Omnicom Boosts Data Effort With New Marketing Platform

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Omnicom Boosts Data Effort With New Marketing Platform



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Omnicom

Ad giant

Omnicom Group
Inc.


OMC 0.99%

has created a one-stop-shop for its agencies and clients to create, plan and execute campaigns using reams of third-party data, the latest in a wave of efforts by major ad companies to step up the sophistication of their data and technology services.

All Omnicom agencies will be able to log into the new marketing platform, called Omni, to identify creative images that resonate with desired consumers, plan and buy media, store anonymized customer information and track customer actions like sales.

“What we’re doing with this tool is really further transforming the way our teams work across agencies, the way they collaborate and the way they develop ideas so we can ultimately deliver those outcomes that are underpinned by that single view of the consumer,” said

Daryl Simm,

CEO of Omnicom’s media agency operations. “We live in a data-driven world.”

Ad companies are coming under increasing pressure to provide more advanced data and technology tools to help clients market to consumers, and to prove that campaigns drive outcomes such as web visits or sales.

Omnicom rival Interpublic Group of Cos. this month announced its acquisition of data firm

Acxiom

for $2.3 billion;

Publicis Groupe

has a central data and analytics platform called Spine that supports media agencies and other shops; and WPP has been among the most aggressive hoarders of data through acquisitions like KBM (formerly KnowledgeBase Marketing), which it purchased in 1999.

Omnicom’s platform includes some of the tools already available through Annalect, a central data marketing group that sits within Omnicom’s media agency operation. The system adds new functions and it’s meant to be user-friendly, not just for media agencies using data to inform buying, but also for creative and customer-relationship-marketing shops.

One of the new functions available through Omni measures the impact of a TV ad based on how many people search for the product or keyword on Google after the ad ran. Omnicom worked closely with Google to roll out the new capability.

Omni also includes a tool to help creative talent and advertisers find visuals that resonate with specific audiences, as well as a repository of available digital and TV ad slots for sale at any given time.

For example, an automotive client or Omnicom agency lead can sign into the system and, using data from a long list of third-party vendors, find individuals who are interested in electric vehicles. The system may determine that people who search for electric vehicles and other similar terms tend to share behavioral traits like caring about the environment and do-it-yourself projects. Omni can then pull a number of actual videos that individuals within that audience are viewing across the web. It could then extract colors, images and language the videos have in common, providing the creative executive with clues as to what stories and visuals might resonate with the target consumer.

The system has other media tools, including the ability to select ad inventory across TV and digital platforms likely to reach the desired audience, as well as the ability to actually buy some of the ads through an automated buying tool. The advertiser will be able to see information about the digital ad space recommended for the media plan, including the percentage of consumers that have been able to see ads in the space, and whether the ad space on a particular site has been associated with fraudulent activity. Omni also shows historical pricing of the ad space and the advertising technology companies that would be involved in the transaction.

This level of granularity in digital ad buying is increasingly important to advertisers concerned that they’re paying for ads nobody sees or their vendor or agency is overcharging them.

Using data from companies like Experian, Neustar and LiveRamp, an advertiser can track the success of a campaign, in some cases all the way to an online or in-store purchase, and follow customers through a CRM tool compatible with other vendors like

Salesforce

and

Adobe
.

Omni also has a function, supported by third-party technology partners, that matches disparate data sets across screens.

Omnicom’s latest data initiative with Omni solidifies the company’s current strategy to rent versus own data, said Mr. Simm.

Omnicom would rather “tap into” whatever data asset works for the client at “any moment in time,” he said.

The company at one point had considered bidding on Acxiom, according to people familiar with the matter.

Omnicom spent north of $50 million to develop Omni, which is nearly ten years in the making, including the cost of engineers, staffing and tech development, according to a person familiar with the matter. That figure doesn’t include the tens of millions the company is spending annually to maintain third-party data and technology partnerships, the person said.

Clients will pay tech and data fees for access to Omni’s tools and information, depending on what they or their teams choose to use. Omnicom will slowly roll it out to clients over the next several quarters.

Write to Alexandra Bruell at alexandra.bruell@wsj.com