5 things Martin Sorrell believes about digital

At the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona last week, Sir Martin Sorrell, founder and CEO of WPP, sat down with Beet.TV to answer one question: what impact has performance marketing had on the industry?

Here’s what we learned from his four minutes in front of the camera. Watch the video below and get the full story.

Digital is almost 40% of WPP’s revenues

Ten years ago, WPP saw zero revenue from digital. This isn’t a surprise: Facebook was in its infancy and ad servers were the realm of Silicon Valley, not Madison Avenue. The growth, however, is impressive, especially for a global holding company. WPP also recently released its new business numbers, beating out its competitors Omnicom and Publicis to rake in $7.9 billion in new business.

Advanced technology partnerships are how agencies are getting ahead

It isn’t enough to simply partner with a technology platform. Agencies that succeed on mobile build their own stacks. Sir Martin mentions Xaxis, the global agency trading desk that it launched with GroupM in 2011, as a key driver in WPP’s success over its competitors. He also mentions AppNexus, the trading desk in which WPP invested $25 billion in 2014 and Light Reaction, RenTrak and comScore.

Multiple walled gardens are better than one

iOS and Android will continue to fight it out for consumer preference, and Sir Martin says that having this choice is “valuable” from an agency standpoint.

Data will be judged by the three Vs: value, validation and viewability

Keith Weed, CMO of Unilever and WPP’s largest client, has said data should be judged by the above criteria. “Viewability on Google and Facebook is critically important,” says Sorrell.

Agencies will have to lead the charge with ensuring data quality for their clients

Calling Facebook and Google an agency’s “frenemies,” Sir Martin says that agencies will have to ensure that the data they deliver to clients is valuable. This puts the onus squarely on agencies to be client advocates, not mere purveyors of ads. In turn, this will require agencies to become smarter about data.


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