The New York Times Co. announced Friday that it has acquired HelloSociety, a digital marketing agency focused on social media influencers and mobile channels, from Science Inc.
Terms of the all-cash deal, which closed on March 11, weren’t disclosed.
Founded in 2012, HelloSociety combines a social marketing tech platform with a network of influencers across a number of social media channels, including Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, YouTube and blogs.
The new acquisition will be integrated with NYTCO’s T Brand Studio, its in-house branded content outfit, in order to make it easier for NYT advertisers to conceive, create and execute influencer campaigns as part of broader branded content efforts.
HelloSociety’s influencer network model has a strong visual component, according to NYTCO executive vice-president and chief revenue officer Meredith Kopit Levien, who hinted at the company’s strategic approach to advertising in years to come: “We believe the best digital advertising will increasingly take the shape of high-quality visual programming, and we are building out T Brand Studio’s services and capabilities to deliver on that promise.”
Speaking at the SXSW Conference in Austin, TX, NYTCO president and CEO Mark Thompson noted that this is the company’s first acquisition since he took the helm over three years ago, adding that the publisher is “extremely choosy,” according to Ad Age, which first reported his remarks.
Social media influencers are looming large in the digital marketing landscape.
Last week, Time Inc. and YouTube fashion network StyleHaul, which maintains a network of influencers in the beauty and fashion category, announced a multiyear partnership to create advertising programs targeting Millennials. Walgreens is the first brand to leverage the partnership, as a complement to its existing “Whatever Makes You Feel Beautiful” campaign.
In December, Hearst joined forces with video advertising technology platform Reelio to create new, highly targeted networks of online influencers, streamlining the process for identifying social media partners and creating and distributing social media campaigns.
Under the terms of the partnership, Hearst will be able to sell custom-produced videos featuring YouTube stars as part of larger campaigns including print and digital components.