[m]Platform's global chief operating officer says restructure 'was largely to help streamline the existing structure'

[m]Platform is already well received by the industry and their clients says Nicolle Pangis.

Having only unveiled [m]Platform seven months ago, the team is already well received by the industry and their clients says its global chief operating officer, Nicolle Pangis.

[m]Platform brings together of several parts of the Group M organization into a structure that supports the agencies. This includes people services like analytics, operations and optimization. The change represented a major overhaul of GroupM’s digital offering and combined its previous adtech offerings.

"It was largely to help streamline the existing structure," said Pangis. “Part of it was around media planning and buying, another part was around centralizing our technology platform and infrastructure to streamline across the group.

“Our job is to ensure that we're providing the best ideas, service and results to our clients and that is the single most important reason why we did this reorganization. The idea of the platform group and the [m]Platform group is supporting the agencies to directly support the clients. We're an underpinning layer of support to the agency team and will continue to build up the technology, the teams, the disciplines around the various organizations.”

Over the next 12 months, Pangis says that it will continue to build up the platform and its service teams will continue to work with clients to ensure that they are bringing to them the best ideas to support the agencies.

She explained: “There was a time and a place when addressable channels started growing, including display programmatic, addressable television, search and social. Those disciplines from a planning and buying perspective, it made sense to plan and buy and optimize in silos as they were nascent channels.

“Now, a big part of what we are doing as an organization at Group M, is starting to bring those disciplines together. It has come to a point in the industry that all those channels have matured to the point where you can execute from a brand steward perspective on behalf of our clients optimizing across all of those channels in a single plan, as opposed to breaking up planning and optimization in silos for those channels.”

As with many media buying agencies, brand safety has been a major topic of discussion and implementation. Pangis believes that it is an ongoing discussion that must and will continue over the next year.

“We implemented additional safety measures that we execute on behalf of our clients to ensure that we are ahead of the curve from a brand safety perspective. We heavily rely on black and white lists and we have been and continue to be market leaders around this topic. We have a discipline and people are dedicated, specifically from a regional basis, on this topic.

“Because programmatic moves so quickly, we will always have to stay on top and always implement the newest technologies and solutions to stay as far ahead of the curb as possible. Brand safety will continue to be front and center. It is not going to go away in the next 12 months.”

Pangis believes that there is also a discussion around the joining together of creative and media. She said: "I believe the US is taking a lead in the improvement of consumer experience online by leveraging appropriate data with appropriate creative to make online experiences as relevant as possible to the consumers that it sees.

“I think a topic that will continue to gain traction, is the use of data generally in the world of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Also through the lens of ensuring that the consumer experience is as positive as possible for all the brands that we at Group M represent and others represent is going to continue to be front and center as well.”

To help deliver this consumer experience, money is being pumped into the industry, Group M’s investment in Celtra being the most recent with a $15m injection. When asked what she believes are the benefits of media buying agencies investing in adtech companies, Pangis said: “From the media agencies’ point of view, if you consider what our mission is when we come into the office every day it is to ensure that we are working on behalf of our clients, that we are constantly making the best decisions to be the stewards of their media dollars across all the channels that we buy, every day. The best way that a media company can do that is the ensure that we are leveraging technologies that give us the best view with the best data, in as real time as fast as possible for us to make the best decision on behalf of our clients.

“In order for us to do that properly in the world that we currently live in, in media, you need technology to be more enabled. Technology becomes a key tool in your tool kit, it's not the only tool but it's becoming more important to be able to leverage it to make the best decisions for your client."

GroupM is a thought leader in programmatic and Pangis is getting ready to judge the upcoming Digital Trading Awards US 2017, the only awards of its kind to reward the US adtech industry.

Innovation in the industry moves quickly and according to Pangis these types of awards allow professionals to see the innovation that can come out of the agencies and spur sizeable shifts in how they think, plan and execute.

She said: “I expect to see some really innovative ideas and campaigns and I am excited to join the committee essentially to see the cutting edge of what's coming out of the digital world.

“These awards give credit to the groups that are pushing the envelope in a good way. I think being given an award such as these, essentially gives credit to the groups that are thinking innovatively, creatively and outside the box. For anyone who has been in the industry for any period of time we know that it's these sorts of ideas that really spur the most innovation the quickest. It's campaigns and technologies that allow us to leapfrog ideas that we didn't have a quarter before.”

Pangis is a judge for The Drum Digital Trading Awards USA, the only awards of its kind to reward the US adtech industry by recognizing and awarding the most innovative, creative and effective search campaigns and strategies across both PPC and SEO.

The entry deadline has now passed, but if you still want to enter please contact katy.thomson@thedrum.com.

Sponsor's for this year's event are: Media IQ, Intermarkets, Unacast, BidSwitch, Digital Remedy and Open X.

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