WedMD's Earnings Call Teaches Us About Health Content Today

August 05, 2015

During its recent earnings call, WebMD outlined its strategy that focuses on bringing content beyond its home website to social media as users continue to flock to mobile.  According to David Schlanger, WebMD’s CEO, “In the digital ecosystem it’s become clear that people are using social platforms as means to do more than just connect with their friends and family, but really as destinations to find information and consume information.  So we want to make sure that WebMD content is discoverable and can be consumed on the social platforms. That’s an important strategy to make sure that we grow deeper engagement with our existing users and bring in more users to using WebMD and Medscape as content sources.”

ms-logoAlso, mobile consumption statistics were discussed during the earnings call.  Specifically, 38%, 24%, and 7% of WebMD website traffic this year came from a U.S. smartphone, U.S. personal computer, and U.S. tablet devices, respectively (30% was international).  For comparison purposes, as of May 2014, 34% of traffic came from a U.S. smartphone, 30% came from U.S. personal computer, 9% from U.S. tablet devices.  Schlanger said the shift is a result of new mobile users, rather than a drop-off in PC or tablet users.

This information seems intuitive and obvious to most people.  U.S. consumers are moving toward mobile content consumption, and if WebMD misses the boat, it will be left by itself on the island of desktop computers.  What struck us as non-obvious is how the leading health content company by market share (by a wide margin) sees mobile as so important that it is willing to have the content consumed ad-free on social media sites.  In other words, the demand for health content on mobile is so strong that WebMD is willing to sacrifice immediate revenue to meet consumers where they want to consume content.

This dramatic shift in content consumption and WebMD strategy should be a lesson to all wellness coordinators and professionals out there.  To make sure your employees engage with your health content, you must make mobile consumption a pillar of your strategy.  Wellness flyers, emails, and content on websites will no longer suffice.  At Wellable, we embrace mobile content consumption through a text messaging solution that employees can opt-in to.  Each employer has a dedicated text stream so that they can promote company specific information and touch everyone through their mobile device.

Topics: Mobile Wellness

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