Success Story

Incisive Media automate personalised content based on actual behaviour to deliver improved results

Incisive Media embarked on a project to raise the bar and deliver automated, personalised content in email based on actual content consumed.

Incisive Media is one of the world’s most established publishers in the finance and technology sectors.

Incisive Media bring award-winning journalism and analysis to the asset management, wealth management, institutional pensions, IT channel and enterprise technology sectors. Titles such as Computing and Investment Week have become the go-to destination for subject matter expert content and they bring sellers to buyers through a series of events.


  • Increase email engagement by sending more relevant emails
  • Prove that the concept works and roll-out to other brands
  • Implement at scale more cost-effectively but utilise framework for other brands

The Challenge

Galvanised by an Adestra Breakfast seminar where another Upland Adestra client talked about their personalisation in email, Incisive Media embarked on a project to raise the bar and deliver automated, personalised content in email based on actual content consumed. Historically, personalisation had been delivered through inferred or preferences given, usually at the point of sign-up. But preferences change and with a desire to improve email engagement, a pilot project was realised which brought together Upland Adestra’s Customer Success Manager (CSM), Digital Design and Technical Consultants.

The existing set up had 8 categories of articles with each category’s suite of articles managed within their own XML feed for e-alert campaign. There was no data on contacts’ engagement with different categories, which made personalising content difficult.

There were lots of challenges for the Upland Adestra Professional Services team to navigate, such as if a customer clicks to other categories would the web analytics platform be able to identify subsequent online behaviour in order to build up a more accurate customer engagement score. Plus, what happens if a customer logs in to the account separate from clicking on an email?

The Solution

As part of the regular account reviews, Upland Adestra’s CSM suggested starting with default campaigns. These campaigns would contain all category articles and look at engagement from these default campaigns, giving Incisive Media insight into what article categories each contact is most interested in. After sending the default newsletter over time, there would be adequate data to start flagging contacts as being interested in specific categories. With this information Incisive Media were able to personalise their e-alerts with articles specific to their needs.

Upland Adestra’s CSM worked closely with Incisive Media’s Head of Data to create an engagement score. This would then be passed to Upland Adestra’s MessageFocus Platform via a daily .csv for MessageFocus to look within the contact data table and serve articles relevant to their score. Within the email, template logic was set up to automatically populate the correct articles based on the score.

Incisive Media were able to decide the rules by which to serve content to someone or not e.g. whether to always serve Category 1 information to an Adopter, ½ time to an Acceptor and ¼ time to Rejector (to try and get them to engage).


Incisive Media has seen a significant increase of +60% average clicks per newsletter from sending to over 2,000 contacts when compared to non-personalised newsletters:

In addition, the process is completely automated which saves time both for the Editors and the Data team.

What’s next?

Incisive Media intend to use the Premier Service Plan to fund a roll-out of the pilot to other brands across the portfolios and see further gains in engagement from personalisation at scale.

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