How GroupM Premium Marketplace is Bringing Transparency to Programmatic Media

Marketers today face the challenging task of planning, buying and measuring video campaigns against a unified audience within an evolving, fragmented and sometimes opaque media ecosystem.

One of the ways GroupM is helping to solve these challenges is through GroupM Premium Marketplace (GPM). First introduced in February 2022, GPM is a programmatically enabled global marketplace for premium video that has proven to advance transparency and effectiveness across the digital and programmatic supply chain while reducing the “digital exhaust” of extraneous ad tech and netting more to premium publishers.

GPM, which hosts roughly 30 active advertisers, including leaders in the retail, travel and CPG spaces, is establishing itself as a destination for direct and advantaged access to high-quality inventory within a broader ecosystem where media buyers still face obstacles that lessen the value of every dollar they spend. This has profound implications across the publishing ecosystem, especially on minority-owned media and independent, responsible journalism.

“GroupM is supportive of wider initiatives that aim to bring transparency to the programmatic space, and the GroupM Premium Marketplace is our established approach to achieve that goal,” says GroupM’s Axel Jonuschies, Managing Partner of Global Investment, Programmatic. “Getting closer to publishers and connecting them into our Premium Marketplace allows us to leverage our scale whereby we create more efficiencies for our clients, win more bids, divert more costs away from unnecessary intermediaries and invest in publishers in a transparent and sustainable way.”

GPM has scaled quickly since inception. January 2023 saw the most spend through the marketplace to date, and first quarter activity is already set to outpace that of Q4 2022. The results are there, too.

The total average win rate within GPM is roughly 35%, with rates upwards of 50% in some cases, compared to an average rate of 15% seen outside of the Premium Marketplace. GroupM is also able to use its scale to provide clients better pricing models. One client, a top retail advertiser, saw CPMs were nearly one-third lower inside GPM than outside it. These efficiencies are possible because of our publishers’ direct connection into the marketplace.

In North America, this curated marketplace has integrations with 80% of top 20 connected TV publishers. Clients have preferred access to high quality premium video inventory from companies such as Fox, AMC, Univision, LG, Philo and Xumo, as well as other major entertainment companies, original equipment manufacturers and ad-supported streaming services. More sell-side integrations across different markets are set to rollout throughout the year.

“This curated supply path provides clients with validation points to ensure brand suitability and easily invest in a diverse, inclusive array of media owners,” says Jonuschies.

GroupM has long been focused on developing workstreams that create more transparency, prevent fraud and reduce unnecessary fees within the programmatic supply chain. GroupM Premium Marketplace further reinforces the company’s longstanding industry leadership and collaboration with publishers and technology partners to ensure safe, high-quality advertising experiences for consumers in both new and established media environments. The industry at large has been taking steps to address these concerns, too — initiatives that GroupM supports.

The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) and PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), for example, produced a revelatory Programmatic Supply Chain Transparency Study in 2020 that detailed the financial and brand safety shortcomings that can exist within the programmatic ecosystem, namely the “unknown delta” that represented 15% of advertising spend that could not be accounted for on an impression level, meaning it essentially disappeared from the supply chain.

ISBA and PwC, along with the Association of Online Publishers (AOP), have since formed a taskforce and released a toolkit to help media traders and tech intermediaries to help establish standards and recoup value in programmatic media. As a result, the latest updates to the transparency report from ISBA and PwC, released in late January 2023, show a significant drop of the unknown delta to 3%.

The updates from the latest transparency report, which GroupM supported, also found there is a discrepancy in lost spend between open marketplaces (3%) and private marketplaces (<1%), numbers that lend support to GroupM’s vision behind creating GPM that directly connects clients with publishers and establishes transparent partnerships with trusted tech partners Magnite and PubMatic.

“On a client-by-client basis, we can demonstrate the exact working dollar of their campaign spend,” says Rory Latham, GroupM’s senior director for global investment of programmatic. “GroupM Premium Marketplace is an auditable system where clients can execute scaled buys for bespoke inventory, which ultimately helps premium media owners understand future revenue.”

As media consumption habits change, GPM provides marketers an innovative, accountable ecosystem to seamlessly reach consumers where they are. It is another step toward GroupM’s vision of creating a new era of media where advertising work better for people everywhere, and it further strengthens GroupM’s Responsible Investment Framework, which puts purpose at the center of growth.

The GroupM Premium Marketplace is currently available in EMEA and North America and will launch in additional markets over the course of 2023 and beyond.