“Power of search” keeps Google #1 with WPP; Facebook poised for #2; Snapchat gaining

Search and YouTube help Google dominate as WPP’s largest media supplier.

Copyright by World Economic Forum/Photo by Michael Wuertenberg

Copyright by World Economic Forum/Photo by Michael Wuertenberg

What keeps Google at the top of WPP’s media supplier list? “The power of search is phenomenal,” WPP chief executive Martin Sorrell said this week at the UBS Media and Communications Conference, referring to Google, the The Wall Street Journal first reported. The holding company will spend about $5 billion with Google this year, up from $4 billion last year.

Google has also turned YouTube into a significant asset. “Google search and YouTube video continue to be very powerful mediums, particularly in high-penetration TV markets,” Sorrell said on WPP’s third-quarter earnings call at the end of October.

Sorrell said Facebook was likely to rise from WPP’s third-largest media supplier to the second-largest in 2017 and that WPP now spends about $70 million with Snapchat.

WPP will spend $1.75 billion with Facebook this year, up from about $1 billion in 2015. Facebook is poised to bump Murdoch-controlled companies — including News Corp and Twenty-First Century Fox, with which it is spending about $2.2 billion this year — out of the number two spot.

WPP has been pressuring Facebook to bring in more third-party measurement, including comScore, in which it owns a stake, for some time. “Facebook puts great emphasis on outcomes and ROI. The data has to be independent data that justifies the position,” Sorrell said on that third-quarter earnings call. Facebook’s latest admission that more reporting stats have been wrong gives added credence to that sentiment.

Snapchat, of course, has its own data transparency issues, but its reach with millennials makes it uniquely attractive to advertisers. WPP’s $70 million in ad spend marks a significant chunk of the $366 million eMarketer estimates Snapchat will bring in from ad sales this year.


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