Everything Xaxis does is based on delivering value back to its clients by simplifying an increasingly complicated programmatic marketplace.
“The programmatic space is extremely cluttered and confusing for clients. It’s our job to help clients understand what’s in it, and a lot of that is eliminating multiple elements that do the same thing — crossover in the data, multiple DSPs or even the multiple verification vendors,” says Rodney Perry, managing director of Xaxis Canada.
While Xaxis is a WPP company, working as the programmatic arm with GroupM’s roster of agencies and their clients, Xaxis’ programmatic products work for anybody, so it’s formed a number of direct relationships. The Xaxis platform pulls together the different pieces of the programmatic chain — buying technology, data and inventory — to deliver a single programmatic offering. It has partnerships with DSPs — including AppNexus, The Trade Desk, Google’s DoubleClick Bid Manager and Videology — with the majority of deals done in its dedicated inventory space called the Xaxis Marketplace. It features a full suite of curated vendors.
But where Xaxis’ technology really provides value for clients is in the data side of its business.
“Clients are trying to figure out how to reach the right audiences, within their budget and not waste any of that budget on people who aren’t going to respond,” says Perry. “That’s really where our expertise lies.”
Xaxis has relationships with data vendors like Blue Kai and Exelate, and also runs its own data management platforms (DMPs). Xanadu captures client-level first party data. Another, called Spotlight, is a visualization platform for clients so they can see what’s happening with their media. But its most successful and in-demand DMP is Turbine, an interest-level platform that allows clients to understand what segments consumers are interested in, demographics within that and what device they’re using.
“Turbine allows us to deliver real-time data for our clients, which has shown tremendous results in being able to deliver against their objectives because we’re not having to rely on buying data, we’re collecting that data ourselves,” says Perry.
Xaxis’ approach to programmatic has been working very well. For example, it recently helped a popular clothing retailer drive online sales with an efficient cost per acquisition while maximizing revenue per order. Xaxis had to define and reach an audience that was not only likely to buy, but likely to spend more money per order than the average shopper. It leveraged Turbine to do so, creating an audience model predictive of future transactions seeded from the client’s recent online shoppers. It achieved a 41% lower CPA than third party data providers, a 34% lower CPA than performance ad networks, and 52% higher ROI than performance ad network.
To stay on the leading edge, Xaxis innovates by actively pulling in different capabilities and products based on specific client needs, often using the international heft of GroupM to do so. Xaxis, says Perry, believes innovation can happen anywhere.
“We run in 45 markets around the world, with a core technology platform in all of those spaces, and that allows us to understand what’s happening everywhere in the world and bring those elements to all the other markets.”
In 2014 Xaxis acquired European media trading firm Bannerconnect, one of Europe’s top developers of proprietary ad technology solutions to power automated campaigns. It recently developed a light TV viewer product, built out of its office in Italy to help a client meet a specific need around reaching an audience that had migrated away from TV viewing. Another recent product it built is called Xaxis Sync, which simultaneously ties TV spots together with ads on other screens to ensure cohesive messaging to ‘second screeners’ when they’re watching TV.
Xaxis also recently created Ad Labs, a forward-looking, full-service in-house interactive creative team that caters to the delivery of dynamic ad creative.
“It’s all around the evolution of the digital space and what’s happening in the market,” says Perry.
Over the next 18 months, along with mobile, the next market evolution Xaxis will be exploiting is native advertising. Back in May it launched Berlin-based Plista in North America, a provider of solutions for native advertising and content distribution in premium environments. After that it will start looking at programmatic TV, all while spending $56 million on their tech stack this year to make sure that it continues to be an industry leader.
“We can’t sit on our laurels,” says Perry. “In this space you always have to be innovating and building.”