Sorrell: WPP Will Double Spending on Facebook in 2012

WPP is looking to increase its spending on Facebook advertising from around $200 million in 2011 to around $400 million in 2012, according to WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell, who made the forecast during a dual interview with Microsoft partner architect Jaron Lanier at the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ “Transformation” conference in Los Angeles Tuesday morning. But Sorrell added that the question of measurement is becoming more and more pressing for social media.

Sorrell contrasted the 2012 forecast for Facebook ad spending to WPP’s predicted spending on Google, at around $2 billion, and News Corp., at around $2.5 billion. The figure reflects the growing interest in social media in general and Facebook in particular -- and Sorrell paid tribute to the huge power of social media, including “the change in the balance of power to the consumers, to the people,” among an array of other “political, social and economic benefits.”

But the WPP boss also pointed to the limitations holding back social media spending. “The clients are starting to question the measurement issue,” Sorrell warned, adding:  “The area is a very sexy area, and clients have gone in almost willy-nilly, because it is fashionable to do so. The investments have reached a scale where procurement departments, finance departments are increasingly looking at those investments.”

Here Sorrell touched on the continuing debate over measuring ROI, which he said will be key to coordinating social media with other media, both traditional and digital: “There has to be someone who interprets and analyzes the balance between these channels… [and] it has to be an integrated whole.”

Towards that end, Sorrell also staked out a strong position on where responsibility for analytics should lie, at least in his own businesses: “We don’t want to stand on the shoulders of [tech providers]… The application of technology and data analytics are a core part of our strategy… [and] we want to stand on our own two feet.”

2 comments about "Sorrell: WPP Will Double Spending on Facebook in 2012".
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  1. Eric Smith from Mediassociates, March 27, 2012 at 3:24 p.m.

    Sorrell is correct in his view of analytics. Facebook and other social media opportunities have gotten a free ride over the last few years, providing very little in the way of real metrics. Today, more and more clients are questioning its true ROI value. Agency analysts will play a critical role in the future of social media advertising, and it behooves Social Media vendors/partners to open the data floodgates and allow digital analysts to start digging into what is really driving ROI. It will take more than a few "likes" to get that done.

  2. donnaperstoli perstoli from see-hear-act media, March 28, 2012 at 8:51 a.m.

    Last year Sorrel said he couldn't see how Facebook was going to be "monetized".


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