Google, WPP Team To Research Ad Effect

Google is teaming with the world's largest buyer of media, Martin Sorrell's WPP Group, to conduct new primary research to understand how advertising works on both digital and traditional media outlets. Details of the initiative, first reported in today's edition of The Wall Street Journal, is expected to be released today, and will include an investment of $4.6 million to fund three years of research including projects with such prestigious think tanks as the Harvard Business School, MIT, and Stanford University, and will leverage data from some of WPP's biggest clients, including Ford and Unilever, the paper reported.

The deal is interesting for two reasons. First it comes amid an economic downturn, when R&D capital might seem to be an especially precious premium, and indicates the long-term commitment both Google and WPP have to understanding how advertising works. Secondly, it is part of a broader trend of collaborative industry alliances designed to advance research, and apply it to make advertising even more effective in a digital world.

Other recent industry collaborations include the Nielsen Co.-funded Council for Research Excellence, which has begun releasing the findings of a massive ethnographic study conducted with Ball State University's Center for Media Research; Havas' MPG unit's so-called Collaborative Alliance, which has been trying to advance the industry's knowledge of what works, and doesn't work in interactive and advanced TV ad platforms; and "The Pool," an alliance organized by Publicis' VivaKi unit, which is working with leading online publishers such as Hulu, Microsoft and Yahoo, but not Google, to develop a superior alternative online video advertising unit to the pre-roll. Publicis and Google, however, have been operating an ongoing collaboration sharing organizational, cultural and business practices in an effort to learn more from each other.

It's all part of Google's befriending of Madison Avenue, and designed to offset the fear, and anger agency executives feel about Google's increasing encroachment on their turf, and which once led WPP's Sorrell to describe the search giant as a "frenemy."

The new WPP/Google research alliance is the first funding grant in a call Google put out for research proposals last fall, which has generated more than 120 applications to date, the Journal reported.

1 comment about "Google, WPP Team To Research Ad Effect".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Mike Begley from Donovan Data Systems, March 18, 2009 at 9:27 a.m.

    the WSJ indicated that the amount is $4.6 million; not $4.6 billion

Next story loading loading..