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I'm Ruth Kirschner, Director of Advertiser Sales for
Google's DoubleClick.
Welcome to the next Hangout in our series, " Programmatic in
the Future," where we're exploring how technology is
changing the way people buy and sell advertising through
conversations with leaders in the space.
Today, I'm pleased to be hanging out with Mike
Finnegan, Director of Product Development at Xaxis, WPP's
Agency Trading Desk.
Before we begin, I'd like to remind all of you on the
Hangout to submit your questions in the comment box
on the Google+ page below.
Mike thanks for joining us today.
I would like to ask, how is Xaxis formed?
And where do you see us in the life
cycle of digital marketing?
MIKE FINNEGAN: Yeah, that's a great question.
Thanks for having me, by the way.
This is great.
I definitely appreciate the opportunity,
and to talk to everybody.
So Xaxis is a really interesting company, because
we were formed of multiple other companies within the WPP
organization, specifically within GroupM.
We were a whole bunch of companies back in 2010 and
2011 that were experimenting with different ways to buy
media and offer value back to our advertisers.
And it was a global exercise as well.
Big markets in the UK, a lot in Germany, Italy, and in the
US, were doing some really great things.
Kind of pioneering the practice of using programmatic
technology, really, in DSPs at the time, to figure out the
best way to pioneer real-time bidding practices for
And all of the little pockets of GroupM companies were doing
all the kind of similar things.
And GroupM made the decision to kind of unify all of that
and make Xaxis GroupM's, not just audience buying solution,
but really the leaders in the space within GroupM to kind of
pioneer new technology, new capabilities, and bring those
opportunities back to our advertisers and agencies.
RUTH KIRSCHNER: So you've been doing this
a long time, obviously.
I'm interested in where you see us in the life cycle of
digital marketing.
We're at a really interesting turning point, where I think
online advertising in general is reaching probably an
adolescence, which is a good way to think about it, where a
long time it was very manual to be
able to execute campaigns.
And along the way, to increase scale, we've done things like
sacrificing transparency.
And now we're at the point where transparency's at our
fingertips, and the control is more within the buyer's realm.
And because of that, we're at the point where we
supplemented high-reach buying with more transparent options,
like real-time bidding.
But were only starting to understand the capabilities of
what is beyond that?
What is the next step?
And really the buzzword that we're using a lot is
"programmatic" as a supplement to calling everything
real-time bidding.
But programmatic doesn't need to be saddled within one
channel like display.
Programmatic, a lot of conferences and publications
are talking about video and mobile.
And Xaxis is even pioneering in spaces like radio and
So really, just saying that a piece of technology is more
versatile than just its current focus today.
So continuing to expand the technology onto more channels,
and bringing more opportunities to advertisers.
RUTH KIRSCHNER: And how do you specifically see programmatic
buying, which you've just given everybody some insight
into, evolving for trading desks like
Xaxis and for agencies?
There's an interesting shift going on, where the types of
relationships that we're doing right now, a lot with private
marketplace I guess as a subset of programmatic buying,
where we are finally building relationships directly with
the publishers, and the technology comes almost
Which is really, I guess, step one of multiple steps in terms
of establishing a strategic structure and an executional
structure, and using technology to really power the
executional side of it.
So when we're looking at the structure of agency in trading
desk, we are completely in the infancy.
But what we're starting to see is that the trading desks are
able to forge these relationships.
And specifically about Xaxis, we're building relationships
on behalf of all of GroupM, where we're allowing the
agencies to say, here is my strategy.
Here's who we want to reach.
Here's how we'd like to reach them.
How can Xaxis help us do this as efficiently and as targeted
as possible?
And so, the relationships that we're building with wonderful
people in the marketplace like NBC, who's
a big Google partner--
has really allowed us to bring more bells and whistles to our
agencies and advertisers, using the same technology that
we're using right now and have been since 2010.
So we're seeing that the schism between strategy, which
is being developed in the agency, and execution, which
is being pretty much delivered by the trading desk layer.
RUTH KIRSCHNER: So there's a lot of new things happening.
You talked a little bit about private inventory.
How is that working for Xaxis, and what's making that
successful for you guys?
That's great.
Purely the evolution of RTB and programmatic, we've seen
the ability to say, we can take advantage of
relationships that agencies have had for years with great
quality publishers, but find better,
easier ways to transact.
I think that's really the thing.
There's a lot of operational efficiencies that come with
what we're doing.
We call them always-on pipes.
It's a thing you'll hear hear if you walk around our office.
