GroupM, the media investment group that sits within the world’s largest advertising holding company WPP, is forming a new data and technology unit called mPlatform.
MPlatform will be led by Brian Gleason, currently the global CEO of Xaxis, WPP’s programmatic advertising platform.
Xaxis, which now has more than 2,000 staff, will sit under Gleason’s mPlatform unit, alongside other GroupM-owned companies that are specialists in data, technology, and digital — such as Connect and Catalyst.
Speaking to Business Insider, Gleason said the reshuffle was enacted on the insight that “less than 10%” of its clients have a “single view” of their customer. Marketers have lots of separate data — from in-store footfall, to social media metrics, and online advertising analytics — but not necessarily the ability to connect it together to know whether that specific Facebook fan, who saw that online ad, went on the next day to buy a pair of shoes.
MPlatform is creating what it is calling an “mID” — a piece of code that will act as a consumers’ ID as they switch across display advertising, mobile, video, apps, and using offline loyalty programs.
Gleason said: “mID is beyond a cookie. It’s code that pulls [data] together. The interesting thing is what’s sourcing into it. mID can be any type of data, a single point of truth, from first-party data, to third-party, offline, online, it’s all aggregated. Think about it as a translation tool … it gives our customers the ability to have a 360-view [of their audiences] which is significant.”
mID bears a close resemblance to Apple ID, Google ID, or Facebook ID. They’re the account you use for everything you do across those companies’ various apps, sites, and services. They are also the unique IDs that advertisers use to target and track consumers across those services.
But the problem for an advertising platform like GroupM is that consumers don’t sign up to use any of its services, so it doesn’t have that login data. By connecting more of its companies together under mPlatform, it can link up data from several sources — including WPP-owned companies Wunderman, Kantar, and Millward Brown, plus GroupM’s own data from agreements with media partners — to make it more accurate and useful.
Gleason says mID is PII compliant — meaning it will only aggregate data, rather than letting advertisers target or track specific people based on their personally identifiable information.
He added: “mPlatform will bring together addressability across all media. When agencies plan, they will have the ability to plan — from search, to linear TV — in a fluid fashion. It will bring accountability at the same time: the ability to evaluate different inventory sources on a common platform.”
Ultimately, mPlatform is also a way for GroupM to simplify all of the digital, data, and technology businesses it has acquired over time. Some older company brand names may fade out as a result.
mPlatform will be split into four divisions:
- mCore: The data platform where mID will sit.
- mInsights: A media-planning tool.
- mAnalytics: An analytics unit.
- mReport: A data dashboard.
The launch of mPlatform comes in the same month GroupM North America streamlined its operations and made leadership changes, including switching chief investment officer Rino Scanzoni into the new role of chairman and CEO of the company’s addressable TV group, plus Modi Media, and Midas Exchange.
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