The New York Times’ Native Ad Strategy Is Getting a Boost Thanks to These Tech Acquisitions

HelloSociety and Fake Love are now fully in the sales mix

T Brand Studio has been running a campaign for Miami tourism that has included social influencers' photography.
The New York Times

At the end of May, Greater Miami and the Beaches—a tourism organization for The Magic City—launched a paid-post-driven campaign via The New York Times’ T Brand Studio, including content exploring the South Florida town’s Little Havana, Little Haiti, the Wynwood arts district and more. The paid post—one of NY Times’ native ad units—was the centerpiece of the effort, while the orbiting details represent how its sales team have increasingly incorporated HelloSociety and Fake Love into its pitches.

HelloSociety, a Los Angeles-based influencer network that the Old Gray Lady bought in March 2016, supplied a small team of new media mavens who traveled to Miami and produced intriguing content posted via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest across all the relevant social accounts. The influencers entailed food blogger Jane Ko, designer Justina Blakeney and photographer Paul Octavious.

“We are integrating all of their influencer capabilities into New York Times media buys,” said Sebastian Tomich, svp, advertising and innovation at the newspaper. “That is ranging from taking an influencer and making him or her part of a native advertising campaign on the Times to placing influencers to events to connecting influencers to thematically aligned media such as a bridal influencer featured in our Vows section.”

The Miami endeavor falls in line with similar, multi-tiered programs T Brand Studio has run for Veuve Clicquot, Prego, Brighthouse Financial and Wendy’s in recent months. Brooklyn-based marketing agency Fake Love, which NYT purchased last August, created a livestream for Veuve Clicquot to complement the native aspects of its Times-anchored initiative.

It took at least a half of a year to integrate HelloSociety into the T Brand sales mix, while the process with Fake Love was a few months shorter. Now, the startups will be leveraged in discussions with marketers across NYT’s global footprint, which includes sales offices in London and Hong Kong.

“We felt like [HelloSociety was] a great fit because they were leading with creative instead of distribution,” Tomich remarked. “Our eyes are always on the lookout for other opportunities as well.”

Indeed, the more content production to bundle and pitch, the better. That seems to be a building theme if one currently looks across the consumer-facing and business-to-business ad sales realms.

For instance, businesses-focused YP (formerly Yellow Pages) is, more and more, selling its digital and print ads with search placements via Google and Bing. Bundled campaigns, according to Jared Rowe, YP CEO, get 7 percent better results compared to efforts that only fall in one media bucket.

“We have clients who buy all of them,” Rowe said. “It’s really a traditional media strategy. How do you layer it up to get the outcome you want as an advertiser?”