The pipes are on.
Our relationships are built.
The rates are fixed.
Everything is ready to go.
The pipes are open.
We can start transacting across any advertiser
that we want to.
So I think when we're talking about what RTB offers, which
is really high-reach, a lot of transparency, we're able to
say, OK, let's start productizing the technology,
and the publisher relationships, and the things
that our advertisers want, that kind of go up the value
chain for awareness-type products.
You hear a lot in the industry that programmatic is a race to
the bottom.
And I think what we're trying to do is say, it doesn't have
to be that way.
The relationships that we're building really bring value to
the publisher, as in proper valuation of their inventory,
and back to our advertisers, because we're allowing them to
bring their audiences.
Advertisers have always wanted to find audiences on these
quality publishers, but usually they use content and
context as a proxy.
Now what we're saying is, you can have your cake and eat it
too, because we have the quality inventory.
And you have the quality audiences
that you want to reach.
And we overlay audiences on top of this quality inventory,
and we are able to build products.
Our displayed branded product is called Xaxis Premium.
And the whole promise is the fact that only quality,
hand-picked inventory, 100% programmatic, and being able
to bring audiences, whether first party or third party,
and overlay those on top of that great inventory.
And we're doing it for advertisers who want to drive
awareness, drive brand response.
And so far, so good.
Beyond that, using programmatic technology not
just for display, but video, and radio, and things like out
of home, which are emerging as well.
So we totally see the writing on the wall of that, this is
not just a one-trick pony kind of technology.
It's more abundant.
RUTH KIRSCHNER: So you talked a little bit about providing
audience, and some of the benefits to both the
publishers you're working with, as well as the agencies
that you're working with.
What do you feel are the biggest benefits of
programmatic buying?
Is it more than audience?
MIKE FINNEGAN: It is certainly more than audience.
Programmatic buying for the publishers--
I'll talk about the publishers, and then the
But the publishers benefit because we're able to build--
like I said before, always-on pipes.
They have one relationship with Xaxis, and Xaxis brings
the demand to them.
So programmatic is benefiting the publishers by actually
making the transactional part of media buying much
more easy and fluid.
For the agencies and advertisers, we really offer a
lot of flexibility, because we have over 20 private
marketplaces live, from all different SSPs, all different
types of publishers.
So it gives Xaxis the ability to be really nimble, and kind
of put really good solutions together quickly, and be able
to execute pretty much that day.
If the agency says, let's do it, we're actually in a
position to do it.
On top of all the benefits of overlaying things like, all
the viewability tracking that an agency would want to do,
all the audience verification, and any kind of data overlays
that they run as well.
So what we're doing is we're compiling raw materials.
It's kind of how I look at it is, we're using technology to
take aggregate inventory and aggregate data and make
something really good from that.
So flexibility is really the name of the game.
Instead of contracting via insertion order, and then
turning over control to a third party outside of the
agency structure, where they're managing the campaign,
our interests are purely to make sure that these campaigns
run well, and run pretty much in the best interest of the
So we maintain the control and kind of put together this
great offering that can do that.
RUTH KIRSCHNER: So there's obviously a lot that's
changing right now in this space.
I think we certainly see new entrants, new vendors, new
data, vendors, et cetera, every day.
What do you feel is really lacking in the ecosystem?
And what challenges does that create?
I've probably had numerous discussions about how--
and this is ironic, and I will say that-- technology is
really the limiting factor in the space.
This is not a Google comment.
This is an everybody comment.
This is everything.
Buyers like us and publishers will sit down and have a
wonderful conversation about how we want to transact
We'll get a deal done.
We'll discuss rates and transparency.
And then we reach out to our technology partners and say,
can you help us make this a reality?
And that's where things really start to fall apart, because a
combination of multiple third parties on both the SSP and
the DSP side have a lot of proprietary technology that
sits in the middle.
And so platform A doesn't play nice with platform B, and then
we have to kind of go down the road of troubleshooting.
And I think a lot of our time is spent working with partners
to help troubleshoot across a different combination of
technology platforms.
So if there's one major request that's an
industry-wide request, it's to comply to a standardization
for how we're going to do
programmatic buying or trading.
However you want to say it.
So I'd rather spend our time building campaigns and scaling
relevant troubleshooting and having emails back and forth
about that.
So we just this morning had coffee with a publisher
partner of ours that expressed the same exact thing.
I was like, well, good.
I will bring this up today.
It's certainly something that's lacking.
