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Aug 24, 2008

Ad Industry Roundup: WPP; Google; Facebook; ANA; P&G

Ad Industry Roundup: WPP; Google; Facebook; ANA; P&G

-- Digital now 25 percent of WPP's revs: During the first half of '08, WPP Group's revenue gained 14.3 percent to $6.1 billion (£3.3 billion), despite a worsening ad economy overall. Also, the UK ad holding company said digital now makes up 25 percent of its $13 billion in total annual revenues—about $3.25 billion. Still, it's not a great leap from where things stood last year at this time, when digital was 23 percent of total revs. Separately, WPP now owns a majority of Shanghai-based in-game advertising outfit InGame Ad Interactive Technology's owner IGA Ltd, after buying a further 12.82 percent share of the company, giving it 55 percent ownership in all. More details on our sister site, PC:UK.

-- Google promises "improved" quality on AdWords: Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is replacing AdWords' static per-keyword Quality Scores with a system that will measure an ad's relevance in real time. AsNews.com points out, Google uses an auction system that decides which ads are placed next to search results. Auction winners aren't chosen solely by price, as Google essentially increases the minimum bid threshold for ads that don't meet its "quality score," such as a good click-through rate or, in a newer addition, how fast a marketers' website loads. In April, some AdWords memberscomplained that new "improvements" led to higher CPC charges, as conversation rates trended lower.

-- Facebook ads get more engaged: Facebook hopes to boost dismal click-through rates with a "Engagement Advertisements," which resemble other social net widgets and encourage members to share and comment on them. The ads come in three styles: "Comment," "Gifts" and "Fan." The latter mimics Facebook fan pages and is being aimed at luxury marketers and established brands like the game Guitar Hero.

-- Marketers slash ad budgets: No big surprises in the Association of National Advertisers' survey that finds that 53 percent of marketers it spoke to expect to cut their ad spend in the latter half of the year. The range of the cuts for that group will range 1 to 10 percent, while 27 percent say their budgets would be reduced between 11 to 20 percent, while 10 percent were envisioning cuts of over 30 percent. Respondents weren't asked about specific media or if they would switch from traditional to digital.

-- Crest finds better marketing through Twitter: Procter & Gamble has gone light on TV ads, heavy on bloggers for its latest product launch, Next month, the packaged goods marketer will begin putting Crest Clean Intensive Cleaning Paste, a new weekly teeth-cleaning product, on the shelves and it's relying on word-of-mouth (no pun intended) to get it in consumers' hands. Under its Vocalpoint buzz-marketing program, P&G claims that bloggers who have been sent the new toothpaste have been Twittering about it.

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