GroupM is launching Xaxis, a new global audience buying unit for marketers who increasingly want direct targeting through audience buying as opposed to purchasing placement on websites, apps or other media platforms that appeal to specific audiences.
WPP describes Xaxis as an audience buying company that combines the demand–side data and technology resources of Group M parent WPP with the trading leverage of GroupM agencies into a single source. (Group M is the parent of WPP's media agencies.)
The creation of Xaxis cuts out third-party operators that have been providing audience-buying services for industry companies and creates another headache for web publishers and their direct-sales teams who already feel squeezed by industry trading desks for ad exchanges.
Brian Lesser, global general manager of the Media Innovation Group, WPP’s digital marketing technology company, has been named CEO of Xaxis. The new unit brings together a portfolio of audience-buying businesses throughout GroupM: B3, targ.ad, GoldNetwork, Group M DSP and the GroupM Marketplace. Last year the those businesses executed about 4,000 campaigns for more than 400 GroupM clients. At launch, Xaxis will operate in 11 countries across north America, the U.K., Europe and Australia and plans to expand into additional markets later this year.
Lesser, in a statement, said “Xaxis streamlines and improves advertisers’ ability to directly target specific audiences, at scale and at lower cost than any other audience buying solution…Because Xaxis operates a proprietary technology platform without bias to any media company we can better provide objective and comprehensive insight to our partners.”