New York Times Customer EngagementThe New York Times wants to provide personalized and relevant content to its loyal readers. Enhancing customer engagement is the key driving force behind the venerable newspaper’s plans to launch a new type of innovative mobile advertising this fall that will focus on key moments of a user’s day.

The ad solution, called Mobile Moments, will feature targeted short stories, called Screenplays, which will be created by T Brand Studio, The Times’s commercial content group. Available on The Times’s core smartphone apps and mobile web, Mobile Moments are designed to be more integrated in the reader experience and more relevant to time of day.

Mobile Moments was inspired by The Times’s major advances in recent months in engaging readers with moment-driven, personalized journalism. Based on findings from research conducted with mobile users, The Times identified specific moments throughout the day when mobile users are looking for particular types of content, whether it’s articles that update them on what they’ve missed, entertain them or help them understand or follow an event.

Loyalty360 caught up with Linda Zebian, Director, Corporate Communications, The New York Times to find out more about this unique customer engagement concept.

What factors prompted the creation of this new mobile ad solution called Mobile Moments, and what are your goals for it from a customer/reader engagement/loyalty perspective?

Through a 12-month study conducted with mobile uses by The Times’s editorial product team, we identified specific moments throughout the day when mobile users are looking for particular content, whether it’s an article to update them on what they missed or helped them plan for an upcoming event or even entertain them. Based on the success our newsroom has seen with moment-based targeting for its journalism, we’ve created a solution that provides context and utility to our readers.New York Times mobile advertising

This is the first phase of a long-term mobile native advertising solution that will continue to evolve. We know moment-based targeting works for Times journalism and we are confident that our advertisers will find Times readers engaging with their brand content as well.

In this day and age of mobile marketing, how does the New York Times believe it can impact personalization and relevancy through Mobile Moments?

Mobile Moments is designed to provide Times mobile users with useful and timely information based on specific moments throughout the day. The creative is responses and dynamic and can change throughout the day and really be tailored to the user. Since this is just a first step, Mobile Moments will surely evolve over time as user needs and technologies change.

Did customer/reader feedback play a role in this at all and, if so, in what way?

Certainly. The Times’s editorial product team conducted a year-long study of mobile users and identified specific moments of the day where they are looking for particular types of content. They then adopted those learning and developed tools and products to help improve the reader experience on mobile. For example, The Times’s Morning Briefing, a daily tip sheet that prepares readers for the day ahead, has become one of the most popular features on The Times’s mobile apps.  Similarly, The Times created one-sentence stories for Apple Watch, a collection of content that gives readers what they need to know in under a minute.

It seems like a great idea since so many people don’t have time to read the newspaper anymore that something can be created like this?

We certainly still have a very highly engaged readership in print. On Sundays, for example, we have more than 3.5 million readers so people still enjoy The Times in print. However, more and more of our audience is accessing Times journalism on their mobile devices so it’s important that we engage with them and provide the best mobile journalism experience possible. By applying similar techniques to advertising content, we boost the effectiveness of the advertising as well and provide the user with a better advertising experience that’s less disruptive and useful.

What has been the feedback so far from readers?

We have not launched Mobile Moments yet. However, our moment-based journalism has been successful with readers. Our morning briefings, a daily tip sheet that prepares readers for the day that originally launched with NYT Now, has become one of our most popular features on mobile. We adopted it to all of our mobile apps as well as into an e-newsletter.

How can this impact customer loyalty/customer engagement?

Generally speaking, mobile advertising, including banner ads and full-screen interstitials, is interruptive and undesirable. Mobile Moments is designed to be more integrated in the reader experience and more relevant to time of day. This new product presents bigger, better, and more dynamic mobile creative, provides context for the mobile creative, and tailors the mobile creative to the readers’ needs so we hope that readers find the advertising more engaging, less interruptive, and, ultimately, more useful. 

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