GroupM Strikes Preferred SSP Deal With PubMatic

GroupM PubMaticGroupM wants to move from using 40 to 50 supply partners globally to five to six partners. As part of that push to consolidate its programmatic supply chain, it struck a global deal with the SSP PubMatic.

“We want to use our scale effectively to help clients,” said Andrew Meaden, global head of investment at GroupM. As an agency, it’s prioritizing making clients’ media spend more efficient and transparent through deals directly with SSPs.

GroupM evaluated PubMatic in a series of reviews last year, and PubMatic stood out because of its global footprint, efficient pricing and the collaboration and service it was willing to commit to the partnership. “There is a price component as well that helps our clients buy more competitively,” Meaden said, while declining to go into specific contract details.

GroupM also wanted to create more transparency with the partnerships, both in terms of where its money was spent as well as accurate data about where the impressions served, Meaden said.

“Clients often talk about media cost without knowing how they’re constructed and what sites under them” Meaden said. “The important thing about take rates is not about driving those down as low as possible, because all that does is damage the ecosystem. Tech providers need to take a fair margin overall, set at competitive levels, and give the right service back.”

The deal isn’t GroupM’s first or only SSP partnership. The agency has struck a number of smaller deals, often with providers that focus on smaller geographical areas, as well as a global deal last March with Index Exchange.

By getting down to five or six partners overall, Meaden said, GroupM can give clients choice and encourage “friendly competition,” while simplifying the programmatic supply chain overall.

Publishers will benefit because they won’t need to work with dozens of partners to receive GroupM client dollars. Clients will see more efficient take rates and gain transparency by not buying through circuitous paths.

The deal won’t cut off access to publishers, Meaden underscored. “Within the programmatic marketplace, there is a lot of duplication. Publishers are often working with the same partners, so there is no loss in coverage in doing that.”

GroupM and PubMatic also plan to bring their respective product teams together, an “innovation piece,” PubMatic Chief Commercial Officer Jeff Hirsch said, that will enable the SSP to create bespoke product features that meet the agency’s needs.

GroupM expects this newly inked partnership, along with others it creates, will help as the agency tries to route more clients to buying CTV programmatically. Today, most CTV in the United States is bought manually, Meaden said. Showing clients that CTV can be bought through efficient partnerships – with added targeting and frequency management to boot – will speed up their journey to come around to automated buying of TV.