Blunt Force Trauma. GroupM co-owners of advertiser data?

Liam Walsh writes: Ben took a look at this but focused his attention on other elements of it.

What a genuinely curious position for GroupM to take on changing T&C.

I completely understand the problem they are trying to solve, the issue of publishers and networks using data from one advertiser and selling it to another. It isn’t something that happens a lot here but it could.

The response of GroupM to change terms and conditions unilaterally feels a very blunt instrument indeed. Is it really necessary and is it accurate?

The language in the documentation specifies that the “agency/advertiser” own the data.

“All data generated or collected by the Media Company in performing under this Agreement shall be deemed ‘Confidential Information’ of Agency/Advertiser.”

These two bodies are not the same thing and it feels like an ugly custody dispute the day when the advertiser and the media agency part ways. I am sure the Group M agencies are excellent but clients change agencies fairly regularly.

It is also unusual that the media agency would co-own the data while the strategic agencies, creative agencies, website developers all have no rights?

Also I wonder if the GroupM contracts with their customers specify that GroupM co-own the data from all campaigns. If they owned it then potentially GroupM could use the data for other advertisers?

There may well be more to it but at face value this feels a hasty move.


5 responses to “Blunt Force Trauma. GroupM co-owners of advertiser data?

  1. In my past life at Nielsen, one of the major sticking points of any contract was the question of ‘who own’s the data’?

    The clients naturally wanted to own the data, (and rightly so) but if this was permitted our other products (Industry reports / Market Intelligence etc) would cease to exist. We wanted to own the data so it could be used for other products. It’s interesting to see these arguments are still going on and also suprising it took so long to happen given the abundance of campaign data.

  2. Aus Media Buyer

    Would the GroupM change in T&C’s be confusing/concerning for you as your business model at DrivePM relies on the premise that you are free to use one clients data to target another client for another agency?

    In using most re-targeting and behavioral targeting techniques you can use the responses of a consumer to target another consumer so you use less ad-space to find a customer with a propensity to transact. Effectively you are using clients data against them but most simply look at the benefit of more targeted ad-space or the fact you are willing to work on cost-per-lead basis.

    Is it really that much of a surprise that some media agencies have figured that their spends (especially if they are one of the biggest spenders which GroupM are, especially in the states) are actually helping other agencies get more targeted and better results. If they own the data then they are within their rights to restrict it’s use to only benefit their own campaigns and not just allow networks to farm cookies.

    Both yourself and AdConion effectively rely on the fact that many media buyers don’t realise that each campaign they work with you on allows you to build your business by helping their competitors get better results. If there was no data sharing between agencies and all of their user data was removed from the pot the size of the targeting pool would be further reduced making the results less compelling to continue to use your services.

    Could this be the end of cookie farming ad networks?

  3. Hello Ausmediabuyer. This is Liam.

    I can’t speak for Adconian but I think they are the same as Drive in this regard. We don’t use the advertisers data for other advertisers.

    It is in drive’s terms and conditions.

    The assertion I am making as an individual is that the advertiser owns the data not the agency, not the developer and not the ad network.

    It is an interesting reference to cookie farming. Never heard that language before.

  4. Just seeing this post today and noticing Aus Media Buyer comments, and thought it important to reiterate Liam’s comments around Advertiser data, that it is just that – Advertisers data. Adconion does not share any advertiser data with any other advertisers. Anyone advertiser who books with Adconion is well aware of this fact as it stats it clearly on our T&C’s.

  5. Ownership of the raw data should be with the advertiser if indeed they have paid for its generation – field work or however its collected. If its an agency or publisher thats paid for its generation withe the advertiser then surely there’s a good case for co-ownernership in those cases.

    I think there is some grey between who owns the data and the other issue of who owns the insights or results. These are potentially different issues.

    The future for all of us is about database management and database analysis. Any service provider who wants to genuinely be ahead of the game is going to have to have both the systems and brains in place to deliver this. The output of this combination is arguably an area to ensure T&C’S are tight on; if you as an agency have invested in your product in order that your ability to generate real value from raw data, be it targeting or business effects, then do you co-own that output?
    If the agency/advertiser relationship comes to an end, sure the advertiser can have back all the raw data but without the brains and the systems to make it worthwhile, its just numbers. If you as an agency/publisher really believe you have that then its not really an issue at all.

    Years ago before Unilever were the organization they are at present, one of their mantra’s was ‘if only Unilever knew what Unilever knows’. It was for precisely that reason – loads of data on shelves but no idea what to do with it or what it meant.

    Owning the raw data is a basic ‘who bought it’ issue. Owning whats useful and comes from that is slightly muddier. Maybe as agencies and as publishers, we should be more focused on how much better we use it than our competitors instead of who has it.

    Its in the same ball park as creative shops an who owns IP and nobody is clear on that one yet

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