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New York Times exec forecasts the demise of static banners: ad:tech session

SAN FRANCISCO - A New York Times executive at ad:tech said that mobile provides the company with new advertising opportunities that not only change the way brands look at developing creative, but will also bring on the demise of the static banner. 

The company is no stranger to mobile and has developed applications across various platforms such as the mobile Web, Apple?s iPhone and Google?s Android. During the ?Mobile Marketing: Big Changes Brought on by Little Apps? session, the executive discussed the company?s mobile strategy and how it is using the medium to engage readers, while also providing advertisers with a platform to target consumers with relevant messaging.

?The new ad capabilities in mobile are the death of the static banner,? said Tiiu McGuire, product marketing manager at, New York.

?I always point to a statistic that says that within five years, users will likely connect to the Internet via mobile devices more than desktop PCs,? she said. ?It?s true.?

Mobile portfolio
The New York Times has an ad-supported mobile Web site, as well as applications for Apple?s iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, Google?s Android, Research In Motion?s BlackBerry and HP?s Palm Pre.

The publication?s platforms provide big opportunities for brands.

Last year, Ralph Lauren ran banner ads promoting its first-ever shoppable storybook in the New York Times Editors? Choice iPad application.

The interactive ad let users watch a video, as well as shop the brand?s new collection (see story).

Ms. McGuire said that mobile platforms such as the iPhone and iPad provide great ad capabilities to its advertisers.

For example, Apple?s devices include an accelerometer that lets readers tilt to activate the ad.

Other capabilities include tapping to view videos and swiping or tapping to activate the ad.

Additionally, advertisers can include slideshows in their ad to further engage with consumers and they can post links that redirect consumers to each advertiser's Facebook page.

?We find that iPad owners are more receptive and responsive to ads,? Ms. McGuire said. ?We?re also seeing this evolution of metrics and click through rates such as the amount of tilt shakes, taps, wipes, scrolls and the time spent on the ad.

?I?m very excited to see this continue,? she said.

Ms. McGuire also said that mobile commerce and near field communications will be the most profound trend that marketers and consumers are going to see in the next few years.

?We?re definitely going to see it as a game changer,? Ms. McGuire said.

In addition, the executive said that marketers and advertisers should not forget about the mobile browser.

While consumers are using applications and they are popular, feature phones still dominate the mobile channel and both feature and smartphone owners still access the browser when they use their mobile device.

A challenge for The New York Times is platform fragmentation.

With so many mobile devices out there, especially the rise of tablets, the publication finds it difficult to figure out the best way to produce its content across all platforms in a way that will satisfy readers and bring a uniformed experience for them.

?There?s definitely a challenge with the fragmented tablet market,? Ms. McGuire said. ?We are challenged to figure out how to distribute content across all tablets.

?We?re betting on HTML5,? she said. ?Hopefully, we?ll get apps that will scale better on all devices.?