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‘New York Times’ links with LinkedIn to enhance user experience, improve ad targeting

By Published on .

The New York Times has partnered with online professional network LinkedIn in a strategy designed to enhance and lengthen viewer experiences on the Times’ Web site and to better target online advertisements.

Those who access business and technology stories on NYTimes.com now see a button in the upper right-hand corner inviting them to view related articles. Clicking on the button enables LinkedIn members to activate a cookie identifying them and their specific interests (or to sign up with LinkedIn if they’re not already a member).

Once they’ve clicked through, the page refreshes to reveal related Times headlines they may be interested in based on their LinkedIn professional and industry profiles.

“We believe that providing targeted headlines to users will engage them more in our content and give them a more relevant experience,” said Denise Warren, senior VP-chief advertising officer of New York Times Media Group.

“And helping page views go up will increase monetization,” she said, noting that advertisers are willing to pay more for placement on pages with high readership.

After activating the LinkedIn option, returning visitors will automatically be presented with related story headlines. For example, LinkedIn members who work in the energy sector will have the option to get other Times stories on the energy industry.

Ad targeting has also been improved, Warren said. Currently, registered visitors to NYTimes.com are presented with ads based on their industry, job function, seniority, company size, gender and geography. These categories are extended and refined, as viewers self-identify themselves via their LinkedIn profiles.

“That is a premium advertisers would be willing to pay for, targeting readers interested in 100% of their message with no waste,” Warren said.

Neither LinkedIn nor the Times would discuss details of the financial arrangement of the new partnership.

“This is more of a strategic relationship than a financial one,” said Steve Patrizi, director-advertising sales for LinkedIn. He said the payoff to LinkedIn is in greater visibility, opening up registration opportunities and providing more services to its members. For example, LinkedIn members can send Times articles to other members by using the “share” tool on the article pages.

LinkedIn also has relationships with CIO and BusinessWeek, whereby members can click on a “company insider” option to view who in their LinkedIn networks work for companies mentioned in articles in those publications.

“It’s a different treatment, but the spirit is very similar,” Patrizi said. “It’s about the visitor getting more out of these properties.”

Both the Times and LinkedIn bring big numbers to their new partnership. NYTimes.com attracts more than 17 million unique visitors per month, while LinkedIn has 25 million registered users.

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