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World’s biggest media buyer GroupM hires John Montgomery as its online standards enforcer

GroupM is intent on raising the bar in digital advertising by tasking John Montgomery with expanding ad accountability and clamping down on fraud globally.

As brand safety officer, Montgomery, also executive vice president, will work to ensure “the highest standards for digital advertising viewability, third-party audience verification, and anti-piracy controls”.

He will work with digital advertising and media trading experts at Mindshare, MEC, MediaCom, Maxus, Essence, Xaxis and scores of regional companies to create a set of global safety standards to clean up ads across the board.

He reports to Rob Norman, global chief digital officer. On the appointment, Norman said: “Clients want to know their brands are safe and that the digital components of their media plans are effective in every region in which they operate.  And importantly, they deserve to get what they’re paying for - the engagement of their targeted audiences with their brand messages, accountably and safely.  

On why Montgomery was selected, he added: “John is one of the world’s foremost authorities on digital brand safety. He holds the respect of clients, media partners, and regulators for his innovative thinking and practical approaches to making digital advertising respectful of consumers, more effective for advertisers and consequently a viable business for publishers.”

Montgomery added that GroupM’s advocacy for higher quality standards in digital in the US “continues to be challenging, but rewarding,” claiming that the entire “industry has benefited,” from its work.

“The US digital marketplace is today a better platform for advertisers, and this ultimately makes it a stronger ecosystem for content owners and consumers over the long-term… Marketing is increasingly a global enterprise and it demands a borderless ecosystem that shares in basic standards, practices and nomenclature supporting brand safety. I am excited to help GroupM drive this agenda.” 

Niall Hogan, UK managing director and strategic development lead for Integral Ad Science's EMEA business, said: “We welcome this appointment by GroupM, as it reassures advertisers that the industry is taking the challenges around brand safety in digital advertising seriously.  This is a great first step in addressing advertiser's demands for a more transparent digital ecosystem and we would expect other agencies to follow suit.” 

Theo Theodorou, general manager, xAd EMEA, said: "GroupM is wise in taking this proactive move, proving how seriously agencies and brands are taking the issue of brand safety. With the digital marketspace being so crowded, it’s getting harder for advertisers to know what they have paid for and to have confidence in it, especially with so many of those touchpoints effectively marking their own homework.

"Initiatives like ComScore third party measurement product Location Lift, a solution that uses xAd to directly measure store visitation based on bricks and mortar footfall, will become more prevalent as brands push more for independent verification. But wider industry acknowledgment and collaboration will be required to rectify these issues."

Featured by The Drum

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