Xaxis has added Thailand to its regional footprint in Asia Pacific with plans to launch in Taiwan in May, followed by Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, and Korea within this year.
By Q4, the WPP-owned audience buying unit aims to have 13 markets in the region.
The Thai operations has partnered with mInteraction, GroupM's digital unit, which would allow regional marketers the ability to implement audience buying campaigns across multiple platforms and channels through its proprietary DMP (data management platform).
Xaxis has entered Thailand faster than it anticipated due to demand from big clients such as Unilever, Nestle, and L'Oreal, which view the country as an important market, Michel de Rijk, managing director of Xaxis Asia Pacific, tells ClickZ.
By using data and technology, programmatic buying will allow marketers to reach (serve ads to) audiences instead of channels. For instance, targeting females with a specific interest and age group, he explains.
There are several reasons for the rapid expansion of Xaxis into Asia.
The audience buying arm works closely with local GroupM agencies to provide its offering into specific markets.
Its expansion is also driven by the needs of regional clients that see success in one or two markets and suggest for the services to be available in other markets in the region, de Rjik says.
While it's a good time to step into audience buying, the Xaxis exec points out the importance for marketers to understand that RTB (real-time bidding) is not the same as programmatic.
"One of my concerns right now with RTB is that they see it as an easy and cheap way to buy cheap inventory getting reach for performance and I think it's a total misuse of the technology."
Audience buying is a relatively nascent form of ad buying in the region and early adopters are said to use automated trading to drive performance campaigns.
De Rjik says Xaxis brings efficiency for clients by allowing them to buy single impressions rather than in bulk through ad exchanges as well as premium/private environment.
Timeline of Xaxis aggressive expansion into Asia:
Feb 2013: Xaxis poached Tribal Fusion exec Andy Chung as business director to head up Hong Kong operations.
Oct 2012: Xaxis opened China headquarters in Shanghai and a second office in Beijing led by Rajesh Sukhwani, managing director for Xaxis China.
Sept 2012: Xaxis appointed Arshan Saha, former Innity exec, as director to launch operations in Malaysia.
May 2012: Xaxis hired Michel de Rijk to lead its Asia Pacific headquarters based in Singapore.
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Adaline Lau, ClickZ Asia editor, oversees day-to-day editorial operations covering digital marketing from search to social media, mobile to analytics in the region. Before ClickZ, she was senior reporter at Marketing Magazine and has worked as a journalist for The Singapore Marketer and Asia Pacific Broadcasting. Connect with her @adalinelau or Google+.
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