Facebook has put its $750 million global media account up for review, Ad Age has learned. The account is currently split between WPP’s Mindshare and Dentsu.
Mindshare holds the majority of the account and is expected to defend. All major holding companies are expected to be invited. ID Comms is managing the review, but declined to comment.
Facebook ranks as the world’s 77th-largest advertiser, according to the Ad Age Datacenter. But the social media giant has been steadily increasing its ad spending in recent years as it looks to protect its image while routinely fending off negative press, often over its handling of hate speech and disinformation. The company must also promote its brand in the face of spirited competition from TikTok, Snapchat and other upstart social media players. Facebook’s marketing and sales costs grew from $9.8 billion in 2019 to $11.6 billion in 2020, according to its 2020 full-year earnings report.
The media agency review comes after Facebook late last year promoted Alex Schultz into the chief marketing officer role, replacing the outgoing Antonio Lucio.
Dentsu and WPP did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Facebook issued a statement saying, “Facebook has the privilege of partnering with top agency talent across our brand portfolio, and as any company would, we will be exploring agency support that will best align with our media needs for 2021 and beyond.”
Facebook dipped its toe in advertising’s largest stage, the Super Bowl, in 2020, running a celebrity-filled spot to plug its “Groups” feature. It did not come back for this year’s game. Facebook’s current U.S. media buy includes airing a TV spot called “I Am Beautiful” that promotes a Facebook Group of the same name that plugs female empowerment.
On the creative side of advertising, Facebook works with agencies across the ad world that handle different parts of its sprawling apps empire that includes Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Oculus VR. Wieden+Kennedy helped on some of Facebook’s biggest campaigns, like its 2020 Super Bowl commercial. Leo Burnett, a part of Publicis, has done work for Messenger. Meanwhile, BBDO, under Omnicom, and Droga 5, under Accenture Interactive, are also on the roster of official agency partners.
Facebook has developed such strong ties with the agency world, in part because of the scope of its own advertising empire: It has more than 10 million advertisers on its apps and generated more than $84 billion in ad revenue in 2020. As Facebook has grown it has created an interconnected relationship with agencies and media buying companies, and spreading out its partnerships is seen as a strategic soft-power move to keep the brand in good standing with companies that also help promote Facebook as an ad platform.