At Everyday Health's fourth quarterly earnings call since going public last year, CEO Ben Wolin spoke about the growing importance of mobile to the company's business, as well as some of the other trends that are driving the company.
Everyday Health offers consumers an app and web tool to aggregate health information on a variety of topics, including nutrition, diabetes, fitness, digestive health, heart health and auto immune diseases. The company also owns MedPage Today, an online news source for physicians and Health Reach, an company that helps pharmaceutical companies target their advertising to niche audiences. They bought DoctorDirectory, a website for helping consumers find doctors, in November.
Wolin pointed to the shift in focus from blockbuster drugs to specialty drugs in the pharma industry, and a general reduction in pharma sales force sizes, as increasing the importance of targeted online and mobile advertising, to help pharma companies reach niche audiences without spending too much.
"Our ability to use highly sophisticated data and analytics and our ability to monetize equally well across desktop and mobile have turned these macro trends into significant tailwinds for our business," Wolin said. "We expect these trends to continue in 2015 and beyond and believe they will allow us to continue demonstrating our leadership in digital health."
In the Q&A, Wolin explained why smaller marketing budgets and more niche audiences would lead pharma companies to gravitate toward advertising on digital platforms.
"When you have a small patient population -- say I’m trying to reach half a million consumers, as an example -- it makes a lot of sense to focus digitally, versus in a television spot where you’re going to be wasting a tremendous amount of that spend. So we know that all of our customers are interested in being as efficient as possible with their marketing dollars, and digital is an obvious solution for them."
Wolin reported high engagement with the company's flagship sites Everyday Health, MedPage Today, and What to Expect. He said their combined monthly audience is 53 million customers, two thirds of whom are practicing U.S. physicians. Just over a million people registered for an Everyday Health site in the fourth quarter.
"Similar to past quarters, we saw strong growth in mobile as a delivery channel for our advertising and sponsorship programs," Wolin said. "On an annual basis, mobile revenue grew 82 percent over 2013 and represented 37 percent of our total revenue in 2014."
Going into 2015, the company plans to increase its focus on direct to physician channels and to look for new ways to expand its core business, especially through payor and provider partnerships. (Everyday Health recently hired Miki Kapoor to head-up a newly formed payor-provider unit.) The company will also be looking for merger and acquisition opportunities.
"As all payers and providers now need to more directly engage with consumers -- whether it's direct recruitment, care management or cost reduction -- our audience, content, and data assets are well-suited to address the critical needs of these entities," Wolin said. "The early signs are very positive for partnering with payors and providers and there will be more to come on this front. We expect 2015 to be a year providing support and investment to Miki as he builds out this business."