I had an interesting conversation with digital political media-buying expert Grace Briscoe on the impact of Xandr's decision to ban political advertisers from its platform, and the bottom line is depending on how far the Microsoft digital advertising unit takes it, the overall impact likely is, well, meh.
That's because as important as Xandr is in the overall programmatic advertising supply chain, there are plenty of other sources to fill demand from any politcos who get bumped from Xandr's platform.
"It's mostly symbolic," explains Briscoe, Senior Vice President of Client Development, and the political category expert at Basis Technologies.
Still unclear is whether Xandr's decision only affects political advertisers seeing to utilize its DSP, or whether it will also be enforced on Xandr's SPP. Either way, it would only impact the programmatic ad inventory that Xandr passes through its pipes, and the vast majority of supply from publishers utilizing Xandr's SSP also is available via number of competing ones that currently have no policies blocking political advertisers.
Even if you factor in bans and temporary moratoriums being imposed by big digital platforms like Google and Meta around political advertising cycles, Briscoe says the total supply of programmatic publishing inventory for political advertisers will be negligible, and likely not enough to make an impact in terms of overall digital media weight.
So why is Xandr/Microsoft enforcing it?
"It's like a PR move," she says, adding that overall it's a small part of Microsoft's revenue, but it's a part that comes with potential liabilities and backlash, so it's probably not worth the squeeze for them.