Overview of this campaign
The New York Times has long been the market leader in the art of storytelling. As innovations across platforms have emerged, The Times has appropriated best-in-class practices to enhance the storytelling experience for its readers. In the editorial arena, this has meant integrating multimedia executions into digital environments, the injection of new storytelling techniques into print executions, and the development of ever richer mobile and tablet experiences.
In 2014, The New York Times advertising department committed to identifying the most powerful of these tactics and leverage them on behalf of its advertisers. This decision was driven by the philosophy that brands have compelling stories that, if properly developed and executed, could offer value to Times readers while enhancing the user experience. For this reason, The New York Times advertising department developed a series of custom programs designed to solve advertiser needs. The New York Times achieved this in multiple iterations through a new product offering in branded content via paid posts.
Responding to market demand for branded content, in 2014 The Times developed T Brand Studio, an in-house branded content team devoted to generating paid posts. Paid posts are The New York Times’s digital destinations housing custom content on behalf of advertisers within NYTimes.com’s content management system. Using the same technology and standards as the NYT newsroom, the talented writers, designers, video producers and developers in T Brand Studio create compelling and engaging custom content on behalf of its brand partners. All of T Brand Studio’s content lives in custom-built, co-branded environments on NYTimes.com, fully discoverable by search and amplified by on-site media and social distribution to ensure that the content reaches the target audience, wherever they might be on the web.
The T Brand Studio can consult in the following areas for brands seeking content marketing solutions:
- Content Strategy
- Technology Development
- Video Production
- Mobile Development
- Social Amplification
Results for this campaign
Paid posts have yielded outstanding results, and have been identified by the advertising industry as examples of highly innovative executions that provided a natively discoverable, branded content experience. The Paid Post program, now in-market for 13 months, has achieved the invariable advertiser success metrics. Additionally, it has substantially deepened the advertiser’s relationships with The New York Times, both in terms of partnership and financial commitment.
Paid post advertisers in 2014 included BNY Mellon, Cartier, Cole Haan, Emirates Airline, Ernst & Young, Farmers Insurance, Fidelity, Google, Holiday Inn, Land Rover, MasterCard, Netflix, Shell, University of Phoenix, Vacheron and Zegna.
While individual advertiser metrics are proprietary, below are some anonymized statistics on the success of paid post, in general:
- In 2014, The New York Times released 50 paid post, nearly one per week.
- More than 2.6 million page views generated.
- Over 100,000 social actions.
- Had content organically appear on the “most emailed” module on the home page.
- Amassed more than 2,900 days of engaged time, or an equivalent of eight years’ worth of time engaging with paid post content.
- One post was ranked in the top 1,000 most trafficked articles across those published.
Because The New York Times Company is a public company, we can only disclose results that we have made publicly available. As New York Times C.F.O. Jim Follo noted during our third-quarter 2014 earnings presentation on Oct. 30 of last year, paid post are an integral part of The Times’s strategy.
“Advertising accelerated its momentum on the digital platform in the quarter and almost completely offset the print decline,” Follo said. “Digital advertising continues to see a boost from paid post, which is our version of branded content, and many of those units are being created by our newly formed custom content studio. The staffing of this in-house branded content group is part of the investments we have recently made in the advertising department, and that team continues to grow as demand for paid post remains strong.”