RUTH KIRSCHNER: So when you look forward a year from now,
five years from now, which is an eternity frankly in the
technology space, and certainly in
this nascent industry.
But there's obviously some issues that you just
But where do you see programmatic buying going?
Do you see some of these fractures in the technology
that you're using going away through M&A
activities and others?
I'm interested in your crystal ball view of in a year and at
five years.
MIKE FINNEGAN: Well, we don't have hover boards yet, so I
was probably wrong about that a couple years ago.
But really what I see is convergence of
some ancillary pieces.
And this happens with every boom.
When we see there's a data boom, and then consolidation.
And a DPM boom and consolidation.
I think the SSPs, you're actually starting to see that
a lot with people who are able to bring programmatic
inventory to the table.
And the same on the buy side as well.
So you'll have more consolidation with DSPs.
But really what we see is the fact that ways to buy media
and the old way of transacting is going to go away with the
insertion order-based process.
That we are only really talking to premium publishers
who are wanting to help get more streamlined with their
internal operations.
And we're in a position to really help out with that,
because it benefits companies like Xaxis and GroupM.
The five year crystal ball that I see is always-on pipes
for display, video, mobile, and then other mediums, like
hopefully radio and out of home.
Hopefully, this concept catches fire in saying that,
even how we do traditional platforms, like print and
broadcast TV, will start to kind of adhere to the
operational efficiencies that we're building with
programmatic buying.
So this is, if anything, a great blueprint on how to
scale businesses an entire industry pockets.
And if they need to use display as the incubator
model, like looking at it in the snow globe and say, what's
happened with display advertising?
It's being traded like the stock market, but it's also
being done in a really responsible, transparent way.
I think that will hopefully echo across other industries.
RUTH KIRSCHNER: And you did mention that Xaxis is starting
to get involved in other types of media today?
MIKE FINNEGAN: Yeah, so we--
RUTH KIRSCHNER: That's not just a five
year vision for you?
This is real.
So just about three weeks ago, we launched Xaxis radio, which
is a wonderful partnership we have a company
called Triton Digital.
They're a Montreal-based company.
And they approached me at a conference and said, hey, help
us like, take this great business that we're running
where we can insert audio ads into digital audio streams for
commercial breaks.
But how do we scale this?
How do we target it?
How do we make it easier to have Xaxis bring us
advertising opportunities?
We love that conversation.
It made sense.
When you think about inventory,
this is a blank space.
Even Google had a great campaign called "Watch This
Space." And that was a wonderful way to say, it
doesn't matter what you put in there.
It's the fact that this space has value, and the person on
the other end of that space is inherently what that value can
be deemed as.
So it doesn't have a banner.
It doesn't have to be a video.
It doesn't have to be audio.
It could be anything that is a tradable, automatable medium,
is really what we're looking at as a company.
We're an audience-buying company.
And really, anywhere we can reach an audience and deliver
a relevant message, we're going to try to bring our
analytics capabilities, our targeting capabilities, and
most of all, automation to it.
RUTH KIRSCHNER: So obviously, you see a lot of opportunity
one year, five years out.
You look at any of the published statistics in terms
of the growth of programmatic or RTB media, and it's always
up and to the right.
Up and to the right.
But if I could bring you back a little bit from the crystal
ball to the reality of today's world, talk to me a little bit
about some of the hurdles to growing the budgets that are
allocated to programmatic buying today.
What are you seeing from the agency trading
desk vantage point?
What are some of the reasons that clients potentially
aren't spending the budget there that you would suggest?
That's a great question.
I think there's probably three answers off
the top of my head.
I think the first one is finally understanding where
audience buying fits as part of a greater media plan.
I think when audience buying came out, it was two things.
Number one, it was very focused on direct response,
which alienates probably 60% or more of available
advertising budget, which is really a wariness focus, where
they understand that they're going to
pay for premium placement.
And RTB was a scary territory for those types of
advertisers, because there's just a lot of long tail.
There's great inventory in there, but that's kind of
mixed in with places that people wouldn't ordinarily
contract for an awareness campaign.
So audience buying, even though we're saying we're
finding the right audience, we're still really shackled by
the fact that the environment wasn't always ideal.
So that's where programmatic and private marketplace helps
to solve that problem.
Beyond that, it's really about understanding where audience
buying fits in for awareness, and that talking about those
types of conversations, and saying to the agencies that
audience buying for awareness is now a place that you could
play, because we are hand-picking these publishers,
These are relationships that we're growing for you.
And it's not just banner ads.
It's beyond that.
