Xandr’s Erica Blakslee breaks down new Curate programmatic platform

Xandr's latest offering is targeting data providers and media buyers as they prepare for a cookie-free future. Mumbrella's Zanda Wilson spoke with Xandr's Erica Blakslee about the launch of the Xandr Curate platform, and chatted with Omnicom's Adam Coulter about how it will simplify the media agency's business.

A&T’s advanced advertising company Xandr has launched Xandr Curate, a new platform that offers curated first-party data sets from data owners like publishers and retailers, to media buyers.

Xandr curates packages of first-party assets for buyers, and its launch reflects the industry’s move towards a cookie-less future as contextual data becomes more important for media to reach consumers across platforms.

Xandr senior account director Erica Blakslee tells Mumbrella that the launch of Xandr Curate is about removing “layers of complexity” for media agencies and data providers, and allows them to “manage their activity more directly”.

Xandr senior account director Erica Blakslee

So what are the key problems that Xandr Curate is solving?

“Agencies like Omnicom really want to have the ability to more directly control the supply that they’re buying,” Blakslee says.

“They want to more easily be able to manage trading commitments that they have with premium content owners while also just making sure that their budgets are only going to really, you know, premium brand-safe inventory.”

Omnicom head of platform and capabilities, ANZ, Adam Coulter, reflects on how trade and supply has previously worked for the Omnicom business, revealing that it’s been “a relatively large drain” on its resources.

“It has essentially involved us speaking to a publisher, then overlaying first-party data, contextual targeting, maybe their third-party verification targeting. Then running that back… depending on how many partner accounts you have.

“You then narrow that down for specific clients wanting bespoke inventory packages. It’s been a huge part of what we’ve had to do up until now.”

Omnicom has already been using Xandr Curate to help curate inventory and with its supply-side management.

“What we looked at in the Xandr platform was that it allowed us to get more involved, upstream and curate the supply. So we can kind of take ownership of what’s actually coming into the buying platform,” Coulter adds.

“And every impression coming into the platform fits our brand safety requirements. It’s given us that upstream capability, that up until now, we’ve been relying on the DSP to do or publishers to do, which, you know, obviously is a huge resource drain on both sides, ours and their businesses.”

Omnicom’s Adam Coulter

On the data provider side, Xandr Curate will really allow them to share data “on their own terms”, Blakslee says.

“They really want to retain control over their own data, they don’t want to have to go through third parties who sit between that data owner and their customer. They want to be able to package data themselves and pass that onto buyers for them to trade against.”

And while there are other platforms that perform similar functions in the market, one of the keys to Xandr Curate is the self-service user interface and UI, which Blakslee says is the “main differentiator” and something that Xandr is very proud of.

Xandr Curate “has its own standalone user interface, which is distinctly different from the other managed service solutions that other platforms have in market,” she explains.

“It’s really trying to help solve some of those inefficiencies and operational drains by giving a media agency or a data provider a platform that makes it really easy for them to package up inventory themselves, or overlay their assets like data against Xandr’s global supply footprint.

“Another great benefit is that can then be traded on any demand-side platforms. So if a media agency has a DSP preference, that’s their choice. They can use the one they want to actually do the buying.”

Coulter says that one of the key aspects for Omnicom is that there are benefits of using Xandr Curate now, as well as in a cookie-less future.

“Everyone is looking for ways to increase their match rates in a cookie world. That’s done as the SSP level, and you know that your audience has been included or excluded at that level. That’s super valuable for the next 18 months or so,” he says.

“Longer term, in a world where audience has changed, we think there’s going to be more emphasis on this kind of upstream capability, so we can actually do this segmentation or targeting. Then [we can] use the buying platform less for the matching of it, but [more for] the transactional bit, and applying all the clever stuff that the buying platforms can do.”

Blakslee adds: “An agency like Omnicom, where they are curating a high-quality inventory imagery that is known and brand safe. They’ll get better outcomes on their campaigns as well.

“We’ll see higher viewability, and they’ll have more money to invest in working media that drives better outcomes for their clients.”


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