Here Are the Perks BuzzFeed and WPP Will Get From Partnering With Each Other

No. 1: tracking how content spreads

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In an effort to marry analytics capabilities with a global roster of brands, GroupM and BuzzFeed on Thursday announced a one-year partnership to further harness the power of data and branded content.

GroupM, the media buying arm of WPP, is hoping to bolster its ongoing partnerships while growing its use of relevant content for younger generations.

"The future of advertising lies at the intersection of creativity, data, media and technology. That's where BuzzFeed has built its business and proved its value to brands," GroupM chief digital officer Rob Norman said in a statement announcing the deal. "This is a terrific opportunity for our clients to move swiftly and succeed in the fastest growing media platforms."

BuzzFeed said it will benefit from access to WPP's global client roster, which it will use to test its new Pound technology that tracks how content spreads. The media company will also benefit from additional advertising spending from GroupM.

"No agency has had access to this level of data before, and what's going to come from that is going to be incredible," Matt Trotta, BuzzFeed's vp of agency strategy, said Thursday.

Here's what GroupM and BuzzFeed stand to gain from the yearlong deal:


1. GroupM will be the first agency to try Pound, BuzzFeed's proprietary data technology that provides insight about how content is shared from BuzzFeed's website to other platforms such as social media, email and messaging. Pound—which stands for "process for optimizing and understanding network diffusion"—tracks how content spreads from person to person.

2. As part of the deal, BuzzFeed will dedicate a creative group at BuzzFeed Motion Pictures in Los Angeles to producing content for WPP clients.

3. WPP will set up a "creative residency" on the BuzzFeed Motion Pictures campus, allowing BuzzFeed and WPP's clients to glean insights on what works and what doesn't when developing content for campaigns. Trotta said the residency will leverage both brand data and editorial content.

4. In a statement announcing the deal, GroupM and BuzzFeed said the partnership will allow "preferential media pricing" for clients of GroupM agencies.


1. Piloting the Pound technology with WPP agencies and their clients will allow BuzzFeed to see how branded content spreads through digital networks and messaging. BuzzFeed embeds a UTM code in each piece of content, allowing Pound to gather information beyond how many times something is shared on a given platform. BuzzFeed said the technology allows it to better understand content, readers and the social Web.

"We're always trying to understand how and why things spread," Trotta said. "I think it's one of the key tenets to everything we do."

2. While he declined to offer specifics, Trotta confirmed WPP has agreed to an upfront advertising commitment with BuzzFeed. However, the partnership does not include any investment or equity exchange.

3. The deal is another in a series of digital partnerships BuzzFeed has landed with a variety of companies. Trotta said WPP's client roster allows BuzzFeed to "have a bigger audience and bigger impact than what would have been possible on our own." The deal is not exclusive, and Trotta said BuzzFeed could partner with more agencies in the future.

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.