What’s Ahead for 2016

If the ad world learned anything last year it’s that consumers are fed up with advertising.  There’s too much of it, it isn’t relevant and it doesn’t take no for an answer.

At the same time, Xaxis had one of its best years ever, passing $1 billion in billings for the first time, expanding into several new markets, launching a new performance marketing division in Light Reaction and introducing several industry-first products such as Xaxis Politics.

With 2016 still new, it’s a good opportunity to reflect on how we got here and what we need to do to continue to improve upon our position.  And in doing so, help lead the overall industry to meet the higher standards that we as a company have been advocating ever since our initial launch.

Helping clients deliver advertising that is welcome has always been our top priority.  It’s what enabled us to climb to the top of the programmatic heap and what we need to do to stay here.  Yet while this is easy to state – after all, who would say they would want to deliver unwelcome advertising – actually accomplishing it is something that much of the ad industry has stumbled with.

The result?  Ad blockers have gone from an under-the-radar existence to a prime-time role.  Ad fraud has become its own $8 billion industry according to the IAB.  And the attempt to jam as many ads as possible into limited real-estate has accentuated an ad blindness where consumers may not even see the ads that are technically right in front of them.

Xaxis clients have had an advantage in facing these challenges over the past several years.  We were the first to implement a fraud free guarantee.  Our direct publisher relationships have allowed us to get exclusive or first look access to more premium inventory across all addressable channels than any other player in the space.  Through Ad Labs, we’re bringing data to bear on the creative part of the equation with an expanding focus on programmatic creative or, as we call it, self-assembling ads.

Perhaps our biggest innovation has been Turbine, the first DMP to bring a real-time element to audience data.  Rather than knowing what consumers have done, Turbine allows us to predict what they will do and action this intelligence in real time.  Meaning ads that are significantly more timely, well received and successful.  In fact, with Turbine now in 41 countries it’s become one of the largest audience platforms in the world with 1 trillion learning events every day.

A key focus in 2016 will be to amplify the reach of Turbine, bringing our data into new platforms and environments.  Ultimately, we want to make the ad world flat, scaling our audiences to connect advertising everywhere and anywhere, whether it’s linear TV, search, native ads or even inside a walled-garden.

In short, helping make the rest of the ad world look a little more like Xaxis.

It’s an important responsibility.  While our technology, publisher relationships and leading media products have allowed us to stand head and shoulders above our competitors, we still need to operate in an advertising ecosystem that is influenced by thousands of different players.  By working to raise the bar of how our partners and even competitors operate, we have the opportunity to make the entire ad space run in a smarter, more efficient and audience-friendly manner.  Which will ultimately benefit us, our clients and consumers.

Future

Growing our direct business is another key goal for 2016, which the increasing ubiquity of Turbine will support.  Our continuing investment in people and technology will help us develop proprietary media products while increasing Turbine’s predictive capabilities.   And finding new ways to use data to inform creative, whether it’s self-assembling ads, sequential ads made possible through our flat world approach, or even helping the rest of the industry implement universal frequency capping to cut down on overbearing ads.

We may have reached the top of the programmatic space, but in the grand advertising landscape there are still many more mountains to climb.  I look forward to everyone’s efforts this year to help us bring Xaxis and the industry to new heights.