Digiday highlighted mPlatform which it says is “fading into the background” at WPP. mPlatform is and still could be a viable platform for WPP providing they invest more in sourcing mobile data directly in a GDPR compliant manner vs.data soup from a bunch of vendors.
GroupM launched its data and tech division mPlatform with great fanfare in 2016, billing it as an alternative to Google and Facebook that would allow advertisers to link different data assets in order to track and target people online. Three years later, the promise of the division has petered out, with talk centering more on missed opportunities than growth potential…But three years on, mPlatform has faded into the background at GroupM. It’s telling that during WPP’s latest earnings call, CEO Mark Read hailed the growth of Xaxis in the quarter but didn’t mention mPlatform. Changes behind the scenes also suggest GroupM’s priorities have shifted away from mPlatform.
Brian Gleason – GroupM
Its CEO, Brian Gleason, was promoted last year to GroupM’s Performance Media Group, which encompasses many of the same businesses mPlatform did. Now, mPlatform is headed by GroupM’s global chief product officer, Amit Seth. WPP insiders say the division is no longer a key part of the holding company’s programmatic strategy.
“Consumer identity has always been a core focus of mPlatform, as knowing something about a consumer and their proclivities inevitably assists in deciding target audiences and how to message those audiences. The advertising industry’s demand for data to build brands and sell more product is one of the reasons GroupM continues to vigorously educate the market about our data practices. We have put in place a strong consumer rights practice where we give consumers full access and ownership rights to revoke the data we capture about them. Our expertise in evaluating data sources is increasingly important to clients with the increasing focus on consumer privacy and regulation.”
Data from WPP businesses like Kantar and Millward Brown would be linked to third-party data and data owned by advertisers via the MiD it hoped would one day rival consumer identifiers from Google and Facebook. The problem for mPlatform was sourcing data after the arrival of the GDPR. For it to work to its potential, mPlatform had to tap into third-party data from vendors and app owners, which under the GDPR would require those businesses to explicitly inform all their users that their data is being shared when they opt in to a service. That’s a hard model to scale when not every business that’s trading data can get the consent to do so.
Given Dentsu Aegis’ $1.5 billion acquisition of Merkle in 2016, IPG’s $2.3 billion purchase of Acxiom two years later and Publicis’ $.4.4 billion buy of Epsilon earlier this year, GroupM arguably had the right idea when it decided to buy into data and ad tech stacks with mPlatform. But the arrival of GDPR alongside a spike in advertisers who thought they could do what mPlatform pitched in-house or with other ad tech vendors made it hard for that idea to become anything more.
Comscore and Xandr, AT&T’s advanced advertising and analytics company, today announced that Comscore will be the measurement and currency provider for Xandr’s Addressable offering, inclusive of DIRECTV, Altice USA, and Frontier. The partnership is designed to give advertisers reliable third-party measurement across the leading national live linear addressable footprint.
Dan Rosenfeld, VP Data Strategy at Xandr
“We are excited to have Comscore as our addressable measurement partner. We’ve relied on Comscore for our own DIRECTV addressable measurement for more than five years and look forward to extending to our expanded offering. With its years of experience in addressable advertising measurement, Comscore represents a currency that advertisers can rely on,” said Dan Rosenfeld, VP of Data Strategy, Xandr.
By leveraging independent measurement from leading third-party providers in the space, Xandr is committed to providing advertisers access to comprehensive measurement and insights in their Addressable campaigns to improve performance and drive ROI. Xandr’s Addressable offering is powered by AT&T’s first-party data, combining set-top box data with anonymized subscriber data to create highly targeted consumer segments. With Addressable, advertisers can reach the right audience regardless of time or platform, in both live and playback modes.
“Addressable advertising has been seen as the holy grail of the industry for decades, but it has been held back by an ability to scale,” said Scott Worthem, senior vice president, strategic partnerships for Comscore. “We’re thrilled to partner with Xandr on this industry-leading solution that will make it easier for brands to unlock the value of addressable.”
