Benefitting from Return on Engagement

Jun 19, 2015 at 02:02 pm by Staff

When Orlando Medical News’ website is re-launched soon, it will feature arguably the most advanced business-to-business (B2B) platform in the industry.  

“I’m not aware of any other platform that has quite the breadth of capability,” said Eric Kammerzelt, vice president of technology at SouthComm, parent company of Medical News Inc. “We’re creating a 360-degree profile around our audience, and it will totally revolutionize how editorial content is generated.”

Kammerzelt, listed among Folio magazine’s annual Top 40 list in recent years, joined SouthComm via Cygnus Business Media Inc., an international B2B media company. SouthComm, niche publisher of consumer and B2B weeklies, monthlies, and regional magazines primarily in the South and Midwest, acquired Cygnus’ 11-magazine and 7-trade show public safety group last November, chiefly for the industry’s most sought-after technologies – BASE.

BASE is a content management system hosting thousands of market-specific articles. This need-driven platform was built with open source tools and technologies for a comprehensive solution for editorial and design publishing teams. A leading content strategy serves as a cornerstone in sales-lead generation, and was developed by a small WI team.


The Listening Phase

“Back in 2007, we began asking the editorial team at Cygnus: what are your challenges? What are your needs? How can technology help? At that time, print editors were being asked to also manage content online, in addition to managing social media and newsletters. We heard overwhelmingly they needed an easy way to share and organize content,” said Kammerzelt, who joined Cygnus in 1998 as network administrator, and was promoted to corporate IT director in 2006, the same year Twitter was launched. “We looked around and weren’t happy with what we were finding in the industry, so we built our own system. We met with editors weekly to advance to their needs. The system has grown and evolved, and has become quite popular.”

The platform intuitively maximizes use of responsive design and compelling content.

“The way we organize our content allows us to be smarter about the content we provide,” he explained. “Our analytics platforms helps us understand our audience – what’s being consumed, read or simply grazed, and insights into how readers are navigating the site. It’s been very enlightening to many editors who may think the audience is interested in particular content but instead are interested in something different that editors may not have thought would hold their interest.”

Historically, editors and sales have been distinctively separate departments. In the digital age, the entire team – editorial, production and sales – has become more collaborative with its partners, yet remaining so in ethical fashion.

“The bottom line is to maximize impact,” pointed out Kammerzelt.


Industry’s Dirty Little Secret

The platform has received accolades for the way optimized in-view impressions are measured.

“The dirty little secret of many websites is that ad impressions further down the web page are still counted as having value to advertisers when clearly they have no value if no one ever sees it,” he said. “That’s how sites were designed for years. About a year ago, we implemented technology that allows us to fire the ad only when it’s on the screen and the user has the ability to actually view it. A big conversation among ad agencies is that advertisers are catching on and don’t want to pay for impressions not seen. They want effective ads.”

For example, Cygnus approached Caterpillar about advertising in its B2B construction industry publication.

“Their content wasn’t generating as much industry interest and exposure as they’d planned,” he said. “We brought data to them that showed readers were hungry for the information but there was a wrinkle: either it wasn’t marketed well, found easily, or consumed well. Caterpillar asked for our help, and we created a section of the site built around a specific type of legitimate content, combined with content they already had, and it resulted in a very successful sales program for Caterpillar.”

Another example: Cygnus built a buyer’s guide platform, a collection of product and company data, and infused content in the database for users to easily find.

“We gathered information on the people who were interested in that approach, and then built a buying capacity to show advertisers and potential advertisers a group with potential buying propensity for particular products,” he said.


Return on Engagement

Success stories resulting from the innovative platform spurred Kammerzelt’s invention of the Return on Engagement (ROE) report.

“The engagement report is built specifically for advertisers and potential advertisers to show content consumption trends to better reach their target audience, compared to competitors in the same category with the same audience while answering the question: how can we better pinpoint the target audience? Sometimes it’s content; sometimes it’s advertising,” said Kammerzelt. “We crafted the engagement report as a way to educate advertisers and give them more transparency and visibility on the popularity of their content. We keep hearing: what have you done for me lately? Have you run articles relevant to me, my needs and my market? Finding specific examples used to be laborious. Now it’s instantaneous.”

The revised Orlando Medical News website will have opportunities for rapid-response polls and surveys to learn more about reader engagement, and will feature tools for article response and possibly access to white papers and other reader-directed information.

Once the website is re-launched, Kammerzelt estimates 90 days for data collection to be absorbed.

“The platform will allow us to response rapidly to reader trends,” he said. “For example, the systems may not show a void in editorial content, but data analytics will make it easier to discern specific editorial needs.”

If advertising support warrants it via data feedback, the system will allow Medical News to quickly add new markets, such as Jacksonville, Fla., Columbia, SC, or Portland, Ore., and revitalize existing ones, such as Charlotte, NC, and Research Triangle, NC, including Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. The sites could quickly evolve into separate yet connected markets. It will also allow Medical News to easily and inexpensively test the waters on other ideas, such as potential awards programs or niche market sections, perhaps one targeted to medical students.

“No longer do you need to wait months for a site,” he emphasized. “It’s much more fluid now.”


Design Features & Improved Ad Performance

The Orlando Medical News platform has a responsive design optimized for mobile and tablet sites, each laid out differently for an advanced viewing experience.

Audience and content segmentation will route through half a dozen “channels” for better content organization. “Let’s say ‘education’ falls under ‘business,’ but data show that ‘education’ is popular and could be its own channel or maybe even a separate site. That’s data analytics driving change.”

Other features include related content for deeper site engagement; advanced techniques and best practices for optimizing online readability and engagement; and social media integration including sharing, social sign-on, and user comments.

Improved advertiser offerings: all impressions are “in-view,” data analytics provides the ability to target within segments and “own” a channel; ad placement is more integrated with content; placement is variable; click-through rates and total clicks provide higher overall clicks; ad impressions are optimized on mobile and tablet devices; and the platform generates availability for page peels, billboards and other rich media ad capabilities.

Backend highlights include a unified workflow for print and digital products; real-time editorial control, allowing for more frequent updates; automated image and media handling; and rich taxonomy and organization/relation of content.

“We’re very excited about re-launching our Medical News markets this month,” said Kammerzelt. “The more thrilling part will occur when we have enough data to drive changes to truly make a difference to those who support us.”



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