[Interview] Katie Blair, Director, Northern Europe, Xandr
Xandr operates a technology platform that facilitates and optimises the buying and selling of digital advertising, across premium media properties spanning advanced TV, display and mobile. Katie Blair the Northern Europe Director elaborates.
What does Xandr do?
Xandr operates a technology platform that facilitates and optimises the buying and selling of digital advertising, across premium media properties spanning advanced TV, display and mobile. Previously known as AppNexus, a technology company with a 10 year history of innovation, we were acquired by AT&T in 2018.
How do you distinguish yourself from the competition?
Xandr has built and continues to build technology for both buyers and sellers to simplify and optimise the advertising ecosystem for everyone, especially consumers. As a platform with an SSP, DSP and ad server we are able to offer our customers the holistic technology to manage their business.
With the backing of a leading global company like AT&T, we have size, scale and resources to solve the complexity media companies face.
Xandr still maintains an open approach and equal value proposition to all our partners, and we are deeply committed to the open internet with a level playing field as a founding principle.
Some examples of this commitment include: our support of the header bidding solution prebid.org where we open sourced the first version in 2015 and our collaborative approach to GDPR, by being a leader and partner with the IAB in the creation and adoption of the Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF), versions 1.0 and 2.0.
How did the collaboration with DPG Media come about?
We have been working with Sanoma Media Netherlands as their ad server since early 2017. We have also been working closely with DPG Media across their SSP business. When DPG Media acquired Sanoma Media earlier this year, DPG Media invited us to discuss further collaboration. The first phase saw DPG Media proposing a combined offering of inventory across our curation platform. Following planning, testing and integration, we are thrilled to now provide their ad server technology.
How do publishers like DPG benefit from your expertise?
By using the Xandr ad server, publishers leverage our four key principles – Openness, Control, Diversification and Partnership. Our openness allows them to transact through our platform with buyers without constraints. We do not favour our demand and we provide access to bid landscape data to understand how buyers are bidding and the outcomes of the auction. Our platform allows them to be in control of their own strategy through our transparent ad decisioning and delivery.
Flexible campaign tools and priorities control delivery, pacing, and auction mechanics allowing customers to be completely in control of their demand landscape. We offer diversification to our ad server clients so they are not reliant on walled gardens and many other partners have seen their buying mix move away from over-reliance on one partner.
Lastly, and the one I think is the most important in our principles is partnership. Our interests are aligned with theirs. We support them with an experienced team who understand publishers needs and how to help them get the best out of the technology. They join an ad server community that meets twice a year that helps shape our product and our approach to industry challenges.
What are holistic inventory and demand management solutions? What makes it "holistic"?
Simply put, having your ad server and SSP as one allows a publisher to evaluate all demand – both direct and programmatic at once and maximise their yield. Publisher’s direct businesses are still their table stakes but programmatic in some markets is even more important and publishers need the tools to be able to granularly control how their inventory is traded. Our open dynamic allocation maximises yield through a fair and competitive auction whether it is sold through Direct, programmatic guaranteed, deals or open market – this is what is holistic.
What are data-driven yield optimisation forecasting tools and how can they be used by customers?
Publishers want to be able to maximise their yield across their inventory – to be able to do this they need to be able to understand and manage the availability of their inventory. Guaranteeing delivery to buyers yields additional CPMs, but a publisher needs to be able to understand what will be available, not just day to day but in high volume periods or through changing seasonality. The Xandr ad server takes advantage of our proprietary yield analytics data to inform planning, pacing and delivery of programmatic and direct campaigns. To provide an example, a Publisher may have a guaranteed campaign which is competing alongside other programmatic campaigns – our yield optimising tools know when we can take advantage of higher bids in programmatic without jeopardising the delivery of the direct campaign due to the forecasting insight.
What is the latest news?
Our focus in the Netherlands at the moment is on building growth in the region as well as our relationships with buyers, sellers and industry stakeholders.