How Media Agencies & Marketers Can Reach and Engage Multicultural Audiences at Scale

Programatic Advertising

Reaching multicultural audiences is a top goal for all brands and the media agencies that service those brands, and rightly so.  The U.S. is on track to reach the “majority-minority” milestone by 2044, where non-Hispanic white people will become one of multiple minority groups. 

All businesses will recognize the immense buying power of diverse communities. Multicultural consumer spending has grown significantly over the past few decades, leaping from $458 billion in 1990 to $3.2 trillion in 2021.

And, according to a 2022 Selig Center report, 17.4% of the U.S.’s buying power (about $1 out of every $5.75) is owned by multicultural households. The report also notes that Latinx purchasing power reached $3.4 trillion in 2021, growing at significantly higher rates than non-Latinx counterparts.

Reaching, engaging and building relationships with these critical communities will be essential to every brand’s long-term relevance and viability. For many brands, however, closing the multicultural share gap will take a concerted effort.

Challenges of Reaching Multicultural Audiences

In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement, the digital advertising sector made commitments to support diverse-owned publications and the communities they represent. 

Despite these commitments, just 38% of companies have done so. What’s more, the initial commitments, such as groupM Media Inclusion Initiative, asked for just 2% of media budgets to go to diverse-owned publishers. This is far below ANA’s Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM) offered as industry spending benchmark a 6.5% of total ad investment going to diverse-owned media by 2025.  (Full disclosure: EPL Media is a member of AIMM.)

What’s preventing brands and media agencies from achieving those commitments? There are several reasons.

Many in the industry say that there aren’t enough diverse-owned sites to support their campaigns. Marketers complain (rightly or wrongly) that diverse-owned media buys results in their ads appearing in unwanted sites or near brand unsuitable content. 

For their part, Black-owned publishers say that brand blocklists are discriminatory, flagging content that, in fact, meets the most rigid of brand suitability guidelines. For this reason, diverse-owned publications prefer programmatic guaranteed as a means to circumvent this discrimination. Brands and their media agencies must be willing to participate in such auctions in order to meet their commitments.

Another challenge is the lack of programmatic expertise among smaller and niche publishers. While these publications cater to the diverse audiences brands want to reach, negotiating individual contracts with each publisher isn’t feasible for large-scale campaigns. For this reason, EPL Media invests time and tools to help multicultural publications participate in the digital advertising ecosystem. 

Specifically, we work with publishers to help them develop and monetize their first-party data, and we serve as their go-to partner for monetizing that data, as well as their onsite and offsite properties. We support them in ways that allow them to fit seamlessly with the rest of the ecosystem, using Google products as well as any data platform that may wish to use (e.g. Liveramp).

The Inventory is There

EPL Media takes issue with the narrative that there is a dearth of diverse-owned media in the digital ecosystem. We are not alone. “There is supply that is sufficient to meet and exceed any DE&I spend target we’ve ever seen,” Chris Kane, founder of Jounce Media, told WSJ.

Kane is right: EPL Media has over 700 multicultural publishers as part of our network, offering more than 1.6 billion impressions per month.  Additionally, we are integrated with every DSP so you don’t need to change the way you do business.

Reaching Multicultural Audiences at Scale: A Blog Series

We applaud every brand and media agency that is sincere in its desire to reach multicultural audiences, as well as meet their diverse-spending commitments. This blog post series is designed to help you reach these goals. It will include the following:

  • Post #2:  How EPL Media Builds Multicultural Audiences at Scale
  • Post #3: Launching Performance Campaigns
  • Post #4: The Data Driving Performance Campaigns
  • Post #5: The Importance of Addressing Individual Communities

Questions? Comments? We’d like to hear from you.

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