New York Times Launches Facebook App

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Drinking the Kool-Aid: Michael St. Hilaire, Fliva

The New York Times is continuing to show their intention to keep pace with the Web 2.0 revolution with the recent launch of their News Quiz Facebook application. It’s great to see such a move from one of the world’s oldest and most respected traditional publications.

Whilst some may think that this move is very bold and progressive on the part of the NYTimes, I am not that surprised at all. Web 2.0 strategy is not all new to the old paper. They have already launched features to their online readers such as Mytimes and have been mildly successful in the space, of course, no way near to the scale of other, niche players.

So, given the NYTimes has some reasonable experience in the 2.0 arena one would expect that their first go at a Facebook app would produce something better than average. I’m pleased to say that, in my opinion, they have definitely delivered.

Their new Facebook app is impressive on a number of levels. Firstly, it’s simple. We all wonder why the most wildly successful ‘foundational’ Facebook apps seem so bland in terms of their objectives (compare people, top friends etc…). My belief is that their success stems from their simplicity. With this in mind, I think New York time’s have done well in going for a simple 5 question quiz that is presented to subscribers each business day (Mon-Fri).

The quiz is made up of questions that relate to top current news stories that are deemed important by the New York Times editorial staff. Your ongoing score is calculated and you receive your ‘times IQ’. As to be expected now on Facebook, you can easily compare your ‘IQ’ with each friend in your network who also has the application installed.

There are also a number of features that the app has which are very smart from a marketing strategy perspective. Unlike may Facebook apps, the news quiz app actively seeks persistent daily user interaction. By playing to their strength of new high quality content, the NY times are able to engage the user easily.

Each time the user takes the 5 question test, they are presented with an opportunity to discover more relevant news on the main NY Times site. The user is provided with additional motivation to surf the main external site by being baited to study fr the next days test. Brilliant!

In my mind, there aren’t many Facebook apps that have been successful in generating significant targeted traffic to their main website from a Facebook app. I think that we may have found a break in this trend.

Being a well balanced app from a user perspective, it’s providing the New York Times with presence on the fastest growing social network while maximising potential to drive traffic to the main website of the publication.

Apart from this one, do any Rev2 readers have first hand experience with any Facebook app that has successfully driven high volume targeted traffic to an external site?


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