Facebook may now be one of the biggest single spending destinations for the biggest ad agency holding group on the planet – but that doesn’t mean things have always been rosy from WPP’s point of view.
CEO Sir Martin Sorrell has often questioned some of the social network’s ad pricing mechanisms, and WPP has called for better third-party measurement of ad claims made by the platform, while Facebook has spent the last couple of years trying to educate agencies on how to produce ads that better fit consumer’s social, mobile experience.
So, no wonder the pair have sought to improve their relationship, at the creative level, in a new Creative Ambassadors Program partnership.
In this video interview with Beet.TV, WPP chief digital officer Scott Spirit explains the program, and the rationale.
“There really isn’t any question about whether Facebook is an established platform, both with consumers and advertising – that’s already happened,” Spirit says.
“Facebook is a huge partner of WPP. We’re very good at buying media on Facebook – everyone in our media agencies understands it. But we have to be good at everything we do on Facebook – the messaging, and the media.”
To that end, the Creative Ambassador Program is designed at injecting best practice in the creation of modern mobile and video ads for Facebook in to the agencies that actually make them.
Facebook wants creators to understand how to capture users’ attention quickly, using native formats and in a manner that doesn’t just shovel old creative from old media.
“I want WPP and all our agencies to be the best possible partner for Facebook, because that’s what our clients expect of us”, Spirit adds.
“They expect us to understand the platform, to be really almost ahead of the platform, predicting what’s going to happen, seeing which products are going to be useful for our clients, and which ones we can exploit.”
If the creative challenge – the challenge of making ads for mobile social and mobile video that really fit the consumer experience – can be overcome, that may just leave the thorny questions that operate up on the business level.
Spirit recognises recent problems around measurement – but says they are now getting ironed out.
“There’s been a lot of challenges, and not just with Facebook, but with digital measurement in general,” Spirit observes.
“Facebook used to measure everything themselves, which we were not particularly happy about. Increasingly, they’re adopting kind of third party measurement standards, which is what we want to see in the industry, and other players in the industry are doing that.
This Beet.TV series, presented by Facebook and WPP, is titled Creativity in a Mobile First World. Please find more videos from the series here.