It's video, and mobile, and radio, and hopefully even more
channels than that as well.
From the publisher side, I think there's, as the third
point, I believe that publishers are very, very
worried about channel conflicts, and how they
arrange their organization so that they can maintain a sales
structure, but also have a way to gain access to demand,
whether endemic or not.
And those are two really highly contested
Endemic advertisers versus non.
Really allowing publishers to be a little bit more free with
the relationships that they build with technology
partners, like trading desks, SSPs, and DSPs, and also
maintaining that sales force.
I think what we see, or at least what we encourage--
and I will say that Xaxis does take the approach of trying to
encourage to build more automation for
commoditized media.
When you're talking about a pre-roll spot, or a typical
banner ad that doesn't have anything to do with a tent
pole campaign, or a big takeover, sales efforts should
be focused towards really growing big
experiences of brands.
But if you just want to run banners or run pre-roll, these
are things that we can help automate that process.
And now, we're finally building things that will
attract brand advertisers.
I know I said three, but I'll say four.
But really education, as to helping us educate the
agencies and advertisers as to using programmatic as part of
awareness initiatives that will actually really return
value and decrease waste.
I think that's really what we're trying to kind of
promote is that we're really removing the impressions that
you really didn't want to traffic anyway, and were
passing back that value, not just monetarily, but with
better audience insights.
RUTH KIRSCHNER: So I have a question from our audience.
And the question is, are any of your clients interested in
programmatic high-impact units?
For example, skins or wallpaper, et cetera?
If so, how far along is Xaxis in terms of execution?
And are there any specific vendors that publishers should
connect with?
That's a great question.
I think anytime you talk about awareness, the impact, that
smack in the face kind of ad, is really what
you want it to have.
Right now, our focus is to bring is to Xaxis Premium,
which our display branding product, is large response for
Rising Star units.
We hear a lot of our advertisers who run awareness
campaigns want Rising Star.
And there's a couple of good companies out there who do--
Skinected is a really good company who has a pretty good
integration with a number of platforms that do skinning on
the publisher side.
So we can bring programmatic skinning to our
advertisers as well.
So it's a combination of the chicken and the egg.
We're not promoting as much because we're in a business
development phase with that right now.
When we do start promoting that we have the capabilities
for Rising Stars, and skinning, and whatnot, I have
no doubt that it's really going to take off.
But there's some technical hurdles to get that out.
But beyond that, we are getting asked for it.
We actually do have two campaigns that are going to
launch in May that are going to use Rising Star units.
And so we have to get our team in gear to make sure that
we're ready to launch that.
But I think that's exciting to me.
Moving beyond just the banner ad, and doing some really good
experiential kind of opportunities.
So for the audience member that asked that question, it
sounds like the time to get into beta is now.
And here's the guy to call.
Another question from the audience.
You mentioned lack of standards and compliance to
standards as a big factor holding back of your business.
Who do you look to and expect to set the standards?
The IAB, the Four A's, or other governing bodies?
And what's the current state of the
standards in your opinion?
MIKE FINNEGAN: That is an excellent.
I don't necessarily know if the IAB--
first of all, anytime that the IAB is involved, it's never
necessarily a bad thing in my opinion.
But whether they should be involved when it comes to
technical specifications is a different kind of question,
really because I think that everybody knows that the more
standards that are built, are really to help us transact
easier and faster.
When that happens, there's more money.
And so I think, it's not whose responsibility is it, but who
should it behoove?
And it should behoove both sell side and the buy side.
We live in a proprietary world, where everybody has
their technology, because it's the best that they can offer,
and they want to covet that.
But at the same time, the people who lose are the people
who control the money, and also the people that control
the inventory.
So to me, it's more of goodwill, or like, this is a
good idea, we should do this kind of move,
rather than a mandate.
If it comes down to some type of advisory board or mandate,
I think we're already past the point where everybody's
frustrated, and it's not going to help us out.
We're having this wonderful discussion right now because
we know this is awesome.
So let's keep making it awesome.
RUTH KIRSCHNER: I couldn't agree more.
Well, I wanted to thank you, Mike, for hanging out with me
and our audience today, and thank all of you guys for
joining us on Google+.
And please look for our announcement of our upcoming
Hangouts on the DoubleClick blogs.
And I look forward to seeing you in the next
Hangout in the series.
Thanks everybody.


将来に買い物を自動化したら (Programmatic in the future: A Q&A with Mike Finnegan, Xaxis)

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Jorkeio Weng 2014 年 7 月 8 日 に公開
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