Med Page Today improves results by automatically personalizing content for readers

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MedPage Today, based in Little Falls, N.J., is an online medical publisher that sends e-mail updates on the latest medical news to doctors, nurses and pharmacists. These e-mails are intended to drive clinicians to the MedPage Today Web site, where medical professionals can take tests through the Office of Continuing Medical Education at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and receive CME credits.

Using software that personalizes the e-mails, MedPage Today said it has been able to double the number of engaged users of its product. “We are jacking up the open rate of their e-mail,” said Tom Griffin, MedPage Today’s senior web analyst.

MedPage Today receives no revenue based on the medical professionals taking tests. Instead, it generates revenue through advertising and CME sponsorships. Delivering increased audience engagement—and having the metrics to prove it—is critical to convincing marketers to spend money with MedPage Today.

“Our business model turns on two metrics: the number of registered clinicians and the number of activities completed by them,” Griffin said.

To improve audience engagement, MedPage Today contracted with mSpoke, a Pittsburgh-based software as a service (SaaS) company. MSpoke’s mPower software analyzes content—both archived and newly created—to personalize the e-mails by determining which stories are best for which reader. The mPower software automatically orders the stories in the e-mail based on the recipient’s interests. A cardiologist, for example, receives e-mail with heart-related news at the top of the list.

Additionally, the subject line—which previously simply read, “MedPage Today daily news”—now carries the headline of the personalized top story for each recipient.

With these changes, MedPage Today said it has seen a significant uptick in the engagement of its users. Within four months of beginning to use mPower, MedPage Today said its active e-mail users doubled.

The company also said it saw CME test-taking activity increase by as much as 60% from users receiving the personalized e-mail, when compared with users receiving nonpersonalized e-mail. It also saw a 300% increase in previously inactive users clicking through for the first time, based solely on personalizing the subject line.

“The next wave of this is going to be focused on using mSpoke to drive page depth,” Griffin said. Specifically, when readers land on a MedPage Today Web page, they will find listed beside the story they initially wanted to read several related stories, which Griffin hopes will increase page views and time spent on the site.

Sean Ammirati, CEO of mSpoke, said the personalization of content can help publishers avoid many pitfalls of e-mail and Web marketing. “You can avoid list fatigue and improve conversion rates on white papers and other lead generation products,” he said.

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