Published on 03-Feb-2012
Rodale - Web Analytics
EMM - Digital Marketing Optimization, Smarter Commerce, Smarter Marketing
Rodale Inc. is a global media company with a heritage, mission and authority dedicated to the health and wellness of the individual, community and planet. Through a broad portfolio of leading media properties, Rodale reaches more than 70 million people around the world through multiple distribution channels, including magazines, books, online, e-commerce, direct-to-consumer and video.
Content providers are constantly seeking to grow their audiences. Audience growth, however, is not always accompanied by a corresponding increase in revenue. To succeed, content providers must find a way to monetize audience growth
Implemented IBM Digital Analytics to improve conversions and optimize promotions for free downloads and used Digital Analytics to understand the value of syndication and newsletters in driving traffic to Rodale sites
§Click through rates improved by 45 percent §Clicks improved by 50 percent §Page views increased by 92 percent §User sessions improved by 72 percent
Rodale measures online performance to grow revenues and readership
Rodale Inc. is a global media company with a heritage, mission and authority dedicated to the health and wellness of the individual, community and planet. Through a broad portfolio of leading media properties, Rodale reaches more than 70 million people around the world through multiple distribution channels, including magazines, books, online, e-commerce, direct-to-consumer and video. The company publishes some of the best-known health and wellness lifestyle magazines, including Men’s Health, Prevention, Women’s Health, Runner’s World, Bicycling, Running Times, and Organic Gardening, and is the largest independent book publisher in the United States, with a collection of bestselling titles, including Al Gore’s Our Choice, Flat Belly Diet!, and Eat This, Not That! Rodale is also a leader in direct-response marketing and has more than 25 million active customers in its database.
Content providers are constantly seeking to grow their audiences. Audience growth, however, is not always accompanied by a corresponding increase in revenue. To succeed, content providers must find a way to monetize audience growth. Rodale marketers are achieving that goal with the help of IBM® Coremetrics®. IBM® Digital Analytics is providing rich insight into online content performance, thereby enabling informed decisions that drive revenue growth.
By anyone’s standards, Rodale has successfully transitioned from a print-only business to a leading digital and print publisher. The company’s magazines and premium content sites include high-profile names such as Men’s Health, Prevention, Women’s Health, Runner’s World, Bicycling, Mountain Bike, Running Times and Organic Gardening. Rodale websites attract 11 million monthly unique visits and 120 million monthly page views. The company is also the largest independent book publisher in the United States.
Rodale derives revenue from advertising and direct commerce. Its robust eCommerce business is driven by books, downloads, paid content sites and its email marketing platform. eCommerce revenues have grown twenty times over the last three years.
Daily online-only content is anchored by video, tools, newsletters and articles. Rodale marketers pay close attention to the effectiveness of online content and Digital Analytics is their number one tool for measuring what content appeals to different audiences and what content is in highest demand.
Recently, marketers put IBM Digital Analytics to work in two key areas:
Improving conversions and optimizing promotions for free downloads.
Understanding the value of syndication and newsletters in driving traffic to Rodale sites.
New user downloads increased 72 percent for Men’s Health and 92 percent for Women’s Health
For more than two years, Rodale has offered PDFs, workout videos, shopping lists and other free downloads to improve audience engagement. Downloads quickly emerged as the most effective way to drive registration and new database names. Conversion rates, however, were wildly disparate across sites.
With the goal of driving more new-to-file database registrations and acquiring new email names, marketers began tracking the performance of downloads from articles, landing pages and other anchor content. IBM Coremetrics reporting enabled them to identify high-and low-performing items. By promoting content that yielded 10 percent or better conversion rates and retiring lower-performing content, the staff achieved dramatic gains.
For example, reporting showed that for Men’s Health, video workouts were the most popular downloads by a factor of three. By reorganizing promotion around a redesigned Download Center and from within a targeted group of popular articles, the staff increased new-to-file names by 72 percent.
For Women’s Health, reporting revealed workout downloads were 34 percent more effective than PDFs at capturing signups. It also showed that the keywords abs and stomach were nearly two times more effective at capturing download signups than other workout keywords. Marketers used this information to improve targeting and promotion. The result was a 92 percent year-over-year improvement in new-to-file names.
The results for Runner’s World surprised the marketing staff. Reporting showed that Smart Coach, one of the site’s most popular tools, was more effective at driving signups than downloads. The staff tested the Smart Coach tool with a free signup wall and learned that the downstream revenue gain in names more than offset the short term decrease in advertisement impressions from traffic that did not want to provide an email address and bounced.
Click through rates jump 45 percent
While marketers had rich insight into what was happening on Rodale sites, they needed better visibility into key traffic sources such as newsletters and syndication. Marketers wanted to measure and improve the performance of links to Rodale sites from these sources.
To achieve their goal, marketers used IBM Coremetrics tagging on external pages to measure the traffic coming from those sites to Rodale sites. With the data collected, they were able to test and improve the quality of traffic from both newsletters and syndication.
Through analysis, the marketers identified the best-performing and worst-performing links in the newsletters. They examined the location of links and found that people were gravitating to several key areas. By redesigning the newsletters, testing the new designs and fine-tuning the placement of links, the staff achieved dramatic gains that include:
45 percent improvement in click through rates
50 percent improvement in clicks
92 percent increase in page views
72 percent improvement in user sessions
The marketers are also experimenting with the placement of links in syndicated content. Initially links were placed primarily at the end of articles. Now marketers are exploring the impact of placing them within paragraphs and then analyzing the results to see which placements are most effective.
Thus far, the marketers have achieved a 50 percent-plus improvement in syndication sessions and click-through-driven page views.
For more information
To learn more about IBM Coremetrics please contact your IBM marketing representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website(s): ibm.com/software/marketing-solutions
Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
IBM Digital Analytics
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