How data analytics is helping Reachout.com to save lives

Content management technology investment and web analytics help not-for-profit to better serve the community

Website analytics can be a powerful tool for increasing sales. But they can also prove useful in helping people in a time of crisis.

This is certainly the hope of the team at ReachOut.com, an online mental health service for young Australians operated by the Inspire Foundation. ReachOut.com received more than 1.4 million unique visitors in 2013, and helped them to get through tough times by delivering information and assistance where and when it is needed.

With one in four young Australians living with a mental health difficulty, ReachOut.com has been credited by its users with literally helping to save their lives. So getting the right information to users at the right time is absolutely critical.

Three years ago, ReachOut.com undertook a review of its website and determined it could improve how it reached the wider pool of young people who were not currently receiving help. This led to a refocusing of the site’s content from the theme of ‘tough times’ to one of ‘well-being’, to reach young people before their problems became critical. Three hundred young people were then engaged to help develop product concepts, establish guiding principles and create a clear set of user experience objectives.

The new focus on content, and the need to ensure that young people could easily find the content that was relevant to their situation, led ReachOut.com to seek a new content management system. That led to Sitecore, and the relaunch of the service in August 2012.

“Under our previous content management system we had very little ability to connect young people from a Google search directly into content that was relevant or match content to some specific experiences,” ReachOut.com chief executive officer, Jonathan Nicholas, said.

“We saw some great potential in the Sitecore platform in giving us the ability over time to personalise content pathways and really give the experience for the young person that ReachOut.com is talking to their specific needs, even though we have a range of issues that we deal with.”

As a result of the switch, Nicholas said ReachOut.com is targeting content more accurately now.

“We are able to see where content is working and not working, and we can rectify if we have a piece of content that hasn’t worked,” he said. “It has helped definitely to make sure we have the right content on the site.”

Read more: Kinetic Super looks to content marketing to drive engagement with superannuation

The next stage of development will see Sitecore used to offer greater personalisation of a user’s experience on ReachOut.com. Today personalisation is limited to geo-location, allowing ReachOut to connect young people to state-based resources that are local to them.

But ReachOut.com’s chief financial officer, Heather Doig, can see great potential to better solve specific issues for users, based on where they are in their well-being journey.

“We are trying to tread softly initially,” Doig said. “It is easy for a retail organisation to say ‘our goal is to convert someone into purchasing a product’. For us it is less well defined. Success for us might be someone getting to the right fact sheet and then going off the site and dealing with their issue, or connecting through to one of the partners that we work with. So we are trying different approaches.”

Nicholas said the goal is to have young people feel that ReachOut.com is talking to their needs personally.

Read more: Why Mars and Qantas are investing into in-house digital skills

“We’re excited by the application of something developed for a commercial audience and taking that engine and dealing with the complexity of human behaviour, rather than just achieving a sale,” he said. “But if you overstep the mark on personalisation you can become very specific and very wrong. If you under-step it then you become bland and generic.”

The investment in Sitecore also delivers a better experience of the ReachOut.com site on mobile devices, which Nicholas said is proving to be a more popular medium for its young users.

“We are seeing a really significant shift in recent months where young people are moving primarily from a desktop engagement to a mobile engagement,” Nicholas said. “And we see those trends continuing and wanted to invest in a system that allowed us to have that flexibility.”

As for its goal of reaching more young people with mental health issues, ReachOut.com is reporting a 20 per cent increase in its audience in the past year, putting it on track to reach its goal of three million visitors by 2017.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Signup to CMO’s email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Disruption Down Under – What’s Amazon’s real competitive advantage?

Savvy shoppers wait in anticipation, while Australian retailers are gearing up for the onslaught. Amazon’s arrival is imminent.

Change across the board: Why boards need to digitally evolve

Traditionally the non-executive board of a company acts in an advisory capacity - attending monthly board meetings to offer overarching advice and guidance typically focusing on:

Jodie Sangster

CEO, ADMA

The most desirable customers you’ve overlooked

“What will really move the needle?” This is a question that keeps leaders awake at night. And at the intersection of some of their top priorities – finding pockets of growth, redefining the customer experience, and making an emotional impact – lies a latent market: Their diverse customers.

Really inspiring !

Goldenboy Media

Jaywing sets sights on Australian growth with digital and data-driven agency model

Read more

Being aware of regulations or guidlines is just the start. As our CEO Emma Lo Russo stated exactly two weeks ago at an event we supported...

Alan Smith

​Are the Wild West days of influencer collaboration over?

Read more

Rebranding is always nice solution to get better organisation. Businessman may apply certain special services (for example, https://www.l...

David Hill

CMO interview: Spearheading the global rebranding of OFX

Read more

Thank you so much for sharing this article.Top Digital Marketing company in Bangalore

Way To DM

Predictions: 17 digital marketing trends for 2017

Read more

Thanks for the great article Jodie, agree many boards and senior execs are operating in outdated modes, just as we need some reverse soci...

sharyn

Change across the board: Why boards need to digitally evolve - Data-driven marketing - CMO Australia

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in