Xandr Rebrands AppNexus DSP To ‘Xandr Invest,’ Gives It Exclusive Access To AT&T Data

Xandr is making AT&T data available to buyers across all media types through AppNexus’s demand-side platform (DSP), which it has rebranded as Xandr Invest.

Xandr Invest launched Monday and allows advertisers to layer AT&T’s first-party data when buying inventory available through the AppNexus exchange as well as inventory from Xandr’s premium video network, Community.

Advertisers can access and apply AT&T data to display, video, native, OTT, CTV and audio inventory on and off Xandr’s network, either through a private marketplace or programmatic guaranteed buys.

Xandr Invest does not have access to WarnerMedia’s linear TV inventory but plans to add it in the future, said Suzanne O’Kelley, VP of product for buyers at Xandr.

Xandr Invest is built off of AppNexus’ DSP technology, which Xandr has invested in since it acquired the platform in 2018. AppNexus had let its demand-side business dwindle over the past few years in favor of competing with Google’s exchange business.

But Xandr Invest signals reinvestment in the buy side, said Evan Hanlon, chief strategy officer at GroupM, a longtime AppNexus customer.

“There’s always been a question about the commitment AppNexus had to the buy side,” he said. “Xandr is making it clear that they’re investing in buy side technology.”

Xandr Invest addresses AppNexus’ previous lack of cross-channel inventory compared to other DSPs, Hanlon said. In addition to WarnerMedia’s O&O, the platform is integrating with all of the major video SSPs in the marketplace.

Xandr Invest will also retain AppNexus features that appealed to traders, like its emphasis on customization and flexibility and use of data science and artificial intelligence.

Compared to legacy AppNexus, however, Xandr Invest’s new interface is easier for the average buyer to navigate, Hanlon said. The platform is unique in that it brings audience targeting and activation to reserved buying on premium video, which puts it in a strong position as TV moves over-the-top.

“More video is becoming IP-enabled and addressable, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be available on a real time basis,” Hanlon said. “We’re still going to be negotiating upfront. They’re [thinking about] how to assist us in what the future of planning looks like.”

New walled garden on the block?

Xandr Invest lets buyers activate audience segments built off of AT&T’s 170 million consumer connections, and apply behavioral, location, browsing and viewership data. Advertisers can also bring their own data and leverage Xandr’s third-party data marketplace to augment their buys.

No AT&T data, however, will be able to leave the Xandr environment, and buyers will get access to some log-level reporting.

O’Kelley said launching a buying platform does not make Xandr a walled garden because buyers can still access the same inventory through other platforms. She declined to comment on whether WarnerMedia’s O&O inventory will become exclusive to Xandr Invest in the future.

“The only way to get it with the viewership or behavioral data AT&T offers would be to buy through Invest,” she said.

For Hanlon, ensuring that GroupM clients can get favorable access to their preferred supply through Xandr Invest will be key to using it as a core trading platform.

“With Xandr on both the buy and sell side, we want to make sure were not getting a distorted view of the marketplace,” he said. “Otherwise it will be difficult to justify to our clients.”

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