The New York Times embraces ‘organic’ ad strategy

This week The New York Times reveals its first web redesign in five years, reports Digiday. Along with the new look, the paper is rethinking its ad strategy, embracing the current trend toward weaving ads more closely with editorial content.

For all the focus on native advertising, the bigger long-term trend is rethinking web advertising to take it from its historic placement on the periphery of pages. At the Times, this means thinking about ‘organic’ placements within content. For example, one new ad unit the Times is rolling out will appear within the strip of thumbnails and headlines of recent stories that appears at the top of article pages. Another display ad, which the Times is calling a ‘nested’ ad, appears in the middle of longer articles, expanding as the reader scrolls down and subsequently contracting. New multimedia ‘Snowfall’-style articles will come with advertising embedded beyond standard ad placements on the periphery.

“We are going for organic to the experience of the site versus disruptive,” said Meredith Levien, evp of advertising at the Times.

The ‘organic’ approach resembles the way ads are presented on social platforms. Facebook weaves ads within its news feed, much as Twitter does with promoted tweets that appear in its stream. Older content sites have mostly relied on advertising that’s off to the side. At a time when every marketer fancies itself a publisher, advertising units are becoming more entwined with non-advertising content, like it or not. The current vogue for native advertising is a reflection of the need for publishers to rethink how they present ads, like it or not.

Even the Times’ much-discussed foray into content-based advertising — it is calling these placements ‘paid posts’ — will be promoted within editorial content rather than occupy a spot on the homepage within editorial content.

Read the rest of this article at Digiday.

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