The Singapore and Sydney offices are market-facing, while the Bangalore office represents a rapidly expanding technology and development hub.
According to the provider of programmatic marketing software for brands and agencies, the expansion is largely motivated by multinational brand marketers’ desire for a global, integrated platform that can cohesively stitch together and execute on their complex digital marketing needs.
James Sampson, VP and general manager of DataXu Asia-Pacific, said that the company is well known in Europe and the Americas as a leading demand-side platform (DSP). It was also listed as the ‘strongest current offering’ in the DSP marketplace according to the 2015 Forrester Wave report.
In an email interview with Campaign Asia-Pacific, Sampson said the region is a high growth one for the company, and that it has invested “several million dollars to date” on its expansion, adding 25 people in the past 12 months across its three offices.
While the initial strategy was to support North American and European clients in the region, the company has been “pleasantly surprised by the demand from local Asian marketers.”
“The mix now looks more like 50/50,” he added.
Asked how the company intends to differentiate itself, Sampson admitted that the markets are crowded with global platform-supporting agency trading desks, which the majority of programmatic spending goes through in this region.
“But we are seeing more and more sophisticated marketers demanding more from their programmatic activity than simply buying media on ad exchanges,” he said. “And DataXu has been recognised for providing the strongest full stack, cross-device technology platform coupled with industry-leading analytics, offering our agency and client marketers a fully transparent way to understand and engage their consumers in a guaranteed fraud free environment.”
DataXu supports more than 50 markets globally, offering local marketers the local media and third-party data options they need in each.
“We currently support the top 15 markets in APAC, with everything from local currency billing/campaign management and local-language semantic analysis, to mobile specific and hyper-local targeting,” said Sampson. “Whatever a client can do in the US, they can do anywhere our platform supports. For additional countries, we will expand to developing markets like Cambodia and Sri Lanka if deemed necessary by our clients."
In terms of challenges in meeting its Asian ambitions, Sampson said that expanding any business on a global scale poses challenges and opportunities that would have been completely unknown without regional immersion.
“But now that we’ve gathered some learnings, it’s easier to understand what the right balance of customisation is for our markets," he said. "And we’re better equipped to adapt to those nuances than we were a year ago."
Sampson said “people are the key”, and that having the right talent in place will allow the company to deliver on regional ambitions and address any challenges that crop up.
“We’ll continue to innovate and evolve as the industry requires, but we have a strong corporate mission and vision that will guide the way,” he added. “Our roots are in data and analytics, and 2016 will bring them back into the spotlight with new product offerings for brands and agencies alike.”
Asked how the company tackles ad fraud, an ongoing industry concern, Sampson said the company offers a 97 percent 'fraud-free guarantee'.
“It guarantees a fraud rate of 3 percent or less (premium publisher territory) or else our clients automatically receive money back at the end of the month,” he said [note]. “It’s a way to hold ourselves accountable to our clients while simultaneously doing our part to ensure media quality.”
Sampson added that brands and their agencies should employ third-party verification to understand fraud.
“Typically, when CTR is high, its fraud," he said. "When you buy brand-name publishers at too-good-to-be-true prices, it’s fraud. When a media partner won’t let you use a third-party ad server, third-party verification, or let you see domain-level reporting, they may want to question what is there to hide.”
We asked Sampson a few more general questions about the development of the programmatic space around Asia, and you can read that Q&A here.
Note: This sentence was edited at DataXu's request to provide additional clarity. It originally read "It guarantees a fraud rate of 3 percent or else our clients receive money back".