GroupM recently promoted veterans Kieley Taylor and Amanda Grant to global head of partnerships and global head of social, respectively, as part a strategic move aimed at strengthening the company’s relationships with Google as well as Amazon, Spotify, Twitter and others.
Taylor, previously global head of social, will focus heavily on Google as she designs and implements WPP’s media investment arm’s partnership strategy, part of GroupM’s “one voice” approach.
While agency groups have long maintained close partnerships with platforms, key opportunities remain untapped, according to Taylor.
“It’s a really good time for me to be taking on this new responsibility because this is the time of year we are refining our joint business plans with key partners,” she told AdExchanger. “We traditionally kick off delivery of these plans at [the Consumer Electronics Show in January] but the leg work is happening now and will be directly tied to 2021 and beyond.”
Asked how she thinks the pandemic will impact WPP’s Google investment, Taylor said she couldn’t discuss figures but said that “investment into performance media and commerce have expanded rapidly due to COVID impacts and behavioral changes.”
She said GroupM prioritizes a “one voice” approach to its work on Google, coordinating campaigns across search, YouTube and other Google services.
Asked what YouTube would need to do to capture TV ad budgets from GroupM , Taylor said, “I think there’s a broad acknowledgement [from YouTube] around actions taken to improve brand safety and making sure there are suitable ad adjacencies for when we buy YouTube. We continue to consider them for their reach extension capabilities and budgets reflect this approach.”
In addition to brand safety, key client concerns about Google revolve around election security, inventory transparency and access to exclusive ad inventory.
“We will explore different areas to give clients an advantage above the auction-based inventory that Google offers,” she said. “The partnership helps our advertisers get through what is a challenging time during COVID, and if our campaigns are more efficient and if we’re able to deliver good experiences, performances and outcomes to outmatch category competition, that’s a win for everyone.”
For her part, Grant expressed excitement about working with platforms that are currently expanding their global footprint – such as video-sharing app TikTok – saying that it’s important for GroupM’s global clientele to “have highly relevant and scaled options that can align to an overall strategy.”
“Our interest in evolving partnerships around key pillars like commerce will continue to be a major focus, as the platforms continue to roll out advancements by market,” she told AdExchanger. “Where parity with a platforms’ offering may differ regionally, it highlights the continuing need for attention to local platforms of scale.”
Taylor takes over a role previously held by Andrew Meaden, who was promoted to global head of investment strategy earlier this year. Meanwhile Grant, who previously served as head of social for the North America and Asia Pacific regions, will advance the group’s social commerce strategy and regional and global measurement “to help push the industry forward and evaluate new tactics for client success,” the company said.
Both Taylor and Grant bring extensive experience within GroupM, having served in varying roles over 10 years. The promotions come during a period of surging consumer use of – and ad spending on – tech platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With global platform spend continuing to grow each year, these are crucial roles for us,” Christian Juhl, GroupM’s Global CEO, said in a statement.