GroupM Ups Ed Gaffney to U.S. Investment Research Leader

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GroupM, the world's largest buyer of advertising, has promoted Ed Gaffney from director of tactical planning to head of implementation research and marketplace analysis in the U.S.

Ed Gaffney, head of investment research for GroupM in the U.S.
Ed Gaffney, head of investment research for GroupM in the U.S. Credit: Courtesy of WPP's GroupM

Mr. Gaffney succeeds and reports to Lyle Schwartz, who has been at GroupM parent company WPP in various capacities for more than three decades and recently took on the role of president of investment for North America.

Mr. Gaffney's appointment also follows on the heels of GroupM introducing a system called mPlatform that brings together digital and data analytics services for mobile, social, search and programmatic advertising. He will work closely with the mPlatform group, while leading his own team of 26 people. Mr. Gaffney is currently in the process of looking for someone to replace him in his previous role, he said.

One of Mr. Gaffney's main objectives in his new position is to look at the holistic measurement of media across video, audio and image, which includes print and display. He said the three buckets are "terribly fragmented," so he wants to look at them as a whole and in a device-agnostic manner.

Additionally, Mr. Gaffney said he wants to encourage the media vendor community, such as Facebook and Twitter, to be measured independently by third parties. "We have a couple of large vendors out there who have been resistant to that and it's starting to change, but it's not going fast enough," he said, adding that independent measurement helps with transparency and allows GroupM to do their jobs better.

In 2017, Mr. Gaffney said GroupM's Data Solutions team will be an important growth area for the company, which he created the foundation for in his previous role. The team uses single-source data, like ComScore, to help clients better reach people with the best message at the best time and figure out how it impacts sales, said Mr. Gaffney.

Last month, Mr. Schwartz's promotion was part of a GroupM management reorganization to better unify media investment and platform services. As part of the changes, GroupM Chief Investment Officer Rino Scanzoni was named executive chairman and CEO at Midas Exchange, WPP's media bartering division, and Modi Media, the advanced advertising unit of GroupM in the U.S. Mr. Schwartz succeeded Mr. Scanzoni.