GroupM Integrates Data on Billions of Consumers in One New Platform

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Xaxis Global CEO Brian Gleason was named to run the new mPlatform as CEO.
Xaxis Global CEO Brian Gleason was named to run the new mPlatform as CEO. Credit: GroupM

GroupM, the world's largest buyer of advertising, is introducing a technology suite designed to let agencies within its sprawling parent company, WPP, access data on billions of consumers from a wide range of sources.

The system, called mPlatform, brings together digital and data analytics services for mobile, social, search and programmatic advertising. It revolves around GroupM's ongoing efforts to attach all data sources it manages to a persistent consumed identifier it calls mID.

The new data tech structure will connect WPP data sources including Kantar, Wunderman and Millward Brown with third-party data and the proprietary data of its marketer clients, tying it to the common ID. Around 5,000 people working within WPP's various agencies around the world will access the new tech platform, media planning tools and reporting dashboard, which encompasses data on 1.5 billion to 2 billion consumers, GroupM said. The platform essentially is an enhanced, streamlined system representing a culmination of the integrations of various technology acquisitions and in-house tech developments.

"It's a significant data set that we're sitting on today and it's got massive scale globally," said Brian Gleason, who was named CEO of mPlatform. He had been global CEO of WPP programmatic arm Xaxis. A successor at Xaxis will be named in the near future, a GroupM spokeswoman said.

MPlatform will allow agency staff to get a holistic view of a population associated with desired demographic categories across all media, for example. "That's a fundamental change," Mr. Gleason said.

"Long-term there will be more integrations," he added. "You can imagine how this will work from a data integration standpoint. We'll work within the WPP family."

WPP's Data Alliance, the firm's division that assists data acquisition and integration for its agencies, will also play a role, Mr. Gleason said.

Xaxis, home of the consumer identification process and technology now being applied for mPlatform, is at the core of the new initiative. A lot of the data assets that will flow through the new system come from Xaxis, said Mr. Gleason, noting that Xaxis Chief Operating Officer Nicolle Pangis helped lead the process from an engineering and data science perspective.

Four regional presidents will report to Mr. Gleason, including MediaCom North America CEO Phil Cowdell, who was named North America president of mPlatform, and Xaxis Latin America CEO Lucas Mentasti, who was named Latin America president of mPlatform. Mr. Cowdell's duties at MediaCom will be assumed by U.S. CEO Sasha Savic and Canada CEO Kevin Johnson. A successor to Mr. Mentasti at Xaxis, along with mPlatform leaders for the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East and Africa regions, have yet to be named.

Global data integrations with consumer IDs will continue in the coming months, Mr. Gleason said. "We will continue to innovate and push for the way that we use data across the organization, and I think there's going to be a level of accountability and measurement."

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