The Times uses the data/marketing tool Keywee, which uses language analysis to identify keywords in articles that can be mapped to potential subscribers, then targeting those users via Facebook.
For example, the photo essay “Forty Portraits in Forty Years” was originally published in October. A couple of months later, the Times gave it another push. Simple interest targeting would have pushed it out to people interested in terms like “photojournalism” and “women.” Keywee suggested other terms that had a tangential connection to the article, like women empowering women, the movie “Boyhood,” the Museum of Modern Art, things, said Mat Yurow, the Times’s director of audience development. “I never in a million years would have thought of.”
Months later, the story was surging again as people saw it in their Facebook feeds and re-shared it. “That was a huge performer for us — there was this really great downstream impact,” he said.