WPP Group Says U.S. Economy Fueling Growth; Aol CEO Armstrong On Silicon Valley; 500 Billion YouTube “Ads”

WPP GroupHere’s today’s AdExchanger.com news round-up… Want it by email? Sign-up here.

WPP Group Hockey Stick

For an ad holding company, WPP Group’s 3rd quarter 2010 financial growth surprised at it grew more than at any time in the past 10 years with a 7.5% increase in revenue to $3.6 billion which was helped by strong performance in the U.S. ad market according to Ad Age. Read more. According to WPP’s press release, “The United States, which was the first region affected by the global economic crisis, has been the first to recover and in the third quarter revenues on a constant currency basis were up 9.9%, continuing this year to behave more like an emerging market than a mature one.” Read the earnings release. WPP also invested $5 million in social media marketing company Buddy Media.

Aol Moving Away From Silicon Valley

It appears that Aol CEO Tim Armstrong is positioning his company for the big, brand dollar future as he told the LA Times in an interview late last week, “We are moving away from where Silicon Valley is going where users self-service themselves. We are a full-service company.” Read more. Aol reports its Q3 2010 earnings this Wednesday morning.

Finnegan To Tremor Media?

Starcom Worldwide exec Sean Finnegan may be thinking about joining video ad network Tremor Media as CEO according to All Things D’s Peter Kafka. Read it. Earlier last week, it was reported that Finnegan had parted ways with Starcom and Publicis after a unidentified, internal rift had developed. (cue ripping sound)

The Online-To-Offline Opportunity

TrialPay CEO Alex Rampell writes on OpEd piece on TechCrunch and answers the question, “What do Groupon, OpenTable, Restaurant.com, and SpaFinder all have in common?” with the following, “They grease the wheels of online-to-offline commerce.” (another acronym is born – O2O!!) And then, Rampell advises, “Venture capitalists and entrepreneurs would be wise to think beyond cloning the ‘deal of the day’ concept—and instead think about how the discovery, payment, and performance measurement of offline commerce can move online. This will have ripple effects across the whole Internet industry — advertising, payments, and commerce — as trillions of dollars in local consumer spending increasingly begin online.” Read more.

Facebook Data Breach

The Wall Street Journal says Facebook has suspended some application developers for up to 6 months as its user data policies has been violated and user IDs were sold to a “data broker.” No one is implicated by name in the WSJ piece or in the Facebook developer blog post for this particular incident. The WSJ also reported that Facebook “had reached an agreement with RapLeaf Inc., which it described as ‘the data broker who came forward to work with us on this situation.’ It’s unclear whether Facebook is implicating RapLeaf and neither company responded to questions.” Read today’s WSJ piece. And, read the Facebook dev blog post.

Malware Black Ops

On the ThreatPost blog, Fabrice Jaubert, of Google’s anti-malware team discusses some of the recent efforts by Google to combat malware evil doers. He tells ThreatPost that “as much as 1.5 percent of all search result pages on Google include links to at least one malware-distribution site.” Read more.

Demand-Side Platform Prez

It appears that Mindshare’s Mark Squires, who identifies himself as an account manager at the media agency in the UK, has provided a concise take on the demand-side platform phenomenon in a presentation now available on SlideShare. See it here – and the GroupM Exchange ecosystem map.

We Will Work For China Someday

Ad Age’s managing editor Abbey Klaassen returns from China to give her views on the country’s booming Internet economy. She writes, “The Chinese have virtually every internet service we do, but under a different name. Their Facebook equivalents are RenRen and Kaixen; Foursquare is Jiapang; Twitter is Sina’s Weibo; and Zynga Farmville is Kaixen’s Happy Farm.” Read more about the economic steamroller of China.

