NYT’s Advertising & Marketing Solutions Group Introduces ‘nytDEMO’

by | Feb 20, 2018

The New York Times’s Advertising & Marketing Solutions Group announced the launch of nytDEMO, a cross-functional team that builds data and technology solutions for brands using the same tools and insights that power The Times.

nytDEMO—which stands for data, engineering, measurement, and optimization—is a collaboration among members of The Times’s data, product & design, technology, and advertising groups.

“We see insights as the next frontier for The Times advertising business. We have to make a product that’s worth paying for, which means we have to know our audience with extraordinary depth, and turn those insights into engaging products. Brands that work with us crave insights to guide their strategies, and The Times can play a critical role helping them understand what audiences care about now, and will care about next.” said Allison Murphy, vice president, Advertising Innovation, The New York Times. “We’ve created nytDEMO, a first of its kind team, to transform our vast audience understanding into ad products and tools, inviting brands to tap into our knowledge to drive results.”

New Data Products
The Advertising & Marketing Solutions Group plans to launch a number of new products and tools out of nytDEMO this year, starting with Project Feels, a data science exploration where the intent is to understand and predict how emotions and engagement connect.

Project Feels started with the question: does reader emotional response to our articles influence engagement? A team of data scientists crowdsourced hundreds of thousands of data points by presenting Times articles to a wide set of readers to document their emotional responses, using active learning to identify the most informative articles to present. The data science team then identified the most meaningful associations between content, keywords, and emotion using deep learning. The result was an artificial intelligence model that predicts emotional response to any content The Times publishes.

Based on the machine learning powering Project Feels, nytDEMO has launched perspective targeting as a new ad product. Perspective targeting allows advertisers to target their media against content predicted to evoke reader sentiments like self-confidence or adventurousness.

nytDEMO will also soon launch Readerscope, an AI-driven data insights tool that summarizes what The Times audience is reading using anonymized data to visualize who is interested in which topics and where they are.

Readerscope can be used as a content strategy tool to develop creative ideas for branded content or campaigns by searching a brand’s target audience segment (e.g., millennial women) to understand what they’re reading, either as topics or as representative articles exemplifying those topics. It can also help brands find the right audience or geography for a certain message by searching a topic (e.g., human rights, philanthropy or travel) and seeing which audience segments over-index for interest about that subject. Topics are algorithmically learned from The New York Times article archive using state of the art natural language processing, and all of the reader segments are targetable with media on NYTimes.com.

“These data products grew out of our internal innovations using machine learning to understand our readers better,” said Chris Wiggins, chief data scientist, The New York Times. “Project Feels and Readerscope are just two of the data-empowered algorithmic tools we’ve developed, first as tested prototypes and then, with the help of the cross-functional team at nytDEMO, as data products that can help The Times’s advertisers.”

Readerscope will also soon be able to take in brands’ own first-party data to create custom segments of these same insights for a brand’s specific audience or customer set.

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