BuzzFeed and WPP’s media buying arm GroupM announced a partnership on Thursday — a deal that is likely to boost the website’s ad revenues, and help the world’s largest advertising agency holding group show its clients that it has the best connections when it comes to digital media.
The year-long deal — which isn’t exclusive — will see BuzzFeed giving GroupM and WPP’s agencies the first access to its new “POUND” data technology that offers insights not only on how content and ads are performing on BuzzFeed’s site, but also how it is shared elsewhere on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube.
WPP will be offered a “creative residency” within BuzzFeed which will include a dedicated creative group from the website’s Motion Pictures division to create branded content videos, as well as access to other staff.
GroupM’s agencies will also be granted “preferential media pricing” for BuzzFeed ads.
The partnership involves no investment or equity exchange between the companies, but Business Insider understands it will see WPP agreeing to an upfront advertising spend commitment with BuzzFeed. Neither company would comment on the financial details of that arrangement.
GroupM president Dominic Proctor said in a press release: “WPP’s investments in content demonstrate its commitment to creating socially and culturally resonant content for millennials. GroupM’s partnership with BuzzFeed adds a new dimension to this capability and amplifies our other partnerships.”
The announcement comes two months after WPP launched a content marketing agency called Truffle Pig, in partnership with Snapchat and The Daily Mail.
Speaking at WPP’s H1 2015 earnings presentation on Wednesday, the advertising company’s CEO Sir Martin Sorrell said it was “vital” to build out partnerships with new media and technology businesses as companies like Google are increasingly making it more difficult for third parties to access their data.
For BuzzFeed, the benefit of the partnership is not only increased advertising spend, but it’s an outward projection that it has the ability to scale its unique native advertising product globally. BuzzFeed doesn’t sell traditional banner ads, but instead relies on “native” advertising such as sponsored posts and branded video.
It’s an approach that appears to have paid off. From 2012 to 2013, BuzzFeed’s revenue tripled, and hit $US46 million in the first half of 2014, according to financial documents leaked to Gawker. In 2014, BuzzFeed turned a profit of $US5 million.
Kate Burns, BuzzFeed Europe general manager, told Business Insider: “Partnerships like these allow us to globally scale our advertising offerings, on BuzzFeed and off. Our work with agency partners spans the things most important to advertisers: reach, resonance, and data. The latter of which is growing more and more important.”
Earlier this month BuzzFeed announced it has raised $US200 million in funding from NBCUniversal. It’s a partnership that will help BuzzFeed extend its viral content style to traditional media such as television and movies.
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