventative measures that would be distributed in promoted tweets and appear in users' streams. Advertisers can also sponsor content on Everyday Health sites that will be linked to within promoted tweets.
Everyday Health can also use Twitter's targeting for advertiser-sponsored alerts, Mr. Keriakos said.
"If you're on Twitter at 3:30 a.m., chances are you're not sleeping," he said. He noted that a sleep-aid manufacturer could be a sponsor for insomnia-related content.
Everyday Health and Twitter have not signed up advertisers for the program, which formally launches today.