Martin Sorrell Thinks Google Is Cooler Than Facebook to the Tune of $5 Billion

By Erik Oster 

Sir Martin Sorrell told Lara O’Reilly in a Business Insider interview that WPP would spend at least $5 billion on advertising with Google this year, up from $4 billion in 2015.

Sorrell characterized the holding company’s relationship with Google as “good” and said, “Google search and YouTube video continue to be very powerful mediums, particularly in high-penetration TV markets.”

He added that Google’s navigation of European regulatory and taxation issues has made it “more responsive” and collaborative in its relationship with advertisers.


The WPP CEO had less kind words for Facebook, on which the holding company spent around a billion dollars on advertising last year.

“Facebook, I think because it has been so successful, is probably, to be blunt, a little bit more difficult to deal with,” he said. “I think that’s not a view we are alone in having. Others would too if you ask around. My view is that is going to change because they will see the benefit and the merit.”

Sorrell added that he’d like to see Facebook allow advertisers to have more access to its data in order to justify increased spending on the platform. The comments come in the wake of Sorrell’s harsh criticism of the platform after it was revealed Facebook “vastly overestimated” the average viewing time for its video ads. At the time, Sorrell claimed, “The referee and player cannot be the same person,” and his latest statements about allowing advertisers increased access to such data shouldn’t come as a surprise. 

“Facebook puts great emphasis on outcomes and ROI [return on investment]. The data has to be independent data that justifies the position,” he added. “Facebook has a very close arrangement with Nielsen … something increasingly we are going to ensure that comScore [in which WPP has a near-20% stake] has that similar relationship with Facebook to provide alternate data because clients are investing now a lot of money.”