'It's not happening!' Xaxis global CEO & Vivaki US chief deny that brands are taking programmatic trading in-house

Xaxis global chief executive Brian Lesser and Vivaki president, AOD and North American client services, Marco Bertozzi have both denied that the reported trend of advertisers taking programmatic in-house is actually taking place.

The pair were interviewed during an ExchangeWire event in New York and were in agreement that reports that major advertisers such as Netflix, Stubhub and Kellogg's, have taken their programmatic buying in-house were false, and claimed that companies considering such a move was as a result of the "distracting" transparency conversation.

Their comments came following reports made withIn the last year that brands such as Netflix, Stubhub and Kellogg's have each moved to create their own trading desks over concerns around trasparancy over the sale of their digital advertising.

Enforcing the importance of agencies continuing to work within the programmatic sector, Bertozzi claimed that there was a concern around "walled gardens" and that agencies were still necessary to put pressure on tech companies such as the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter - huge platforms that keep hold of their own user data.

"At the heart of it, advertisers still have a say on how their money is being spent. That centralisation and that scale is really important," stated Bertozzi who then highlighted how complex digital media buying was becoming before the conversation turned directly to the topic of in-housing.

Lesser added: "Advertisers are getting smarter about programmatic and technology and they are saying that it is not good enough for my agency or any service organisation to own this without my knowledge of what is going on.

"So they are taking ownership of their data, they are seeing technology companies and in some cases they are taking on contracts with them and we would encourage that."

"What's not happening, even though there are countless articles, is large global advertisers in-housing programmatic. It is not happening."

Lesser continued to claim that an advertiser aiming to create a global trading desk in-house would find it "very difficult" and stressed the complexity of doing it across differing geographies.

"Doing this in China is a lot different from doing it in the US, London or Europe. I am very doubtful that large global brands will run trading desks in-house."

However, Lesser admitted that he expected "a few" advertisers to become e-commerce driven or data driven but predicted that over time they would then realise it was work that the agency should be spearheading. "It's what agencies do."

Bertozzi sarcastically described brands who had been reported to be considering an in-house approach as being like "lambs who have lost their herd", but added that a solution to their concerns could be found by simply spoking to their agencies.

However, he added that any brand considering attempting to go in-house should "just do it" before emploring "but do it properly".

He added that he thought advertisers considering going in-house were clearly not speaking to their agency and were likely to be using a managed service or demand-side platform (DSP). "That's not helpful for the industry as it's distracting from the fact that advertisers could be really maximising and buying media properly for the first time."

Lesser concluded that element of the interview by claiming that anyone taking programmatic in-house was using a DSP to retarget display ads through first-party data, but said that the process got "much more complicated than that."

The interview saw the pair combine to discuss how they each predicted agency trading desks developing as predictions continue to state that all advertising will become programmatic in the future.

Videology chief executive Scott Ferber recently spoke to The Drum about why he believed brands were looking to take internal control their programmatic advertising.

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