IPG Strong, Too

Ad holding company InterPublic Group (IPG) announced that it, too, had a good third quarter of 2010 as the company beat Wall Street estimates by 1 penny as the company IPG reported a profit of $45.3 million on $1.56 billion in revenue. Read the WSJ. In addition to strong performance in Latin America, “Digital was also a material contributor to our growth in the quarter, with very strong performance at the McCann’s MRM unit, R/GA, HUGE, as well as the digital capabilities within our PR firms and the U.S. independent agencies,” according to CEO Michael Roth in the earnings call transcript on Seeking Alpha. Also, read the IPG earnings press release.

500 Billionth Video “Ad”

Jay Akkad, a Google YouTube Product Manager, said on the YouTube blog late last week that “[In October] we served the 500,000,000th Promoted Video view. Promoted Videos average approximately three minutes in duration — it would take a single viewer 2,853 years to watch them all. In the past year, we’ve seen a more than six-fold increase in the number of times viewers have clicked to watch a Promoted Video.” VIdeo ad momentum continues. Read it.

MediaBank Gets MediaBrands

Last Friday, MediaBank announced that it has lured the IPG Mediabrands account away from Donovan Data Systems. According to the release, “The transition to MediaBank is expected to be completed late in the third quarter of 2011. The partnership significantly expands MediaBank’s existing relationship with IPG to now include all Mediabrands agencies, such as Initiative, UM, and others. It also extends existing agreements at IPG including Dailey, Draftfcb, ID Media, Hill Holiday, McCann Erickson, and ORION Trading.” Read the release.

More On Retargeting

On MediaPost, Steve Smith highlights a new self-serve display ad product for the SMB market from ReTargeter. The company’s product includes social capabilities – if you want get some good “like,” for example. A Retargeter case study with the “The 4-Hour Workweek” author says that in “the 25 days of the campaign, he increased his ‘likes’ 7.03%. According to ReTargeter, this worked out to a cost per fan of 54 cents.” Read more.

Agency-Marketer Throwdown

Clients are beginning to tell their agencies that they want to own the creative. That didn’t sit will with an Havas agency which pulled out of a pitch to AutoZone. Read more in AdWeek. Meanwhile, Ad Age reports that the Association of National Advertisers has started a new taskforce aimed at ramping up, or at least examining, the marketing knowledge of procurement officers who represent marketers when they’re ready to sign a contract with an agency. The article quotes an industry analyst who says 49% of procurement officers have no marketing background. Read it.

MDC Reports

Ad holding company MDC Partners reports its Q3 2010 earnings and the company said year-to-date “consolidated revenue was $484.4 million, an increase of 22.5% compared to $395.6 million in the same period of 2009.” The company said earnings recognition rules led to flat net income growth. Also, MDC’s CEO Miles Nadal said it will move to have creative agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s “digital production and post-production business [brought] in-house, work that is currently outsourced. He estimated the agency could capture about 60 percent of the $50 million in client production work over the next three years.” What’s the lesson here? Sure, higher top line revenues but can the margins be increased given the overhead? And, is there a drag on the idea generation part of the business – the highest margins of all – with production in-house? Read the release. And, read AdWeek’s summary.

Is Inventory Better Direct?

Demand-side platform XA.net’s CEO Rob Leathern relates a conversation with industry colleagues on his company’s blog regarding inventory performance: “I was talking about how we look at the performance of publisher direct inventory we buy for our advertisers and are able to often see vastly better performance (on a cost per click or cost per conversion basis) than we do with similar inventory from ad exchanges.Read more. It would seem that direct relationships with publishers will remain a key differentiator for ad networks and DSPs.

Be A Better Buyer

On MediaPost, Vizu CEO Dan Beltramo writes a think piece on what makes a great media buyer: “As Tommy Lasorda said, ‘No matter how good you are, you’re going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are, you’re going to win one-third of your games. It’s the other third that makes the difference.’ Same goes for online media strategy and buying.” Read more.

Criteo Adds Advisors

Performance marketing and retargeting company Criteo announced its board of advisors – a tactic commonly used by startups to create business development opportunities via high level “advisor” execs in exchange for valuable company stock options. Among those getting the nod were Dan Ciporin, former chairman and CEO of Shopping.com, and Greg Coleman, president of the Huffington Post. Read more.

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