AT&T Brings Its Programmatic Spend Under One Roof

One of the largest advertisers in the U.S. consolidates on open exchange

AT&T paid a reported $1.6 billion for AppNexus in 2018. Getty Images
Headshot of Ronan Shields

AT&T, one of the largest buyers of display ad inventory in the U.S., has announced it will consolidate its programmatic ad buys on the open web to the AppNexus demand-side platform as well as its AppNexus Programmable Platform, or APP.

Essentially, that means AT&T is now exclusively using its own ad tech for media buys on the open web, when it previously worked with up to three different partners. The telco, which paid a reported $1.6 billion for programmatic outfit AppNexus before unveiling its Xandr division, will now be an early brand to experiment with new capabilities available on APP, such as next-generation TV planning and management tools.

AT&T is consistently ranked as one of the biggest spending brands in the U.S., and last year, it began experimenting with blockchain company Amino Payments to help improve transparency in its online media supply chain.

“Placing our advertising in premium, measurable, targetable and brand-safe environments is essential to our brand-building and performance-marketing efforts,” said Fiona Carter, chief brand officer for AT&T Communications, in a statement.

APP gives advertisers direct access to AppNexus’ marketplace, which offers access to multichannel inventory including video and connected TV. It also allows buyers flexibility in supply management in terms of being able to buy ads on both open exchange and via private marketplaces.

“AT&T will now serve as a case study for premium brands seeking intelligent and customized campaigns that resonate with consumers,” Michael Rubenstein, president, AppNexus, said in a statement.

@ronan_shields Ronan Shields is a programmatic reporter at Adweek, focusing on ad-tech.