How The New York Times mines data to pick articles to promote on Facebook and Twitter
The New York Times has developed a new tech tool to determine which articles it promotes on Facebook and Twitter — without using those platforms’ tracking pixels.
The tool, called TAFI (Twitter and Facebook Interface), measures which articles draw the most social engagement with specific audiences, then adjusts spending to promote the high performers while weeding out the articles not attracting interest.
“In our test, it’s shown to basically perform at half the [cost per order] of a manual campaign,” said Colin Russel, senior data scientist at the Times who created the tool.
The Times no longer uses Facebook and Twitter pixels on most of its pages. Chris Wiggins, the Times’ chief data scientist, said that instead of using a reader’s browser history to gain more insight into the types of content they tend to read, TAFI looks at how an article has been performing organically on social and factors that into the data the Times has on readers’ interests.
For the past decade, tracking pixels on social media platforms was believed to be the only way for a marketer to achieve an effective and intelligent marketing campaign.
“We’ve been able to show that we can use our data without that sort of exposure of reader history via a tracking pixel,” said Wiggins.
Russel said that tracking pixels have been removed from all articles and browsing pages, though certain pages on the site still have them. Russel declined to share which ones.
“TAFI efficiently spends money on Facebook and Twitter, so they’re certainly benefiting because it allows us to achieve a very low CPO, which encourages us to use those platforms more,” said Russel. “We can get more bang for our buck.”
And because of the improvements in efficiency of tracking how well a campaign is performing, it also changes the calculations on how much money should go to these platforms overall, because the marketing team knows it’s not wasting money.
Russel said that the idea for the tool came around two years ago and was first launched to run international campaigns a year and a half ago. Then, a year ago, the Times pulled out of their third-party subscription marketing partnerships.
The goal for the near future is to use the homegrown tool on other platforms, such as Snapchat and Reddit, along with paid search and paid display advertising.
‘Necessity drives innovation’: Despite the economic downturn, upstart agencies are finding their way to launch
Agencies are launching despite— and as a result of — the pandemic as new creative opportunities arise from the disrupted marketing landscape.
‘Fewer, bigger, better’: RFP close rates rise for publishers as buyers look to keep things simple
Some publishers are now closing close to half the RFPs they send out. The trick is getting onto the shortening lists receiving the RFP.
Inside the Atlantic’s triumphant and tumultuous run during the coronavirus pandemic
The Trump 'losers' and 'suckers' scoop provided a boost not only to The Atlantic’s renewed sense of importance, but to its bottom line.
SponsoredFor brand marketers, watch parties are where connections and entertainment meet
Jen Prince, managing director, media and entertainment, Twitter Bridget Harvey, head of media and entertainment strategy, Twitter Next Whether it’s finding new shows, rewatching old favorites or tuning into a history-making world premiere, watching movies and TV at home brings people together during times of isolation. And while audiences are looking to be entertained, they’re also […]
Member Exclusive‘Stricter than the ad tech industry expected’: Apple clarifies its upcoming privacy changes will leave little wriggle room
A recently published FAQ section on Apple's developer site offers more clarification on how its forthcoming app privacy changes will be applied.
‘Retention has been one of our best stories of the year’: Bob Cohn on steering The Economist through crisis
The Economist has recently switched tactics from being 'an acquisition machine' to honing its subscriber retention tactics — a move its recently appointed president says is paying off.