NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- WPP has forged a strategic alliance with web-analytics firm Omniture and made a $25 million investment in the company.
The deal furthers London-based WPP's plan to focus on research going forward, rather than traditional advertising, as a way to differentiate itself from rival holding companies such as U.S.-based Omnicom Group and French conglomerate Publicis Groupe.
In the biggest sign of its new positioning, WPP last year made a $2 billion play for Taylor Nelson Sofres to expand its own research-and-insight division, Kantar.
"From WPP's perspective, analytics, measurement, optimization are increasingly important to our clients," said Mark Read, WPP's director of strategy and CEO, WPP Digital, speaking to Ad Age from Davos, Switzerland. He said more than one-fifth, or about $4 billion, of WPP's $15 billion in worldwide revenue now is derived from consumer insight.
'Large number of intersections'
"There's really a large number of intersections between our two companies, and hence we wanted to make an investment [in Omniture]," Mr. Read said. Utah-based Omniture is well-known for its business-optimization software and recommendation engines. It boasts some 5,000 customers, including some very large ones it shares with WPP, such as Ford, Microsoft and Dell.
Under the terms of the agreement, WPP and Omniture will integrate marketing technologies and information products in the next 12 to 18 months and begin jointly working on new solutions to offer clients.
The deal also includes an education component; as part of the agreement, more than 500 WPP executives will be trained in Omniture technologies.