Havas expands with a Noise-y acquisition

Havas Media Group has added significant new talent and technology to its team with the acquisition of Vancouver-based digital media performance and analytics agency Noise Digital.

“This acquisition comes at a time when Havas Media Group is experiencing an impressive period of growth and momentum in North America,” said Yannick Bolloré, chairman and CEO of Havas.  “With a highly experienced performance team, and a diverse client base spanning several verticals, Noise Digital represents an exciting growth opportunity for Havas Media Group in North America and internationally.”

The deal, which took effect April 1, will see Noise retain its brand, but integrated into Havas Media Group North America, reporting to Noah Vardon, president, Havas Media Canada.

It will operate much as it did before, and Havas will treat it as standalone strategic unit that can be brought on to support different clients and projects as needed, while continuing to work with existing clients including Destination Canada, Destination BC, A&W, London Drugs, and Save On Foods.

Launched in 1998 by CEO Trevor Carr, Noise is considered a pioneer of performance marketing, data strategy and advanced analytics. But the opportunity with Havas was a case of the “right place right time right partner,” said Carr. “I think we took the business as far as we can get based on our fairly ambitious aspirations to build out a global data consulting and performance media practice. Teaming up and using the Havas scope globally, I think is very appealing to us.”

While the deal gives Havas greater presence on the West Coast, with almost 50 employees now working in Vancouver, and adds new clients to the Havas roster, it’s also a strategic response to larger shifts in the industry, said Vardon.

Clients have more interest in analytics and data, leading to different and expanded scopes of work compared to traditional media AOR deals, he said. Havas had already been changing in response to that shift in the market, but adding Noise to its arsenal—both in terms of talent and technology—“accelerates” things.

Vardon pointed to the quality of the Noise talent, but also cited its campaign management platform Connect as beneficial additions to Havas. “Seeing how well that’s being adopted by Noise’s clients, and in conversations with prospective clients, it’s been sort of deemed one of the best in the world. So I think that was another great advantage for us,” he said.

Noise developed Connect to remove some of the frustration that comes with most digital media campaigns. “It’s an it’s an incredibly time consuming, arduous task to traffic tag measure and then, spin up dashboards for clients,” said Carr.

Connect lets Noise teams put campaigns into market quickly and provide the kind of measurement marketers are demanding today.

“Clients actually want to know the performance of their media,” said Carr. In the past, the industry was happy with vanity metrics like click-through rates, but now real measurement and attribution has become essential.

“I think Noise and Havas are really more about laddering up to that value proposition of ‘have we actually sold something with our investment in media dollars,'” said Carr.

David Brown