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What GroupM Wants From Connected TV: Sweeney

One of the world’s biggest media-buying agencies is rapidly increasingly its spending on connected TV ads for clients.

But GroupM is still kicking the tyres of a burgeoning range of suppliers.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Matt Sweeney, chief investment officer for GroupM US, describes spending trends and his wishlist for platforms.

Growing spend

“We’re increasingly spending and investing more and more dollars against advance TV, and this year’s upfront,” Sweeney says.

“We probably grew another 25% on top of 25% the year before. So they’re meaningful numbers there now.”

GroupM operates Finecast, its own unit dedicated to buying ads in connected TV, which has become a major source of big-brands CTV ads.

But Sweeney says the agency is having to navigate through an array of new options.

Partnership criteria

He says he is trying out supply-side ad platforms (SSPs) – software through which publishers make ads available to buyers – like that from Xandr, for these criteria:

  • “Unique and advantages data – there really are only a few that have unique and advantaged data in the marketplace.”
  • “Access to that data.”
  • “Supply that’s fraud-free and brand-safe and available at scale.”
  • “A technology partner that allows us to eventually leverage that on the platforms, with our own traders, and bringing our own data science and our machine learning to help find audiences at scale for our clients.”

Test and learn

Sweeney says GroupM is having to pick through a proliferating array of options.

“There has been a proliferation of new streaming services,” he says. “There are just so many different options right now.

“What we’re deciding to do is to test all, or as many as make sense for our clients, and then sort of double down and invest with the folks who are delivering the best either extension or the best experience for consumers.

“We’re looking at a combination of those factors, as we figure out who the proprietary or preferred partners are in this space.”

Drop ad prices for test

And, though connected TV ads command a premium for their ability to target viewers and support tactics like frequency capping and attribution, he is urging publishers to drop their prices.

“I’ve encouraged the partners in this space to put some skin in the game and not look for some of the high premiums that they’ve traditionally been charging as a way to sort of incent and compel clients to test it out,” Sweeney says.

“Even with some of the challenges around ratings degradation and prices, the inflation that’s been paid, (TV is)s still a pretty efficient medium to trade.

“If you want to break into that and have some of those dollars migrate over to either a new platform or a new data set, you’re going to have to cede the water a bit and incent some of those tests.”

You are watching Where We Go From Here: The Lessons and Opportunities of 2020, a Beet.TV series presented by Xandr. For more videos, please visit this page