Vertical Search Engine Healthline Launches “Semantic Ad Network”

Vertical health search engine Healthline has introduced what it’s calling the Healthline Media Network, a contextual ad network for medical and health-related sites. According to the company, the new ad network will utilize Healthline’s “semantic health search technology” to better understand partner page content and do a better job of matching ads accordingly.

From the press release:

Healthline HealthSTAT (Semantic Taxonomy Ad Targeting) is a new ad-focused application that recognizes rich health-related concepts (as opposed to simple keywords) within the content on publisher sites, and matches them with contextually relevant health advertising. For example, a page describing certain symptoms – scratchy throat, watery eyes – could trigger a relevant ad for treatments of Rhinitis, Bronchitis, or even the common cold. HealthSTAT can also work with pharmaceutical campaigns that have precise requirements, e.g., a general SSRI medication can be matched to any page where HealthSTAT recognizes depression content. On the contrary, if an antipsychotic drug needs adjacent placement to only bipolar content, HealthSTAT can make that distinction just as easily.

Healthline claims 10 million uniques at launch, distributed across a range of partner sites that include United Healthcare’s new MyOptumHealth, AARP, Elder.com, Health.com, HealthPricer, Just Answer, PracticeFusion, and USNews.com. Previously the company launched personalized health search on the Aetna site, which leveraged Aentna insureds’ medical records to provide customized search results in conjunction with Healthline’s search algorithms.

Healthline also has a range of partnerships beyond those listed that includes the health-related Smart Answers on Ask.

There’s no behavioral targeting in the Healthline Media Network, so there aren’t the same potential privacy questions and issues that critics have raised with initiatives such as Microsoft Health Vault and Google Health. Healthline’s technology reportedly just does a better job of understanding page content and mapping related advertising on a conceptual level.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Search Engines: Health & Medical Search Engines

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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