NBC News Turns Big Flipboard Presence Into Ad Sales

GE promos launch on the mobile app

Headshot of Christopher Heine

About a year ago, NBC News established an account on Flipboard—the increasingly popular magazine-formatted, social mobile app—and has since grown its presence to a whopping 1.3 million monthly active readers. Starting today, the news org will be running its first third-party ads, purchased by old friend, General Electric and it's agency OMD. NBC News says it is currently talking to other brands about buying in.

"We have a lot of readers consuming our content on that platform," Peter Naylor, evp of digital sales for NBCUniversal, told Adweek. "When we looked at our monthly Flipboard users, we realized we had a pretty big opportunity. This is something we are going to study and see how readers go through it."

Flipboard lets users aggregate Web and social media content, presenting the items in a magazine-like display on smartphones and tablets. With a swipe of a finger, users literally flip through content from the likes of NBC News and countless other publishing entities.

Through September, GE will be running full-page interstitial ads within NBC News' Flipboard pages, which includes 25 new articles a day from NBCNews.com, Today.com and CNBC.com. When viewers click through GE's ads, they are driven to the multinational conglomerate's so-called magazine on the app—specifically to a section dedicated to innovation. These ads will effectively highlight the newest content from the GE magazine, using feeds from the brand's blogs, such as Txchnologist.

The effort is part of a larger buy with NBC News that entails advertising in the news org's branded mobile apps and Web properties.

"It's not just a one-off campaign," Naylor added, when asked about the four-and-a-half-month partnership. "It's a nice commitment. OMD was at the center of bringing the campaign to life and acted as a catalyst to organize NBC and Flipboard to activate the campaign for GE."

Additionally, Naylor's team, General Electric, OMD and Palo Alto, Calif.-based Flipboard have created a GE-branded destination, dubbed "Minds and Machines," on the app that combines text and video items from NBC News, as well as a mix of original and aggregated content from the brand. All in all, the pieces will focus on business, technology and health verticals. 

Brand-related activity on the two-year-old mobile app is definitely growing. And there's good reason for marketers' interest, as it has exploded to 53 million users—including 3 million new ones in the last few weeks.

As another example, last fall, Levi's partnered with the tech firm to create magazine-styled ads via the Flipboard feeds of Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Details, Elle, Esquire, ESPN, Marie Claire, Glamour and Fast Company. If the mobile app continues to attract consumers at its current pace, expect a flurry of brands to get their flip on. 

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.
Publish date: April 15, 2013 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/nbc-news-turns-big-flipboard-presence-ad-sales-148576/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT