Adrian Peter Tse
Jun 3, 2015

WPP's Xaxis launches mobile performance business, Light Reaction

ASIA-PACIFIC- With mobile on the rise, Xaxis has launched Light Reaction, a mobile performance advertising business that merges the Xaxis platform and mobile technology from recent acquisition ActionX.

Michel de Rijk, CEO at Xaxis Asia-Pacific
Michel de Rijk, CEO at Xaxis Asia-Pacific

Light Reaction, a separate brand from Xaxis, “with its own P&L”, will be available in 20 markets across North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Michel de Rijk, CEO at Xaxis Asia-Pacific, told Campaign Asia-Pacific that Light Reaction will roll out in 13 markets in Asia starting with Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Korea and China, completing the process by the middle of next year.

Next week, Xaxis will announce a managing director for Light Reaction, Asia-Pacific. Globally the team has about 100 people, and Asia will have around 40. “Some of the talent will come from Xaxis, but we are also looking externally,” said de Rijk.

Up until now, de Rijk said the project name ‘Light Reaction’ had been a secret. “It’s great to finally get it out of the dungeon and test in the real world,” he said. “It’s the work of some 200 engineers.”

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Light Reaction’s performance-marketing platform uses the mobile technology of recent Xaxis acquisition ActionX, a mobile app and cross-screen advertising platform; the programmatic capabilities of the QuismaX performance products previously provided by GroupM’s QUISMA; and Turbine, Xaxis’ proprietary data-management platform, which provides real-time audience segmentation and modelling capabilities. 

Light Reaction will also use an "outcomes-based, pay-for-performance media model" for marketers and advertisers.

While the reasons for creating the mobile advertising business may be obvious for Xaxis and the mobile-driven global market, de Rijk commented that Light Reaction aims to also create clearer KPIs.

“Advertisers want to combine brand KPIs and performance KPIs, but you just can’t have both because eventually you will just end up somewhere in the middle,” said de Rijk. “With Light Reaction, we will use perceptual science to also tackle the ad viewability problem and understand how many users actually notice the ad and how advertisers can actually get a reaction from users.”

According to de Rijk, this capability will be combined with the ability to use “dynamic creative” based on real-time insights. When asked how Light Reaction differs from competitor offerings such as Adobe Experience Manager, which comes with a similar set of buzzwords, de Rijk said it goes back to Xaxis’s strength: programmatic, audience data and inventories.

“People underestimate the importance of quality media inventory sources and knowledge from local market to local market,” he said. “A lot of companies work on old data sets that no longer reflect their customer. The data is not real time. We try to solve that through our real-time DMP and make sure advertisers can optimise with the right creative.”

For de Rijk, the challenge is the ongoing education needed for advertisers who still think on a “cost-per-click and clickthrough-rate” level.

“It would be so easy to launch a display, performance or click network for me right now, and advertisers would understand it,” said de Rijk. “But it’s not effective, and using those measurements are completely wrong.” 


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