How To Sustain Media Buys in Black-Owned Media Street Fight

How To Sustain Media Buys in Black-Owned Media

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No single source seems able to pinpoint just how much brands allocate in dollars to ad inventory on Black-owned media in the U.S. But everyone seems to agree it should be more.

This article cites media tracker Maven, which says there are upwards of 2,500 diverse-owned publishers alone and that 35% of those are Black-owned.

Major brands like GM, P&G, and McDonald’s have made public commitments to spend more of their ad budgets with Black-owned media companies.

Audigent CMO Dave Rosner thinks his company can help.

Audigent is a data-activation, curation, and identity platform. Like others in the space, it pairs premium ad inventory with data so that brands can reach the right audience in the right place. However, Audigent works directly with brands and agencies to develop private marketplaces built specifically around underrepresented communities, enabling advertisers to divert their spend towards these media companies.

Rosner sat down with StreetFight to discuss the $155 billion programmatic advertising landscape and how it can better serve consumers of Black-owned media.

How do your technologies specifically aid brands in meeting their diversity-focused media buying pledges?

When brands want to control how and where their programmatic dollars are spent, curation allows them to do just that. The traditional programmatic process often algorithmically removes certain websites due to scale. Sometimes, these platforms turn off certain sites because of over-generalized content restrictions, leading to a whole domain being blocked for content appearing on a few pages. With curation, the brand is in control and can keep the algorithms from overriding the strategic direction from the brand.

In creating private marketplaces for underrepresented communities, what impact have you observed on Black-owned media companies like MyCode and Colossus?

We cannot speak on behalf of their business, but we can speak to how we work together. We have different relationships with each company. Colossus is an SSP or Supply Side Platform. This means they aggregate supply, which in this case is advertising inventory. Working directly with brands and agencies, Audigent provides curated demand, which includes purpose-led demand.

With My Code, Audigent operates as its data-management and curation platform. Digital properties like My Code, the largest multicultural media company in the U.S., provide a wealth of unique data. Turning that data into actionable insights that can be safely used to power advertising opportunities and customized for specific brands, requires a specialized technology stack, which is what Audigent’s platform does for partners like My Code. The Audigent DMP gives My Code the ability to aggregate audience intelligence and create segmentation across its properties. This unlocks additional insights about – and value for – their audiences. In addition to the DMP, Audigent provides audience-curation capabilities, curating media and data into a single package. Buyers can reach My Code’s audiences both on and beyond My Code-owned and operated sites. This allows for greater scale and control of both who and where audiences are reached.

Could you provide more details about the agency client that has mandated a certain level of purpose-led spend across programmatic?

There are two key learnings that all brands and agencies should keep in mind to help unlock investment that may be blocked today:

  • For all purpose-led investment, including Black-owned, brands must first re-examine how their organization defines the criteria for what qualifies. Most media and ad-tech companies have taken outside investment in order to reach scale. A Black-founded and led organization that has taken on investment may no longer be majority Black-owned.This is a double-edged sword, because brands require scale. Growing to be able to deliver on scale often requires investment. Fortunately, there is work to examine definitions. Reconsidering the definitions of both “owned” and “led” can help a brand start to achieve the intended goals.
  • Advertising today means a lot more than media. A large percentage of each media dollar spent goes towards infrastructure, data and unfortunately, even waste.  Organizations need to consider the spend outside of working media. If they can reduce how much is spent on infrastructure, they can channel more money to the purpose-led companies.

What future initiatives or technologies is Audigent developing to further support and amplify Black-owned and underrepresented media?

This is an area that we consider as part of everything we do. The technologies are in place so that Audigent can unlock increased purpose-led investment in the market. It all starts with demand from brands and agencies. Our goal is to educate brands and agencies on how it is possible to ensure that dollars earmarked for Black-owned and purpose-led media actually reach those companies. From there, we will expand the scope and depth of our partnerships with the purpose-led media companies to meet what we hope is rapidly growing demand.

How does Audigent measure the success of its initiatives aimed at redirecting ad spend towards Black-owned media?

We measure success by looking at both campaign metrics and the benefits passed on to our partners. This could include helping a publishing partner to better understand their own data and audiences so they can be more effective with brands, or helping a brand invest dollars that were previously blocked and could not scale through programmatic.

What is so important here is that we, as an industry, do not assume specific and universal goals and definitions. Depending on where a company, brand, or agency is in their process, the challenges and goals will be different and will evolve. Our approach is to provide a solution that moves the entire industry forward from where they are today.

What more needs to be done across the ad tech industry to ensure that the pledges made by large brands lead to substantial and sustainable support for Black-owned media?

First, we need to keep this challenge at the center of our industry conversations. Second, we need to evolve the conversation to focus on the benefits. Long-term success means not just moving the dollars but showing that the impact outperforms other options. Finally, we need to expand and modernize the definition of what counts as Black-owned media. Updating the definitions to apply to how advertising works today will unlock both scale and efficacy.

Kathleen Sampey