John Montgomery, the freshly anointed executive vice-president of brand safety at WPP’s Group M, admits he’s sticking his head above the parapet with his new job. He is tasked with rolling out strategies to deal with ad fraud, viewability, brand safety and ad-blocking across Group M’s global markets.
All are becoming expensive problems for media agencies, but ad fraud is the most pressing. Up to £31bn of client money is spent on ads never seen by humans, according to the World Federation of Advertisers. Montgomery can’t solve ad fraud, but claims he can help ensure that Group M clients’ adspend isn’t included in that £31bn figure.
The network’s clients include Nestlé and Unilever, both of whose senior marketers have been vocal on ad-blocking, fraud and viewability. Unilever declined to comment for this article, but chief marketing and communications officer Keith Weed last year called for "real action" on ad fraud.
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