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Content Personalization on Health Care Websites

Health care organizations today are shifting their marketing focus from simply providing information on how to find care for illnesses to promoting a healthy lifestyle.

One way they’re doing this is by engaging patients with personalized information such as relevant events & classes, patient stories, health screenings and treatment options etc.

For example, a visitor that is identified as someone expecting a baby – either by self-identifying as an expecting parent or by tracking recently visited family-planning related pages – could automatically see related birthing and/or child safety classes.

Of course, the big online shopping companies (think Amazon) have been engaging consumers with personalized content for a long time. Because of this, it’s becoming more common that people expect to see relevant content when they go to other websites.

Health Care: Playing Personalization Catch-Up

Thanks to retargeting, the visitor who recently browsed some coffee makers, now likely sees related coffee making products as they browse the website.

In fact, according to one study, “nearly three-fourths (74%) of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content appears that has nothing to do with their interests.” (Janrain & Harris Interactive)

How do health care websites catch up?

First, we need to understand the main reasons for a user’s visit to the website. We can find that out in a number of ways:

Explicit Personalization

This personalization tactic relies on input given by the users.

Image: Sentara College of Health Sciences uses explicit personalization to let users identify with their persona and goal for visiting the website to discover related information.


For example, we give website visitors the option to identify their preferred care location to see related content as they browse the website. This personalized content includes available services, events and classes, and hours.

In addition, we can let visitors identify their purpose when visiting the website by selecting their persona, such as student, patient, visitor, staff, etc. In this way, they can see relevant resources and ways to navigate to the right content.



Image: Catholic Health uses explicit personalization by letting website visitors select their ‘home’ hospital to reveal relevant information, including customized homepage, available doctors and services, and more.


Implicit Personalization

This personalization tactic relies on algorithmic assumptions of what is relevant content for that specific visitor based on their past behavior.

For example, we can serve up relevant content based on the following:

  • How they arrived at the website: What word did they search to get there? Was it a specific ad that linked them?
  • Onsite behavior: Which page did they land on first? Which pages did they go to after?
  • Time on page: How much time did they spend on these pages? When was their last visit?
  • Environment: What’s their geolocation? Are they on desktop or mobile? What time of the day is it?

With the right technology in place (such as Acquia Lift), the personalized experience can happen automatically without the user manually specifying their purpose.

Using Personalization to Drive Engagement and Conversions

Next, and more important, we need to focus on how to use this information to drive patient engagement and business conversions.

Let’s look at an example.

How you can use ‘Make an Appointment’ for business conversion

With information gained from the explicit and implicit personalization tactics above, we know that a particular visitor is interested in treatment ‘X’ and is near hospital ‘Y.’

Therefore, we can display ‘X service’ information at the ‘Y’ location. We include customized call to action copy around the ‘Make an Appointment’ link such as ‘Make an appointment for ‘X service’ at ‘hospital Y.’

This content personalization can provide a better experience to your visitors. And at the same time drive higher revenues from higher relevancy leads.

Find out more about how content personalization could benefit your website. Let’s chat.