SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Advertisers are demanding greater flexibility in their media plans as rapid shifts in consumer behaviors and business conditions affect their strategies. As much as marketers want the assurance that their ads will appear at specific times during a linear television programming schedule, they also want reach the growing number of viewers who stream video on demand.

“We have seen a huge influx of available inventory through programmatic channels,” Esra Bacher, managing partner and programmatic investment lead at WPP’s GroupM, said in this Beet Retreat interview with Scott Schiller. “That’s a great opportunity for us to start really bringing in programmatic more in our kind of holistic video strategy.”

Her company has sought to cultivate strong relationships with programmers and publishers to have access to premium inventories. These ties are especially valuable as the media marketplace grows more fragmented.

“The content owners are best suited to know their inventory,” Bacher said. “You want to have a clear view into their linear and digital, so having those close relationship is really enabling the transparency.”

The beginning of the pandemic two years ago led many advertisers to tear up their marketing playbooks as they scrapped, delayed or revamped their campaigns. During lockdowns, viewers spent more time with streaming platforms to find new programming amid a dearth in sports and live events. The disruption heightened calls for more flexibility in the way networks sell their media inventories.

“Through the pandemic, our clients were looking into really ways to flexibly access the inventory, and that’s really important to us as well,” Bacher said. “We want to enable our clients to activate as they want. Programmatic is not a channel, it’s a way of activation. From that perspective, we are not really differentiating between direct or programmatic.”

She said networks are prepared to transact programmatically going into this year’s upfront sales season. Advertisers have more tools to evaluate whether they’re achieving deduplicated reach among viewers who consume video through connected devices like smart TVs and mobile phones.

GroupM last month introduced a programmatic marketplace to support buys of connected TV (CTV) inventory, along with new pricing models. The GroupM Premium Marketplace rolled out with two initial sell-side platforms (SSPs) as partners, PubMatic and Magnite.

Bacher said she expects the marketplace to expand and add more partners.

“In a year’s time, I’m expecting scaling everything through that partnership, GroupM Premium Marketplace, and hopefully to quantify the value that brings to our clients,” she said. “That’s my biggest ambition.”

You are watching coverage from Beet Retreat San Juan 2022, presented by AppScience, Infillion, MadHive, SpringServe, Univision & VideoAmp. For more videos, please visit this page.