Research from The New York Times T Brand Studio and Chartbeat Shows That Branded Content Can Generate Significant Audience Engagement

In General, T Brand Studio-Produced Content Proved To Be More Engaging Than Advertiser-Supplied Branded Content

NEW YORK – Results from a New York Times T Brand Studio and Chartbeat study released today indicate that The Times’s native advertising platform, Paid Posts, can generate significant audience engagement, on par with some editorial content on and other publisher sites. The study also shows that most Paid Post content produced by T Brand Studio during the research period proved to be significantly more engaging than the content supplied by third parties.


The research was conducted Jan. 8 – Dec. 15, 2014 and included two main components:

1) Comparisons of engagement with median-performing T Brand Studio-produced content with median-performing content supplied by advertisers

2) Comparisons of engagement of all T Brand Studio content (both T Brand-produced content and content supplied by the advertiser) to the 10,000 highest traffic editorial articles on (NYT 10K), as well as to the 1,000 highest traffic articles from each of the 100 largest sites that Chartbeat measures (Chartbeat 100K).

T Brand Studio Content vs. Advertiser-Produced Content

Chartbeat compared five metrics for the research, including traffic (unique visitors), total engagement (active, engaged time on a page) and visits from Facebook, Twitter and Google (search).

In every category, Paid Posts created by T Brand Studio outperformed Paid Posts produced by the advertiser. Specifically, T Brand Studio-produced content generated 361% more unique visitors and 526% more time spent than advertiser-produced content.

On Facebook and Twitter, T Brand Studio content outperformed advertiser-produced content by 1,613% and 504%, respectively. Google visits to T Brand Studio-produced content exceeded advertiser-produced content by 632%.

T Brand Studio Content vs. Editorial Content

The research also shows that while traffic on median-performing Paid Posts does not outperform traffic on median-performing editorial content, some high-performing T Brand Studio posts received enough traffic to generate as much engagement as some editorial content on

During the study period, at least five Paid Posts placed above NYT 10K (i.e. among the top 5,000 editorial articles on and one Paid Post, “Women Inmates: Why the Male Model Doesn’t Work,” from Netflix, was among the top 1,000 traffic articles on during the same period.

When compared to the Chartbeat 100K, half of the Paid Posts produced by T Brand Studio over-indexed editorial content on these sites.

The New York Times Company

The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) is a global media organization dedicated to enhancing society by creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news and information. The company includes The New York Times, International New York Times,, and related properties. It is known globally for excellence in its journalism, and innovation in its print and digital storytelling and its business model. Follow news about the company at @NYTimesComm.


Chartbeat measures and monetizes attention on the web. It is most well known for the real-time analytics that help 80% of the top publishers in the US and ~50,000 media sites in over 60 countries around the world develop a defined loyal audience and monetize their time and attention. Chartbeat works with editorial teams to align them around the right audience development goals and give them the data they need to adapt when it matters and with advertising teams to quantify their audience’s active time and attention rather than just their clicks. Chartbeat proves the monetizable value of quality content over clickbait.