New York Times Capitalizes on ‘Mobile Moments’ for Tailored Ads

While the mobile age has left many publishers scrambling to keep up in the advertising arena, The New York Times is betting on Mobile Moments to create branded content that’s relevant to its audience’s daily routine. 

To create Mobile Moments, The Times took a lesson from its own targeting strategy. For example, the news organization has found an increased readership with its “Morning Briefing,” which gives readers the top headlines as they sip their coffee and scroll their devices. The Times has also been experimenting with wearables, seeing success with one sentence stories for Apple Watch. All this testing will mean exclusive targeting capablities for brands, according to Sebastian Tomich, senior vice president of advertising and innovation for The New York Times.

“I can’t promise that every reader will love our ads, but I can promise that we will be matching the advertising to what the reader is looking for at any given moment,” Tomich says. “In this case, we’ve targeted seven moments in a reader’s day. When an advertiser works with us on this program, their advertising will change throughout the day to match the readers’ needs.”

Mobile Moments will either incorporate a brand’s own creative or feature content in collaboration with T Brand Studio, The Times‘ in-house content creation division. One product T Brand is offering is audience-targeted short stories, called “Screenplays,” that will roll out during different parts of the customer journey at different times in the day, a bolder push toward native than brands have seen in the past. Brands will purchase Mobile Moments ads by the “moment” or by the “package.”  

“We are introducing bigger and better creative so advertisers can buy this just like they buy mobile display or any kind of multimedia, including video, interactive, graphic or a series of short stories,” Tomich says. “When we think about these moments we can package a single moment for the advertiser, or the advertiser can buy the entire moments package in which our team will automatically change the creative throughout the day to align with the moment.”

And while Mobile Moments, currently focus on key points during a readers’ day, other data may soon factor in to targeting capabilities. “The backbone of this product is data,” Tomich says. “The data that was collected by our product team is what shaped our seven moments. The next step will be introducing data targeting where we will apply behavioral and demographic data.”

The product isn’t currently available for Apple Watch or other wearables, but Tomich says that those offerings are currently in testing. 

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