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 custom program designed to solve advertiser needs for Netflix, and enhance and deepen the relationship.
The Times and Netflix partnered for a powerful and immersive digital and mobile optimized paid post showcasing Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black,” a comedy-drama series about memoirist Piper Kerman’s experiences in prison. This program leveraged custom content and video, and featured deep investigative journalism. This execution included a digital destination with long-format storytelling, interactive data visualization and powerful video. The program centered on women inmates in the U.S., and how the prison model for women is inherently flawed. Initially conceived as a piece about in-prison beauty maintenance, the story quickly evolved into an emotional exposé about the inadequacies of a system built for men when enforced upon women.
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.
Results for this campaign
The programs developed for Netflix has yielded outstanding results. The program has been identified by the advertising industry as an example of a highly innovative execution, which provided a natively discoverable, branded content experience. The program, now in-market for two months, has achieved the Netflix’s advertiser success metrics. Additionally, the program has substantially deepened the advertiser’s relationships with The New York Times, both in terms of partnership and financial commitment.
Moreover, the program garnered industry recognition, receiving the Digiday Video Award for “Best Branded Video Destination” and the OMMA Award for “Native Advertising: Single Execution.”
While individual advertiser metrics are proprietary, below are some anonymized statistics on the success of paid posts, in general:
• In 2014, The New York Times released 50 paid posts, 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 on NYTimes.com.
Netflix is an example of The New York Times’s commitment to assisting brands in telling stories to its readers. Additionally, by housing the digital paid post element within The Times content management system, it was organically discoverable via natural search, The New York Times search, social discovery, and via organic placements within Related Articles on NYTimes.com.