CANNES – Over the next couple of years, ensuring digital brand safety for marketers will become table stakes for publishers. In the meantime, GroupM is shifting the conversation with its clients to how ads perform better in truly brand-safe environments.

“I think we’re moving into a stage where brand safety will become a commodity. Within a year or two years time, marketers simply won’t buy from publishers who don’t guarantee them brand safe inventory,” says John Montgomery, Global EVP, Brand Safety, GroupM. “And that’s going to be table stakes for vendors.”

This year and next, GroupM will be focusing on compliance, Montgomery explains in this interview with Beet.TV at the recent Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

“But also we’ve tried to take the brand safety conversation from limiting risk onto another level now. What we’ve found is because of the way we buy, from mainly premium publishers and in a brand-safe environment, not only are we limiting clients’ risk but the ads are working better.”

So Montgomery is trying to convince GroupM clients and the advertising community as a whole that by buying better quality, “maybe the CPM’s will not be that low or they’ll be slighter higher than they are at the moment, but it will be worth it.”

GroupM has done studies in various countries “proving that brand safety not only limits risk but it works better. Buying quality actually sells. This is where we think we should take the conversation to after brand safety becomes kind of table stakes.”

With the European Union having a month ago instituted the General Data Protection Regulation for consumers, Montgomery says it’s had a heavy impact not just in Europe but around the world.

“Particularly Google and Facebook’s decision to limit access to measurability and, in some cases, access to brand safety tags. We’re still assessing the impact of that, but certainly we have more limited programmatic now.”

Although the scandal in which Facebook user data was improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica has made the marketing community “sit up and be concerned about consumer reputation and respect for consumer data,” it doesn’t seem to have negatively impact use of Facebook, according to Montgomery.

“I don’t think consumers are as concerned as we may think in the marketing community, which is good news because it gives us time to act and respect consumer data.”

This video is part of a series produced by Beet.TV at Cannes Lions 2018 about advertising accountability presented by Mediaocean. Please find more videos from this series here.