WPP Creates Audience and Data Unit

Ad holding company WPP has consolidated its existing audience-based buying technologies and data platforms and re-housed them in a new unit dubbed Xaxis. The company will provide centralized data-informed ad services for clients of its GroupM media agency family, which includes its Mindshare and Mediacom brands, among others.

Existing WPP technologies and platforms now rolled up in the Xaxis brand include B3, targ.ad, GoldNetwork, GroupM DSP and the GroupM Marketplace. The group hopes that streamlining and combining those efforts under one roof will help deliver greater efficiencies for its clients, and ultimately its own business.

“It’s expensive to develop audience-based technologies, and to acquire the data to accompany them… This makes it more efficient for us to operate and allows agencies to offer a consistent solution globally,” explained Xaxis CEO Brian Lesser, who previously served as global general manager of WPP’s digital marketing technology company, the Media Innovation Group.

Xaxis will act as a central data warehouse for WPP customers, and is designed to help them target and acquire audience-based display, video, mobile, and social media inventory across a range of sources, such as ad exchanges and networks. “Advertisers want benefits oriented solutions; they’re not focused on one particular technology,” Lesser said.

The firm also intends to integrate offline data to help its clients gain deeper insights into their customer bases, and to more effectively measure the impact of their online efforts on consumers’ offline behaviors. For example, the company can already match offline shopping data gleaned from WPP’s market research firm Kantar with online user behavior. “Advertisers can use offline attributes to help target their online campaigns,” Lesser said, adding that purchase behavior information can also be tracked to judge the effectiveness of online ads.

Xaxis will launch a range of products geared towards specific advertisers and campaign goals, Lesser said, including solutions for direct response and brand-oriented marketers. At launch the company will have a presence in 11 countries across North America, the UK, Europe and Australia, and has plans to expand into additional markets later this year.

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