Report by Mark Read (below) Chief executive officer
WPP Digital enjoyed excellent growth in 2011. We launched Possible Worldwide and Xaxis (in partnership with GroupM and 24/7 Media), continued to invest in proprietary technologies and made several acquisitions of strong companies, particularly in fast-growing markets. We start 2012 with an even stronger footprint in the geographies and sectors which will drive further growth.
We strengthened our digital agency network with the launch of Possible Worldwide, an interactive marketing agency, and with the acquisitions of Rockfish in the US and F.biz in Brazil. Our minority investment in Vice Media, a leading global youth media brand, reflects the growing importance of branded content to win online audiences.
We also continued to invest in technology and analytics to harness the exponential growth of data. We launched Xaxis, a global audience buying company which combines the demand-side data and technology of 24/7 Media with the client relationships and trading leverage of GroupM. We established The Data Alliance, a partnership between WPP companies to connect diverse data to provide powerful, analytics-driven solutions for our clients. Finally, we made a strategic investment in nPario, a proprietary technology company which analyses ‘big data’ for marketing and monetization.
WPP Digital’s companies summarise their performance and activities below.
Report by David Moore (below) Chairman and chief executive officer
24/7 Media remains at the centre of WPP’s dual strategy of investing in building proprietary technologies and partnering with industry leaders to develop an integrated technology platform which allows our clients to reach their customers more effectively.
2011 saw continued success for 24/7 Media, which now operates in 12 countries through 18 offices, and in partnership with other WPP agencies. Open AdStream – our market-leading ad management platform – continued to grow, delivering 1.2 trillion ads across thousands of websites in 2011. And our Global Web Alliance maintained its strong position, finishing the year ranked seventh largest advertising network by reach in the US, according to ComScore Media Metrix. In December 2011 we acquired Panache, a Los Angeles-based digital video advertising technology company. Adding video capabilities to the Open AdStream platform has created new and expanded revenue opportunities for our clients at a time when online video consumption is experiencing enormous growth.
2011 was also a transitional year for 24/7’s Media Innovation Group (MIG). The team helped successfully launch Xaxis in partnership with GroupM. MIG continues to grow fast, serving advertisers and agencies with one of the most complete multi-channel digital advertising solutions currently in the market.
Report by Shane Atchison (below) Chief executive officer
Possible Worldwide was formed in 2011 with 23 offices on five continents. We are building on the strengths of our local offices to create a global digital offering for our clients, who include Procter & Gamble, Dell, Conagra, Abbott and Mazda.
Possible Worldwide gained recognition almost immediately after our founding for our work on The Art Project powered by Google, a detailed and intimate look at famous artwork from 17 museums around the world. We created a beautiful and intuitive site experience that leveraged a host of Google technologies, from Street View (allowing users to navigate the interior of a museum), YouTube (for in-context educational videos), and Google Scholar. The project received worldwide press and acclaim, including a Cannes Gold Lion.
Another highlight of 2011 was our acquisition of Grïngo, one of Brazil’s most creative digital agencies. The 70-person São Paulo office serves clients such as Coca-Cola, Absolut Vodka, Microsoft and Itaú Unibanco. It also boasts one of the Southern Hemisphere’s most enviable award-winning track records, having garnered 24 FWA awards, 15 Wave Awards, three Cannes Lions awards and more over the past three years. The acquisition augmented our strategic position in emerging markets such as China and India, with the ability to execute large-scale, interactive initiatives in the fast-growing Brazilian market.
In March 2012, Possible Worldwide merged with digital agency ZAAZ, to bring its global footprint to 1,200+ employees, adding locations in Seattle, Portland, Chicago and Helsinki. ZAAZ brings world-class creative to Possible Worldwide, as well as a distinct performance marketing capability. This includes expertise in digital analytics, search, search engine optimization, behavioral targeting, and local marketing strategies. These capabilities will enhance Possible Worldwide’s ability to deliver the highest quality ideas and digital experiences, with more measurable results.
In 2012, we will focus on creating an agency that is truly collaborative. Possible Worldwide will continue to draw from its strengths, as we leverage each office’s local capabilities, and develop them across Possible’s growing global footprint.
Report by Thomas Gensemer Managing partner
In our first full year as part of WPP Digital, Blue State Digital saw very strong organic growth within the agency’s portfolio of non-profit, cultural and political clients – from United Way Worldwide, Oxfam UK, Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Tate, and from the re-election campaign of US President Barack Obama to the transition into office for Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff.
