In a bid to keep clients from moving their programmatic operations in house, GroupM, the media agency network under WPP, is building a less constrictive alternative for its programmatic buying arm Xaxis. The alternative is a system in which clients work with whichever ad-tech vendors or data-management platforms they choose – Group M will suggest preferred partners AppNexus and The Trade Desk – while its individual agencies (MEC, Mindshare, Mediacom and Maxus) manage the programmatic execution.
It also invites clients and their individual agencies to buy inventory directly from Xaxis without requiring that Xaxis control the entire programmatic buying process or that clients sign a non-disclosure contract. Currently, clients who buy digital media through Xaxis’ automated buying systems are asked to sign non-disclosure contracts that prevent them from seeing the breakdown in the fee they pay the agency, which bundles the agency’s cut, the cost of the media that Xaxis owns, and other affiliated costs such as the technology and data and analytics used to target specific audiences online.
WPP has invested a lot in Xaxis over the past few years and has more recently taken steps to eliminate fraud in digital ad buying. This June, Xaxis spent $25 million on its own data management platform. In related news, GroupM has also recently created a chief data and analytics role. Harvey Goldhersz, North America CEO and global chief operating officer at GroupM agency Mediacom, will move into the newly created role as GroupM chief data officer and CEO of analytics.