AP and NYT find marketers warm up to ads in iPhone news apps

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AP and NYT find marketers warm up to ads in iPhone news apps
AP and NYT find marketers warm up to ads in iPhone news apps

More companies are advertising on iPhone apps as the mini programs gain popularity. For publishers like The New York Times and the Associated Press, offering ad units within their iPhone news readers is a natural extension of digital inventory.

The New York Times offers banner ad inventory within its iPhone app, as well as a recently introduced interstitial ad option.

"It is a full-screen ad that takes advantage of the uniqueness of the iPhone," said Robert Z. Samuels, director of mobile products at The New York Times. "When served, it allows the user to touch, tilt or shake the phone to interact with the ad."

Visa is currently running a rich media interstitial ad in The New York Times' iPhone app that employs a tilting action enabling users to interact with the ad. The ad, which appears when a user moves from one place in the app to another, is an animation that puts the user in the driver's seat on a ride down a virtual highway. The user sees various billboards along the highway, including one for 1-800-Flowers.com, a Visa partner.

Polo Ralph Lauren also launched interstitial ads last week with the Times. These ads, which promote the upcoming US Open tennis tournament, feature a model in tennis-inspired Polo apparel. They link back to Polo's mobile commerce site through a button that reads, "Shop now."

The New York Times' iPhone app has both demographic and reach appeal for advertisers. It has been downloaded about 2 million times since it came out last year, and recorded about 1 million unique visits in July 2009. Its users tend to be affluent and tech-savvy.

"The iPhone is really a nice demographic because it is very quantifiable in terms of which readers you are reaching," said Samuels. "It is a known demographic based on the device that they have purchased and the data plan that they have."

The Associated Press is also taking advantage of its iPhone app to extend inventory to advertisers. Since the app launched, it has reported 1 million downloads. The news publisher offers standard mobile banners, as well as banners that can expand into full page takeovers.

Computer maker Dell has run two different mobile banners within the app. One promoted a back-to-school campaign, and the other supported Dell's Mobile Deals club. These are the third and fourth campaigns that Dell has run on the application.

"Advertisers come back when it works, so this is encouraging," said Daniel Hodges, head of global sales, mobile and emerging products at the Associated Press.

Brands can also buy space on the AP's iPhone inventory based on relevant topics. For example, a marketer can purchase media to run alongside sports articles or entertainment articles, but not business or politics.

"The great thing about the AP is that we've got the ability to reach different demographic groups based on the diversity of the content that we've got," added Hodges.

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