The New York Times reported record subscription rates for the first quarter with more than 4.5 million subscribers. Of that number, 3.5 million are digital subscriptions.
However, what caught my eye was how NYT is selling contextual targeting. According to AdWeek, NYT “predicts how its stories make a reader feel, using machine learning and insight garnered from asking readers.”
As more and more advertisers are asking for “brand-safe” environments, this really fits the need. If you are marketing a fundraising campaign, you may want to be around stories that make you feel “hopeful or inspired.”
The 18 emotions include: optimistic, inspired, self-confident, interested, fear, happiness, nostalgic, informed, adventurous, in the mood to spend and many more. NYT actually tracks 30 emotional scores, but offers only 18 to marketers.
According to AdWeek, when USA Today launched its program, they assumed readers would skew more toward uplifting or positive news. They found readers don’t discriminate that way. They read everything, but their state of mind changes from reading different stories.
The Times puts out 2,000 stories a day. So finding the right story is not hard. What is hard is finding the right environmental context in a local newscast with only a few stories in the news hole.
Thinking about contextual environment is important. Do you really want a positive billboard where there is always a traffic jam and people are upset? It depends on the emotion you need for your message.