Xaxis Global CEO Nicolas Bidon On The Appeal Of Programmatic During A Pandemic

Social Distancing With Friends

Nicolas Bidon, global CEO of Xaxis, GroupM’s programmatic arm, is on a Duolingo streak.

When stay-at-home orders were instituted, Nicolas started using the language app on a daily basis to brush up on his Spanish – and stay sane. He’s completed more than 100 days of lessons in a row so far and counting.

“Throughout the first few months of the lockdown, I tried to establish a routine and build some new habits,” Nicolas says.

But Nicolas is also rolling with the pandemic’s many punches.

According to GroupM’s mid-year ad forecast, global digital advertising – most of which is programmatic – will shrink this year to $277.8 billion.

Nicolas Bidon, global CEO at Xaxis, taking a breather.But while programmatic is easy to turn off and on, it also lets advertisers quickly adapt their creative, Nicolas says, and brands have modified their messaging to be more in tune with the zeitgeist.

Brands are also concentrating on outcomes and efficiency in a tricky economic environment. There’s almost always tension between the CFO and the CMO to prove results, and the current situation only ratchets up the pressure.

“When times are tough, everyone of course wants to focus on return on investment,” Nicolas says.

Also in this episode: the antiquated vanity metrics Nicolas would retire if he could; advice for struggling brands on how to figure out which KPIs make the most sense during COVID-19; and a very basic language lesson (if you want to know how to say “head, shoulders, knees and toes” in French, that is).

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