MediaCom has launched a dedicated “Google practice” made up of 250 people that will offer a specialist service.
Led by the WPP media agency’s northern division, but spanning all five MediaCom offices in the UK, the Google practice will deliver a “more comprehensive and specialist service” across the Google ecosystem for advertisers.
Services within the practice include: dynamic creative optimisation, programmatic, media/ad tech, paid and organic search, web analytics, user experience and conversion and first-party data and advanced analytics.
By featuring these services within a single practice, MediaCom said it would offer better audience targeting, smarter optimisation and AI-driven automation.
The launch will be seen as a direct challenge to specialist digital media agencies, such as Jellyfish, Brainlabs, and Croud, which have found success as specialists in Google marketing services.
The new practice is being led by Richard Davies, chief digital officer at MediaCom, Paul Cooper, chief operating officer at MediaCom North, Nicola Marsh, managing director at MediaCom North Google practice, Louis Georgiou, managing director at Code and Kenny Skelton, partner and head of Google practice.
The agency also announced it is integrating Code Computerlove, the Manchester-based digital product studio it acquired in 2016, into the agency to complement the practice’s “digital journey proposition”. It will also deliver onsite user experience, analytics and and optimisation elements.
Davies said: “The launch of our new Google Practice is all about seeing the bigger picture. Built with our clients in mind, we wanted to create a community of digital experts and practitioners across the Google suite who are able to offer the very best in services, solutions and consultancy – with the ultimate objective to deliver growth revenue for our clients.
“By bringing our expertise under one roof, we can ensure our clients are maximising their use of first-party data and leveraging our new skills and capabilities across the whole customer journey to deliver against their business objectives.”
MediaCom said this is the first of three specialist initiatives that it will launch this year. It did not elaborate on what the others will be.
Since taking charge in 2019, MediaCom UK chief executive Kate Rowlinson has challenged the agency to become "whole-brained" (embracing science and art) in its approach, while being "famous for digital".
She has also sought to implement a "One MediaCom" approach to get the network's five regional offices to collaborate better, with the Northern office in Manchester proving to be particularly strong in winning digital briefs.
The share of digital spend going through MediaCom increased significantly last year – from 16% to 36% – according to the agency’s latest Campaign School Report.
The launch comes at a pivotal time in digital media as third-party cookies, a method of tracking internet users to deliver personalised online advertising, is being effectively disbanded by internet browsers after a wave of privacy complaints by some advertisers and consumer interest groups.
Google, whose mammoth product suite includes the popular Chrome browser, has prompted an investigation by the UK Competition & Markets Authority over the way it has drawn up post-cookie plans using its Sandbox initiative.
Last month the tech giant announced various measures that would effectively stop third-party companies from implementing their own cookie replacements.
Matt Bush, managing director of agencies, partners and creative at Google, added: “We are really excited about the launch of the Google Practice and the evolution of our partnership with MediaCom.
"The practice enables MediaCom to bring together the talent and skills needed to advance and optimise the Google ecosystem and by combining community and specialism we can partner in a more efficient, effective and sophisticated way to drive better business outcomes for MediaCom’s clients.”