WPP Group Predicts 2% Growth In 2017; Facebook Was Active At Mobile World Congress

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WPP Skids

WPP Group told investors it would grow just 2% in 2017, citing “weaker comparative net new business trends” (i.e., customer wins). Basically the holding company failed to offset last year’s losses of AT&T and Volkswagen enough to maintain its previous growth rate. Earnings release. Part of the problem: Large advertisers are under significant pressure from investors. “Clients are generally grinding it out in a highly competitive ground game, rarely resorting to a passing game or Hail Marys,” WPP said Friday. WSJ has more. And Leila Abboud writes for Bloomberg, “The bottom line is that investing in the big advertising agencies remains a bet on macroeconomic growth. That's because the pie of business that they compete for is not really getting any bigger.” Read that. But WPP is still hugely profitable, netting $1.7 billion in 2016.

Down To Business

Mark Zuckerberg didn’t attend Mobile World Congress last week, but Facebook mounted an aggressive behind-the-scenes campaign (i.e., in private suites and cocktail receptions) for potential telco payment integration partners. In the developing world, many users don’t have credit cards, which means working through the carrier’s payment system is the only real path forward. Facebook approached Globe Telecoms, a Philippines-based carrier, to “go after mobile money together,” company CEO Ernest Cu tells The Information (subscription gated). Related in AdExchanger: How business gets done at MWC.

Winning

You know that saying about boats and rising tides? Well, it turns out not to float. Digital advertising growth decelerated a tick from 20% to 19%, but that’s still a pretty good upward trend, according to Pivotal Research senior analyst Brian Wieser. Google and Facebook, however, account for a combined (drumroll, please…) 115% of that growth. Numbers aren’t broken, it just means that “other companies in the sector collectively captured less direct revenue from advertisers, on average.” He estimates the two companies raised their share of the US digital ad industry from 76% to 82% from the previous quarter.

But Wait, There’s More!

 

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