With nearly 150 employees based in six offices – New York, Washington DC, Boston, Los Angeles, Detroit and London – Blue State Digital builds and manages communities of online advocates, donors and influencers for brands, causes and political interests. Our strategic campaign services are deployed in conjunction with our proprietary tools for email marketing, social media management, fundraising and peer-to-peer advocacy. This unique combination of skills and capabilities attracted a strong list of new clients including Cadbury, Ford, the Greenbay Packers, Procter & Gamble, Royal Bank of Scotland and Recyclebank.
Report by Gal Barradas Chief executive officer
Created 12 years ago, F.biz is recognized as one of the most influential Brazilian agencies of the digital age. With a brand-oriented approach, our mission is to help brands to develop a strong and lasting relationship with their clients, combining strategic planning, creativity and technology in order to generate results for the client’s business.
2011 was a great year for F.biz. In addition to joining WPP Digital in June, we won new business from Heineken and Shiseido, and we were delighted to win awards including Festival of Media LATAM, Mobile Merit Awards, MMA Mobile Marketing Awards, Premio de Midia Estadão and Festival of Media in Valencia. F.biz was also named a Great Place to Work as one of the best agencies for the second year running by the Great Place to Work Institute.
Report by Neil Miller and Chris Perry Joint chief executive officers
Fabric Worldwide is WPP’s client-side platform: a technology built to simplify the way our clients control, use and act on their data. This technology is based around a marketing operating system which allows consumer data – and ways of working with this data – to be consistent across channels and across different parts of the organisation.
The last 12 months have seen the global roll-out of this technology to over 100 brands in some of the largest multinationals. Built for marketers by marketers, it helps our clients understand what they need to know about their consumers, and build analytic models, new ways of working, predictive algorithms or targeting methods on top of the wealth of new data that digital marketing unleashes.
Report by Kenny Tomlin Founder and chief executive officer
2011 has truly been a banner year at Rockfish, with explosive growth across the company. We opened two new offices to accommodate an almost doubling of our people – one in Cincinnati and a new headquarters building in Rogers, Arkansas. We also invested in developing new capabilities, including a digital analytics team and a content strategy team. We launched a new Rockfish Labs company, CouponFactory.com, which has been highly successful from the start. Brand Ventures also premiered in April as a new model of agency as an investor, with three targeted investments made to date.
We were honoured to have been named as the Best Web Design and Development Agency of the Year by OMMA magazine, and were also named once again in the Inc. 500/5000. In 2011 we had 19 new client wins, including restaurant chains like P.F. Changs, one of the most celebrated coffee brands, BUNN, and the world’s leading sports gaming company EA Sports. The launch of an iPad app for the nation’s eighth largest retailer, Sam’s Club, capped off a tremendously busy and exciting year at Rockfish.
IBM estimates that 90% of the data in the world today was created within the past two years. 2011 was the year that all this data hit a tipping point for many of the Group’s largest clients. In response, we launched The Data Alliance, a Group-wide initiative to help marketers and their agencies make faster, smarter decisions with data.
Housed within WPP Digital, The Data Alliance facilitates coordination and collaborative innovations that span across data types and analytical disciplines, ranging from consumer and marketplace insights (Kantar), to media investment and response data (GroupM and 24/7 Media), to purchase transaction data (i-Behavior).
In the few months since we started The Data Alliance, we have identified several areas where analytic projects that began as process-intensive collaborations on one or two clients can be automated and scaled by 24/7 Media technology. We anticipate the first of the new analytics products resulting from these efforts will be released in mid-2012.
As ever in the digital industry, 2011 was a year of change across WPP Digital, with companies joining the team, new companies and initiatives launched and new partnerships formed. Our priorities remain to complement the wider Group’s digital strategies by incubating and providing a home for specialist digital agencies and talent and taking on cross-WPP initiatives in the technology and data area.
Our priorities remain to complement the wider Group’s digital strategies by incubating and providing a home for specialist digital agencies and talent and taking on cross-WPP initiatives in the technology and data area
Our key focus areas for 2012 are to strengthen our capabilities in mobile and social marketing for our clients, to invest in e-commerce and e-shopper technology and expertise and to continue to focus on data, technology and analytics. It is the people in our companies who worked hard all year that we should thank for the progress we have made and we will strive to harness their passion, creativity and talent to make 2012 even more successful.