WPP launches audience buying company Xaxis

Holding company WPP debuted audience buying company Xaxis on June 27 to aggregate consumer data from on- and offline sources to deliver audience profiles to clients for more targeted advertising. The new entity is composed of GroupM and WPP Digital companies B3, targ.ad, GoldNetwork, GroupM DSP, GroupM Marketplace and MEC, according to Xaxis CEO Brian Lesser. All employees from the six companies folded into Xaxis will remain.

Xaxis’s data management platform creates audience profiles based on consumers’ online and offline activity, Lesser said.

“If you’re a large direct response advertiser, what you can do through Xaxis is track literally every impression, every click, every interaction on either the advertising campaign, the website, online video, paid social, or mobile devices,” said Lesser. “Over time what we do is build up a profile of that user and a lot of the attributes of that profile are observed through behaviors, and some of them are actually augmented with other sources of data that we get from partners.”

The company is also able to pull data from offline campaigns such as direct mail, said Lesser, and correlates that data’s segment information with Xaxis’s cookies. He said that Xaxis makes sure to strip any personally identifiable information from that data in order to create an anonymized consumer profile.

Lesser reports to a board of directors made up of WPP and GroupM executives, including GroupM global CEO Irwin Gotlieb, GroupM Interaction CEO Rob Norman and WPP Digital CEO Mark Read. WPP and GroupM had been planning the creation of Xaxis since the fourth quarter in 2010, said Lesser.

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