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WPP launches digital media buying unit

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MUMBAI: WPP, the world’s largest marketing group by sales, has created a unit for buying digital media to combine its data and technology resources with the trading leverage of its GroupM agencies.

Xaxis will directly compete with products by Google and Microsoft and aims to aggregate consumer data from on- and offline sources to deliver audience profiles to clients for more targeted advertising. It comprises GroupM and WPP Digital companies B3, targ.ad, GoldNetwork, GroupM DSP, GroupM Marketplace and MEC.

Xaxis will be led by CEO Brian Lesser, who previously served as global general manager of the Media Innovation Group (MIG), WPP’s digital marketing technology company.

Advertising giants are endeavouring to capture a larger share in the ever growing market of Internet advertising and simplifying it. Simultaneously, some of the world’s biggest advertisers are also looking to consolidate their marketing mandate with fewer, bigger agencies.

WPP’s rivals, Publicis and Omnicom, already have their own digital media initiatives.

While Publicis created Vivaki in 2008, Omnicom has partnered with companies such as Google, AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo, to offer digital media tools.

Lesser said Xaxis is different because it operates a proprietary technology platform without bias to any media company, and hence can better provide objective and comprehensive insight.

GroupM Interaction CEO Rob Norman added, “As a proprietary platform, Xaxis is able to better protect client data, more effectively integrate real-time bidding with search and more seamlessly execute campaigns across multiple media owners and digital platforms.”

WPP’s introduction of Xaxis indicates the rapidly growing importance of audience buying and the demand for solutions that allow advertisers to target specific audiences directly, independent of website, app or media platform.

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