In just over two years, Everyday Health, the flagship property of Waterfront Media, has risen to prominence in the crowded online consumer health arena. Through choice acquisitions and a focus on daily health, the brand made steady gains this year, with both consumers and advertisers. In November, Everyday Health's network of sites bested category leader WebMD in unique visitors, the first time that's happened in over 10 years. By offering customized approaches and ROI capabilities, Waterfront Media has marketers tremendously enthused, says Mike Keriakos, co-founder and EVP.
“We can help advertisers measure the result of a campaign down to the number of prescriptions that the campaign generated,” says Keriakos. “That's the holy grail of marketing.”
The process begins with consumer engagement, and Everyday Health has focused itself around consumer needs and areas that promote continuous interface. “We knew when we launched the business that we wanted to focus on tools and content that would allow consumers to manage their health online, and that meant moving away from things that were purely encyclopedic or definition-oriented,” says Ben Wolin, co-founder and CEO, Waterfront Media. “We have that as well, but it's not a real reason for consumers to come back to your site.”
For example, a consumer can look up the definition for Type 1 diabetes, but he or she won't necessarily need to come back to the site afterward, says Wolin. “We've focused on tools, programs and other components that encourage repeat usage…like a diabetes meal planner and pregnancy calendars. These kinds of things build over time—you don't see the benefits immediately—but you start pushing enough consumers to those kinds of [applications], and you start to build a really big audience.”
Everyday Health's October merger with Revolution Health—a venture by Steve Case, who also co-founded America Online—increased the network's audience significantly. Valued at $300 million, the merger was “a pretty big deal for us,” says Wolin. “It catapulted our audience from 14 million unique visitors to over 25 million in one fell swoop.” Waterfront's public relations agency at the time, Krupp Kommunications, with the help of Edelman, oversaw the integration of the Revolution Health network of sites into Everyday Health.
Edelman was recently hired to represent the brand moving forward. According to Keriakos, Edelman's priority will be to unify the Everyday Health brand with all of the other websites comprising the network. “That will allow us to really become a household name,” says Keriakos. “[Everyday Health] is an aggregate of all our brands.” In addition to the Revolution Health merger, Waterfront penned a content deal with Yahoo! Health, slated to go live around mid-January. That will potentially extend Everyday Health's reach by 10% or 15%, according to Keriakos.
The concentration on developing cost-efficient, customized advertising was important in 2008, and Wolin says the company will continue to refine its marketing programs. “Everyone wants to know that the money they're spending is money well spent, regardless of the economic environment. It's our responsibility to help people measure that,” says Wolin. “In terms of key initiatives for 2009, I would say this is number one, front and center, when it comes to our customers.”
For Everyday Health, providing marketers with meaningful ROI starts with consumer registration and newsletters, explains Keriakos. “The heritage of our business is registration-based subscriptions, across all our sites. We get 30,000 people a day to fill in a health profile. While they're doing that, they're signing up for the Everyday Health newsletters, and that's how we get the traffic over to everydayhealth.com,” says Keriakos. Next, specialized editorial content centers are built surrounding issues related to a condition. Take incontinence, for example, offers Keriakos. “One in four women over 50 suffer from it, but only 10% medicate, because there's a lot of stigma around it. So, we could have an article not about how to treat incontinence, but how to talk to your doctor about it, or just highlighting the fact that one in four women over 50 suffer from it. We can build content around this…and we have 10 million people opening our daily newsletters,” he says.
Waterfront Media's if-you-build-it-they-will-come approach to advertisers had paid off. “We're projecting huge revenue increases next year,” says Keriakos. Though Waterfront doesn't publicly disclose its numbers, Wolin says the company is running “north of $100 million in revenue.”