New York Times new native mobile formats based on mobile moments

by: Lucinda Southern on 07 August 2015

The NYT is over-hauling its mobile ads, swapping banners and interstitials for more native formats

The New York Times has announced new mobile ad formats with the aim to serve more native, less disruptive, mobile ads.

Mobile ads are still a disappointing experience for users, largely because they don’t consider the key difference between smartphones and desktop – mobility.

There’s been a fair amount of drum-banging from major technology companies like Google and Facebook about designing around people’s mobile micro-moments that matter, in other words thinking about context beyond signifiers like location or time of day.

The New York Times has released its own research study which has identified seven different moments or parts of a reader’s day, some of these include “Prepare me for the day,” “Make me feel connected,” and “Help me plan”. It’s these different day-parts that advertisers can buy units against depending on who they’re targeting.

"This is, in our eyes, actually native advertising,” Sebastian Tomich, The New York Times senior VP of advertising and innovation, tells Ad Age. “It doesn't have to be long-form branded content or sponsored stories. We're essentially here just sharing the same tools our newsroom uses to promote their content in an ad unit."

In the same article NYT Chief Revenue Officer Meredith Levien, explains the publisher is doing away with banner ads and mobile initials and is planning to fully retire these units by this autumn in time for the arrival of these native units in September. 

Readers accessing NYT’s morning briefing, a text heavy round up of the day ahead’s top news and events, will see similar text-based ad with relative content, decided on by editorial and advertising teams. In the evening NYT features and ads will hold more image and video-led content for entertainment.

At launch the NYT is only allowing advertisers to buys ads against just one of the seven mobile day-parts.

These new ad units will only take up 75% of the screen vertically so people can still see the article above and below the ad, in a bid to make the unit feel less intrusive.

City AM reported this morning that the NYT recorded a 78.5% rise in profit in the second quarter thanks to cost-cutting measures and an increase in digital advertising revenue. Its digital ad revenue has risen 14.2% to $48.3m (£31.1m) during this period.

Its efforts are paying off. In terms of circulation the company is reporting a 13.8% rise in revenue from digital-only subscriptions, and this week has reached one million paid digital-only subscribers.