July 19, 2015
By Suzanne Vranica
Over the past few years, advertisers and media buyers have been gobbling up as much data about consumers as they can, collecting information that ranges from consumers’ purchasing behavior to their web surfing habits. The goal: to better target ads and create pitches that are more relevant.
Now, WPP ‘sWPP.LN -0.06% GroupM is hoping to tap into what consumers talk about on social media. The company is teaming up with Networked Insights, a Chicago firm that mines more than 560 million posts per day that are made on social media sites and other places on the Web.
GroupM, which buys almost $100 billion in ads annually for companies such as Unilever and AT&T, has struck a three-year deal with Networked Insights that will give it access to the social analytics firm’s technology.
It’s the first time Networked Insights, which typically only works directly with marketers, is making such an arrangement with an ad firm. The two companies declined to disclose exact terms of the agreement but said GroupM will pay “seven figures” annually to have full access to Networked Insights’ technology.
GroupM and its parent company WPP have been particularly aggressive in the hunt for new sources of data.
Having access to social media data can help GroupM in a number of areas including figuring out new audiences they can target for their clients or finding out what types of content consumers are embracing, which can be used to develop more relevant ads.
“We can ID perspective target audiences and ID characteristics of people who are coming in or out of the customer base so we can develop strategies and tactics to influence them,” said Irwin Gotlieb, chairman of GroupM.
For example, a unit of GroupM recently used Networked Insights data, which was commissioned by Campbell Soup Co., to devise a marketing effort for the food company’s V8 and V8 V-Fusion + Energy drinks. The campaign will target health conscious consumers and moms that have kids.
Data showed that the health conscious adults were sharing stories and photos on Instagram and Twitter and less so on Facebook. Therefore, the agency shifted media plans and will likely push ads and content for V8 out on those platforms rather than Facebook. Those types of consumers also frequently posted about particular musical artists, and now the agency is exploring ways to incorporate music or the music genre into ads.
Data collected about moms showed they were very devoted to their coffee routines, so the agency will not position V8 V-Fusion as a substitute for coffee.
GroupM said social chatter can also be used to measure the effectiveness of advertising since social buzz can be an indicator of future sales. The firm has been gauging levels of social chatter over time so that it can tell how much advertising or promotion certain product categories need to do in order to stimulate chatter and, in turn, sales.
“We know that in certain consumer product categories, social media conversations can be a leading indicator of sales,” said Harvey Goldhersz, chief data officer of GroupM.
Working with GroupM gives Networked Insights, which has raised about $47 million in funding, more access to marketers. It currently works with about 65 advertisers.
The deal also “validates the fact that social data is an important piece in the way marketing decisions are made,” said Dan Neely, chief executive of Networked Insights