Volvo Runs With Time Inc. To Place Ads Next To Trending Content

Volvo Time Inc real TimeWith a tight marketing budget and a brand on the turnaround, Volvo is open to experimentation. Which is one reason why it’s a launch partner for Time Inc.’s Real Time ad product, which places the Volvo brand next to Time Inc.’s trending content on social media.

The advertising product adds Volvo’s logo to Time Inc.’s trending Facebook stories and gives the car-maker access to a part of a publisher’s audience that’s rarely monetized – its social feed. When users click through, they are routed to a page where Volvo has 100% share of voice.

Volvo, which executed the deal through its agency Mindshare, liked the idea of being next to content that resonated with consumers, versus defining what that content should be for them.

Volvo is targeting consumers who don’t want to be defined by a luxury car, but to use it as a launching pad for their own identity. “Volvo is not defining you; it’s enabling you,” said Bodil Eriksson, EVP of marketing and communications for Volvo North America. Volvo attracts a psychographic that’s thoughtful, conscious and individualistic.

“Everything about our marketing strategy now is targeted. We are a niche brand that holds .5% of market share,” Eriksson said. With a smaller budget, it must be resourceful.

For this campaign, Time Inc. further targeted the audience using Facebook’s audience data, though it also has the ability to use its first-party data or a brand’s data.

Time Inc. worked with SocialFlow, a social media optimization tool it had already employed across its properties to place the Volvo ads next to trending content.

When an article starts to trend on Facebook, Time Inc. promotes it and adds the Volvo brand logo. Because of the popularity of the articles, the reach and engagement with these posts far exceeds what a typical brand would get on its own.

The product allows Time Inc. to give brands access to its huge social audience. Across seven social platforms, it reaches 180 million people, with 40% of that audience on Facebook. It publishes 500 to 1,000 stories a day to social networks, an average of 20,000 stories a month.

Brands want access to platform audiences, so Time Inc. found a way to give them that access.

“We’re getting requests to add a social component to all the campaigns we create for advertisers,” noted Mark Ellis, SVP of corporate sales for Time Inc. In addition to Facebook, brands will be able to run campaigns against trending posts on Twitter and Instagram.

Though it’s too early to evaluate campaign performance, Volvo will pay on a CPM basis, with the goal of increasing awareness by monitoring engagement with the ad unit and clicks.


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