BuzzFeed strikes GroupM data-led deal to scale native ads

WPP’s GroupM is doubling down on its data-led strategy to help clients engage with audiences, via a newly unveiled deal with BuzzFeed, that will allow the media owner, popular with the hard-to-reach millennial audience, to produce branded video content for the media agency’s clients.

BuzzFeed, a website that has over 200 million unique visitors, will create the content for WPP clients using its dedicated creative group BuzzFeed Motion Picture, plus the media agency’s creative teams will also be able to access BuzzFeed’s expertise to produce social content for all platforms.

The deal will also include preferential media-pricing for GroupM’s clients, and will also see the pair use BuzzFeed’s proprietary data technology POUND to glean insights on its audience for more strategically served ads to the website’s audience with more relevant ads.

Rob Norman, chief digital officer of GroupM, said: “The future of advertising lies at the intersection of creativity, data, media and technology; that’s where BuzzFeed has built its business and proved its value to brands.”

Meanwhile, Buzzfeed's head of European operations Kate Burns said: "Partnerships are growing more and more important as we continue to grow globally. In the UK and Europe, specifically, our business is predominantly agency-driven, so this is one of many deals you'll see from us as we continue bringing scalable native advertising across Europe and around the world.

"Data is so important to marketers, and we're looking forward to working with GroupM on our POUND offering. You can expect to see us bring it to additional partners - existing and new - as we continue rolling it out."

Greg Coleman, BuzzFeed's president, added: “Our Motion Pictures studio is booming and now reaches 1.5 billion video views a month – from shorter than short form on Snapchat, to original scripted series. We’re excited to take our unique approach and voice in branded content, data and iterative learning in a big way with GroupM and their clients.”

The deal builds upon an earlier GroupM initiative revealed last month that saw the WPP outfit agree terms with marketing services provider Networked Insights to improve efficiencies in how its staff plan and implement client campaigns.

The move means GroupM employees from media agencies such as Mindshare, or MediaCom can employ insights gleaned from audiences’ posts on social media in order to better plan, or implement their clients’ campaigns, as Networked Insight’s Kairos platform gives them access to such trends in real-time.

GroupM, which houses a number of WPP’s media planning agencies including MediaCom, MEC Interaction, Maxus, is estimated to spend almost $100bn each year on advertising space, with its ad tech hub Xaxis (which matches media buyers with their desired audiences using programmatic media-buying technology and audience data) often cited as one its main drivers of growth.

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