What does the flow of attention across social platforms and news article look like when it is actually happening? That’s what WPP’s advertising clients may get to find out, thanks to the ad holding group’s new partnership with BuzzFeed.

Announced last month, the deal sees GroupM and WPP constituents gain a “creative residency” amongst BuzzFeed content producers and a creative group at BuzzFeed’s video studio, meaning the two sides will jointly work on viral content for advertisers. But it also includes preferential ad rates and access to BuzzFeed’s POUND, a data technology platform showing the Process for Optimizing and Understanding Network Diffusion – in other words, how content flows across multiple online platforms.

“We’ve been reticent historically about announcing partnerships with media vendors,” GroupM chief digital officer Rob Norman concedes, in this video interview with Beet.TV. “The BuzzFeed one is different. The future of our business lies at the intersection of creativity, media and technology. BuzzFeed has exploited this as well as any other.

“Unlike Facebook, BuzzFeed is a creator of content… distributes that content across many platforms other than its own and, unlike any other media vendor, they gave a very complete, thoughtful and sincere approach to off-platform distribution.”

The deal involves “no binding guarantees of money”, Norman says, although The Guardian reckons it to be worth “tens of millions” of dollars. Norman likes that, with POUND, “you can observe, if something starts on Snapchat, what happens when it gets pushed to Twitter”.


This interview is part of a series of videos leading up to the DMEXCO conference in Cologne. The series is presented by 4C Insights + Teletrax.