As the Chief Digital Investment Officer of WPP’s GroupM, Ari Bluman inherently is one of the most powerful and influential people in digital media; He’s been proving that since taking on the role two years ago. But recently he shook up the entire digital media marketplace when he announced he would pull GroupM — and its clients — out of the open RTB trading by the end of 2014.
The move created a ripple effect forcing the entire industry to address the debate surrounding open market trading vs. the kind of private markets Bluman says will be GroupM’s preferred method of leveraging programmatic media-buying for the foreseeable future.
The main reason he cited was that the open RTB marketplace is simply too prone to fraudulent or undesirable inventory whereas private markets aren’t. In particular, Bluman cited the prevalence of “bot-fraud” — machines generating non-human traffic to online ads — and a significant amount of “non-viewable” impressions being traded through open RTB exchanges.
His solution was to pull out of open exchanges and cut private programmatic deals directly with bona fide publishers. Aside from weeding out undesirable audience impressions, Bluman made to the move because it helps GroupM leverage the massive marketing budgets of its clients directly with publishers instead competing with all the riff raff in the open marketplace.
While the debate surrounding private vs. public markets continues, Bluman is doing what his colleagues and bosses at GroupM have always sought to do: leverage the market clout of the world’s biggest buyer of media to get better deals for its clients.