GroupM, the media investment management group of WPP yesterday launched [m]PLATFORM, which is designed to allow its clients to link hundreds of disparate data sources and track consumers around the web.

A cursory reading of responses on LinkedIn shows the news has generated a lot of excitement from marketers around the world.

Brian Gleason, most recently Global CEO of Xaxis, was named yesterday as the  CEO of [m]PLATFORM.

Brian Gleason
Brian Gleason

In one sense it’s competing with Google, Facebook and others on the identity front. That’s a good thing given the growing power of the walled gardens and their reluctance to play well with others in the sandpit.

On the other hand, this looks like a potentially problematic initiative for market diversity and consumer privacy.

Google, Facebook and Twitter users know what they are getting when they sign up for those services. They are explicitly granting permission for these businesses to behave the way they do in return to access for a service.

All those hundred’s of millions of consumer’s hoovered up by [m]Platform agreed to no such compact.

And WPP, the GroupM’s parent is a huge global business that decides how and where to spend other people’s money. That is a key qualitative difference between it and Google and Facebook, who at the end of the day are sellers not buyers.

Anyone who has worked in media knows that advertising agencies sometimes make deal share arrangements with publishers that advance both parties interests, but not necessarily to the benefit of the brands who ultimately pay the bills.

Not that we are suggesting for moment that GroupM would do that (insert your favorite smiley face emoji here).

We are suggesting however that if you are a brand thinking of leveraging [m]Platform you might want to engage your lawyers and your data compliance experts very, very early in the negotiations.

Now to the details.

GroupM describes [m]PLATFORM  as an advanced technology suite of flexible media planning applications, data analytics and digital services.

It says the platform will improve advertisers’ ability to use audience-defining insights from hundreds of data sources to find and communicate with their consumers across all media.

That puts the media buyers at GroupM agencies at a distinct advantage.

The platform is supported by a team of data scientists, technologists and digital practitioners from across GroupM specialist companies and Xaxis. 

The plan is to unify data analytics and digital services including search, social, mobile, digital ad operations and programmatic into one team delivering a completely open and fully transparent data and technology architecture.

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