Google and WPP Marketing Research Awards

Google and the WPP Group have launched the 2nd round of the research program they jointly created to improve understanding and practices in online marketing, and to better understand the relationship between online and offline media. The Google and WPP Marketing Research Awards Program has selected 11 research proposals, with funding support up to $80,000 each. Awards will be in the form of unrestricted gifts to academic institutions, under the names of the researchers who submitted the proposal. Award recipients will be invited to participate in a meeting highlighting work in this area and will be encouraged to make their results available online and in professional publications.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Online and offline media interaction
    • How does a brand establish a framework for assessing how much should be spent online? How much advertising should be directed at brand development versus specific click generation?
    • How does offline media affect search and vice versa?
    • What are the best models for mobile advertising?
    • What are the appropriate metrics for comparing and contrasting online and offline media performance?
    • Is online media more effective for long tail products rather than mainstream brands?
    • How should the total advertising budget for a firm change with new digital media availabilities?
    • How do you set digital advertising budgets and tactics when in intensively competitive product categories?
    • What are good guidelines for moving traditional video spots from broadcast to broadband?
  2. Relevance and effectiveness measurement
    • How do consumers determine what is relevant? What tradeoff do they see between providing information and receiving relevant advertising?
    • What is the causal relationship between brand health and search success? And what is the link between search and sales? How does search contribute to word of mouth recommendation?
    • What metrics can be used to measure causal effect of a campaign on purchase both online and offline? What is the ROI for digital media?
    • How can banner ads be more effective?
    • How can you best coordinate search and banner ads?
    • Are traditional banner ads (print format) more or less effective than ads aimed at providing information to help make a specific decision?
    • How do you model the consumer response to digital advertising in social networks or mobile media?
  3. Audience types and engagement
    • What do we know and what more do we need to know about on-line audiences?
    • How can advertisers be welcome in social networks?
    • How should online audiences and online marketing tactics be measured in emerging markets - Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America? Does mobile hold the upper hand over online in some markets?
    • What are the best models for mobile advertising?
    • How do teens interact with digital media and what are the implications?
    • Should heavy internet users be given different treatment than light users?
    • How influential are online influencers and what categories of consumers/behaviors are most affected by them?
  4. Verticals & New Media
    • How can advertisers participate meaningfully in increasingly personalized services such as specific verticals?
    • How can pharmaceutical brands engage more effectively online? How should marketers approach creative development given the full/risk disclosure requirements?
    • What are the unique marketing and targeting opportunities for other verticals: financial services, insurance, entertainment, consumer goods, retail, etc?
    • How do consumers interact with the mobile web and what are the opportunities for retail (coupons, QR codes, etc) within mobile?
    • What are models that attribute value more fairly than the last click or last view calculations? What are the next iteration conversion attribution models?
    • What are the benefits of a trusted online signature?
    • How are real time communication platforms (such as Twitter) affecting consumer search patterns/expectations and evolving search behavior?
    • How well do consumers understand data collection and targeting and what are measures to improve transparency?
    • What is the role of Apps in new marketing and how can the response be modeled and measured?
    • What is inhibiting mobile advertising and how can it be overcome? What is the role of mobile advertising in a new marketing communication strategy?

These topics are examples of issues where research would be useful. We encourage creative theory development and empirical analysis to help solve marketing and advertising problems, so a wide range of methodologies and approaches are welcome. In order to facilitate research in these areas, Google and WPP will make available useful marketing data to qualified academics conducting research in this program. Google provides Insights for Search, Google Trends for Websites, and the Google Trifecta (including Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics and Google Website Optimizer). WPP will provide access to proprietary data from its companies including BrandZ, Market Norms, TGI, Millward Brown Brand Tracking, TNS' Conversion Model Database, as well as media data and research generated at GroupM and The Kantar Group. Further description of the available data, sample datasets and formats are available. If the proposed research can benefit from advertiser-controlled sources such as comprehensive marketing, tracking and research data, WPP clients may be contacted to grant permission for such information release.

First and Second Round Winners

For a listing of the researchers and affiliated academic institutions that participated in the first and second round awards, consult the frequently asked questions page.

Applying for a Marketing Research Award

The current round of funding has been closed. To apply for a future Google and WPP Marketing Research award, please follow these general guidelines:

More information about the program

For a listing of first and second round winners, or if you have any questions about this program, please consult the frequently asked questions page and if the answer to your question is not available there, please email

If you'd like to find out more about some the research done in the past by Google's technical staff, you can visit the Google Research Site. Among other things you will find a list of papers and books by Googlers on a wide range of topics.