Google GroupM ad deal to help shore up 'scarce' premium video inventory

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 16 October 2014

Google and GroupM have inked a deal that will see the agency be the exclusive partner of the Google Preferred program for 2015. GroupM says it reflects a shift in the way the agency network views online video.

Neither Google of GroupM would be drawn on the commercial value of the deal, but it will see GroupM’s client’s offered exclusive access to what it deems its most premium content.

The deal, previously rumoured earlier this week in the Australian Financial Review, was unveiled at Google’s Brandcast event last night (15 October) where YouTube rolled out host of its content creators including Aussie teen sensation Troy (pictured) and brand partners like Vice and Toyota to spruik the new offering, finishing the night with a short set from Aussie mega band Empire of the Sun.

Danny Bass, GroupM chief investment officer, told AdNews the move was about changing the way GroupM has viewed viewed YouTube in the past, which was as a digital channel receiving digital budgets. Now it will come from mainstream budgets.

He added that it's not designed to “artificially inflate” spend on YouTube, but offer advertisers a clear view of what they would pay for campaigns on TV and what they would pay on YouTube and the reach they would get. The mDesk platform the agency group has launched as part of the deal is able to retrospectively go back and look at individual TV spots from the past three years.

“Next year video is going to get scarcer and scarcer – in terms of video that we would class as what we'd put in front of clients. There's lots of garbage out there, and very unsafe [inventory]. We’ve had this policy that we only buy from trusted services but unfortunately there are people who sell on and sell on and sell on [inventory], so you think you’re buying one thing, but [the ad] ends up somewhere else. We knew premium video has high demand and the inflation that we expect over the next few years, because it’s a sellers market, would not be sustainable for our clients.”

Earlier in the night bass told the 800-strong crowd: “It's clear to us that YouTube is seeing rocket propelled growth and huge engagement from audiences. Our clients expect us to be ahead of shifts in behaviour, and lead the market… We really believe that tapping into influential, connected audiences is the next generation of content, and key to the evolution of our success, and our clients’ success.”

Peter Vogel, CEO of GroupM's MEC, told AdNews that while many clients were already spending a lot on YouTube, the deal means better targetted ads, and a brand safe environment.

"The question all clients are grappling with is how to engage more deeply online. They know they can't just run their TV ads online, they have to go deeper than that and they need people who can help with content," he said.

Lisa Bora, Google Australia head of agency, added though that Google maintains strong partnerships with other media agency groups and creative agencies, stressing to AdNews that Preferred content only accounts for a small proportion of its inventory.

For more on the deal and YouTube's BrandCast, pick up the next issue of AdNews in print, out Friday 17 October.

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