GroupM focuses its delivery path optimization efforts on over-the-top media and selects SpotX as the preferred supply-side platform for video inventory.
The partnership comes about as WPP’s media buying arms add videos to the premium supply offering in the US. With GroupM Premium Supply, customers of the agency can buy more programmatic inventory more transparently and with price advantages that result from the GroupM scale.
Esra Bacher, Managing Partner of GroupM and Programmatic Investment Lead, said the preferred partnership with SpotX includes no spending commitments. Instead, a key to the relationship is fee transparency, both to lower fees for GroupM customers and to better understand the fees SpotX charges media owners.
“This transparency will enable us to make the right decisions about how our customers can access it [inventory] in the most cost-efficient way, ”said Bacher.
GroupM took a similar move in March when it named Index Exchange the preferred SSP for display media. Now the agency is expanding its efforts to optimize the supply path to OTT as streaming becomes more popular and linear television continues to decline.
Streaming, especially on connected television, has increased and remained high during the coronavirus pandemic as people stay home and watch more content. At the same time, the pandemic has accelerated the decline in linear television. Research firm MoffettNathanson expects subscriptions to linear pay-TV to drop by 27 million by 2024.
Bacher said efforts were made prior to the pandemic to find a preferred video SSP, but that effort became a priority once the effects of the shutdowns occurred.
As part of the contract with SpotX, the SSP will create specific solutions for GroupM and its customers. Sean Buckley, COO of SpotX, said creating tools to enable, measure, and plan and forecast data is important as audience buying becomes more and more popular.
“From a product standpoint, we think it’s increasingly important to be in sync with the buy-side community,” said Buckley. “We … will continue to work very closely with GroupM to ensure that our product roadmap aligns with their needs and the needs of their customers to ensure that we solve the problems they encounter.”
As agencies invest more in programmatic channels, brands are demanding more transparency to better understand how their dollars are being spent. As a result, agencies are reviewing their supply chains to understand what fees ad tech companies charge for transactions and what data is collected during ad auctions to optimize campaigns.
A recent study by ISBA, a UK trade organization, and PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 15% of digital spending is ignored, further fueling industry efforts to make programmatic advertising more transparent.
According to Bacher, the direct relationship with publishers and agents helps to shed light on the missing expenses.
“When a customer wants to see where their investments are going, we can really give them a straight answer about which technology partners are charging how much and how we are investing their money,” she said.
GroupM Premium Supply is available in the agency’s largest market in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. This is part of a strategy that the holding group has been using to consolidate SSP partnerships for several years.
GroupM’s preferred relationships are currently limited to the display and OTT inventory. However, Bacher said the agency is open to partnering with SSPs who specialize in other formats as it continues its efforts to optimize the delivery path.