WPP has formed a strategic partnership with ad effectiveness tracker Ace Metrix, the companies said today. The agreement includes an investment in Ace via WPP Digital.
As a result of the deal, Mary Ann Packo, CEO of WPP research arm Millward Brown North America, will join the Ace board of directors.
Now, Ace will work with WPP units including research operation Kantar, which focuses on consumer insights. The pact will also facilitate the marketing of Ace's syndicated products to clients of WPP companies and the joint development of tools and approaches for measuring ad effectiveness, the firms said.
Word of the deal comes a month after Ace put a new CEO in place --advertising analytics veteran Peter Daboll (pictured above) -- who succeeded Steve Goldman, a co-founder of the company.
Ace, which launched about a year ago, tests the effectiveness of breaking TV ad campaigns via online consumer surveys. The company's proprietary software provides near-real-time reports on virtually all new commercials across major categories such as auto, retail, packaged goods and movies based on the impressions of a nationally representative sample of 500 consumers.
WPP joins previous investors Leapfrog Ventures, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners and Palomar Ventures. The companies did not reveal how big a stake WPP received in Ace.
Mark Read, CEO of WPP Digital said, "Our clients are looking for quick turnaround and additional competitive intelligence in today's fast-changing marketing environment," adding that Ace would help the company meet those demands. "This partnership continues our strategy of combining third-party data sets with our own for the maximum benefit of clients," he said.
Ace's Daboll said the arrangement with WPP "enables us to vastly accelerate our go-to-market readiness and reach. . .Together we can deliver a powerful combination to clients looking to improve their marketing and overall television advertising ROI."
WPP has been bolstering its research capabilities. In April, Millward Brown confirmed partnering with another third-party researcher, EmSense, to start a neuroscience practice to test the effectiveness of ads.