Time flies when you are having fun! Xaxis, incredibly, is turning ten this year.
When the company was founded back in June 2011, we were the first agency-owned programmatic trading specialist. An instant beacon for the nascent programmatic talent around WPP and GroupM, Xaxis quickly became global, with 111 people serving 400 clients in 11 countries by the end of our first year. At the time though, programmatic advertising accounted for just 10% of digital display ad budgets and only 500 million people were online in the countries we operated in.
Ten years later, more than 72% of the $389 billion in digital advertising globally will be spent on ads delivered programmatically to a global audience of more than four billion people. And, as audio, TV and outdoor all go through their own programmatic transformation, it is clear that programmatic is rapidly becoming synonymous with digital. Recent history proves that wherever media can be traded programmatically, it will be. The benefits – addressability, automation, data-informed creatives to name but a few – are just too compelling for advertisers. At its best, programmatic media has the potential to make advertising better for everyone, including consumers.
Navigating this increasingly complex landscape is not easy, and frankly, it never was. From the very beginning, we understood that we would have to be creative and innovative to stay ahead of the relentless pace of innovation and harness the full potential of this profoundly transformative technology. With [m]Insights (or Turbine as it was known then), we launched one of the first audience data management platforms in the industry. A few years later, we created Copilot, our own AI platform, to leverage advances with machine learning techniques and easily apply them to media buying to deliver better outcomes for our clients.
Throughout the last ten years, we had to become comfortable with constantly reinventing ourselves and relying on our data, technology, and, perhaps most crucially, our people, to continue to innovate on behalf of our clients.
For all the sophistication of our own developments in machine learning and custom algorithms over the last five years, we are still convinced that talent remains the bedrock of innovation. Proudly, media and Xaxis remain a people business and, while we intend to continue to develop proprietary technology and to partner with the rest of GroupM and WPP to transform media into business outcomes, it is our incredible people – now 1,500 of them in 47 countries – who will have the biggest impact on achieving our goal of making advertising more valuable for our clients and for all of us.
“Throughout the last ten years, we had to become comfortable with constantly re-inventing ourselves.”
10X10: A year to celebrate
At a time when the pace of change in technology, privacy regulation, and consumer behaviours is only accelerating, we should remind ourselves that brands need our help more than ever. Our clients are besieged with oft-conflicting information, pitches, and industry jargon, and operate in increasingly complex and fragmented environments. Our job is to help them navigate through it all and make the complex simple by focusing on making advertising work better for their business and for all of us.
So, to mark our ten-year anniversary, we’ll be celebrating throughout 2021 with some thought starters on the ten key trends that we believe all modern marketers should think about; topics like the role AI could play in our industry; how the rise of gaming translates into opportunity; where and how e-commerce will have the biggest impact; what the forthcoming boom in DOOH could mean for your overall programmatic strategy.
Our 10X10 series will aim to offer in-depth insight on each trend from thought leaders inside and outside of Xaxis, our partners, our clients, our competition - the people who live and breathe at the bleeding edge of programmatic media.
We hope that you will find it valuable and that it will help you pick up the signal from the noise, so we can more confidently address the collective challenges and opportunities we are facing as an industry. We have accomplished a lot in the last ten years, but it will take all of us at our innovative best to make the most of the next ten and make advertising better for everyone.
Buckle up, it should be an exciting ride!