Comscore (SCOR) is a trusted partner for planning, transacting and evaluating media across platforms. With a data footprint that combines digital, linear TV, over-the-top and theatrical viewership intelligence with advanced audience insights, Comscore allows media buyers and sellers to quantify their multiscreen behavior and make business decisions with confidence. A proven leader in measuring digital and TV audiences and advertising at scale, Comscore is the industry’s emerging, third-party source for reliable and comprehensive cross-platform measurement. To learn more about Comscore, click here.
Xandr is creating a better solution for advertisers and publishers, through consumer insights and powerful technology, built on more than a decade of AppNexus’ buy- and sell-side innovation. As a leader in advanced TV advertising, our curated marketplace of premium video inventory, Community, offers valuable audiences at-scale, in a brand-safe environment. Xandr is rooted in a tradition of responsible data usage. For more than 143 years, AT&T has used data and technology to inform and improve the consumer experience.
According to a report by WSJ, “Twitter plans to remove 3rd party data sources from its ad-buying system, becoming the latest tech company to put more distance between itself and third-party consumer data providers. The company currently offers data from outside firms to help advertisers target users on its platform, but early next year the company will end that integration and require advertisers to buy data on their own.”
Skydeo CEO Mike Ford said, “This is great news for data companies that have relationships with advertisers, agencies and who have sourced data with consumer consent. We have been a proponent of “Bring Your Own Data” since we started the company.” Skydeo works directly with advertisers and agencies to provide privacy-compliant, custom audience segments that can be activated directly in Twitter, Facebook and other ad platforms.
John Lee, Dentsu Merkle
It would appear that Twitter, like Facebook, is seeking to distance themselves from the perceived risks associated with third-party data,” John Lee, chief product and data officer at Dentsu Aegis agency Merkle, said. “By requiring advertisers to upload the data from their first-party seat, these platforms are ensuring that advertisers, not the platform or agency, is taking the accountability for the provenance and permissibility of the data they are injecting.”
Megan Pagliuca, Chief Data Officer
Megan Pagliuca, chief data officer at the ad-buying agency Hearts & Science, said Facebook’s move was good because clients should take responsibility for their own data strategy and build their own custom segments. “While it was a little inconvenient process-wise, we think it was the right thing strategically for our clients and business,” she said.
Closer relationships with data providers could push advertisers to create more granular audience targets instead of relying on “off-the-shelf” segments offered through Twitter, Ms. Pagliuca said. That could lessen the direct competition for certain audiences and potentially reduce costs.
More and more advertisers are taking their marketing functions in house. The Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital acquisition of Mighty Hive demonstrates the types of investments being made to capitalize on the trend.
According to CNBC and Adweek stories and confirmed by WPP’s Chief Executive Mark Read, Walmart had decided to take its digital advertising in-house and away from WPP’s agency Triad, a blow given the likely value of the Walmart business.
“It’s the latest move in a trend that reflects the greater control brands want over their advertising teams: The Association of National Advertisers in the U.S. found that 78 percent of its members had some kind of in-house agency in 2018, versus 58 percent in 2013. Some brands are looking to in-source different elements of their marketing, including digital advertising, creative or design and media buying.”
“For hotel reservation site Booking.com, running a lot of marketing using in-house teams makes sense because of the volume of online ads it needs to create…But Booking.com’s Chief Marketing Officer Pepijn Rijvers said that while setting up in-house functions does carry a large outlay — he has around 50 people working on media planning, ad design and audience research — it’s an investment that has been worth it.”
“GDPR has also meant that some companies are bringing data marketing in-house, and because of the risks involved if something goes wrong, the C-suite is now more invested in data, says Manning at MediaLink. “It’s actually at the heart of a company because the risk profile associated with it now is so great, particularly if you have a data breach, particularly if you infringe GDPR you can’t afford (to take that risk). Data has now become a board level area of interest, as opposed to just being a marketing area.”
Managing data and audiences can be costly and time consuming for one single advertiser to manage. Skydeo helps advertisers BYOD – “bring your own data” to Facebook, Google and programmatic platforms by licensing our mobile marketing platform as data as a service.