Omnicom CEO hails ‘outstanding’ Facebook ties as it primes Atlas push

Omnicom president and chief executive John Wren has hailed its partnership Facebook for giving it “a great deal of resources”, a statement that hints at the possibilities to come from its nascent link to the social network’s people-based measurement system Atlas.

The social network is an “outstanding partner”, Wren told analysts during the media firm’s fourth quality earnings call earlier today (10 February).

Omnicom is using Atlas to let advertisers serve targeted ads to consumers no matter the device. The advertising group signed on as the tool’s first customer when it launched last September and is in the process of selling it to advertisers across its network.

The deal is indicative of Omnicom’s efforts to navigate a market where digital is becoming a more intrinsic part of commercial strategies and advertisers are consequently under pressure to push the channels harder. In 2014, digital ad spend worldwide exceeded $13bn, a 15 per cent increase according to Wren, a rise he expects to continue over the next five years.

Through partnership deals with tech companies, Omnicom’s creative talent is working more closely with engineers from Facebook, Google, Instagram, and Twitter, among others. “2014, more than any year I can remember, was the year that we truly saw the convergence of technology, creativity, and media change the way our agencies operate,” he said.

He mentioned US DIY seller Lowe’s use of Vine as a marketing tool in its “Fix in Six” campaign, calling the campaign a fully integrated effort with agencies and tech partners doing everything from creative and targeting to media placement and analytics.

Wren also predicted that media could continue to be an outperformer in 2015. In Q4, North America’s revenue grew by 8.3 per cent driven partly by strong performance in the media sector. “Analysts, people that we employ, and channels that we select to place that media is of critical attention in this environment,” he said. “We’ve won more than our fair share over the last several years and its being reflected in the numbers now.”

The uptake is spurred by client budgets that are growing consistently with GDP growth in most markets, added Wren. However, client budget planning could be positively impacted by lower oil prices in 2015 as consumers benefit from price declines.

“Clients will anticipate and react to that as it becomes a reality, at least we’re hopeful that that’s going to be the case,” he warned.

In 2015, Wren said Omnicom will continue its focus its acquisition efforts in key markets and areas of growth that include media, data and analytics, customer relationship management (CRM), and production and healthcare.

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