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A Three-Step Guide to Making More Equitable Media Investments

Last week The Census Bureau began to release initial findings of the 2020 census: America is growing more diverse, and faster, than anticipated.

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Published on

Sep 10, 2021

Written by

Direct Digital Holdings

A Three-Step Guide to Making More Equitable Media Investments

How to Ensure your Media Dollars are Being Spent Equitably

Celebrate Diversity 

Last week The Census Bureau began to release initial findings of the 2020 census, and one key insight stands out: America is growing more diverse, and faster, than anticipated. 

According to Bureau officials, 33.8 million people identified as being of two or more races — a more than 3x increase from 2010! Meanwhile, the number of people who identify as white alone fell by 8.6%. 

As a marketer, reaching the growing Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) community will be a top priority going forward. One way to achieve that goal is to diversify your media investments to ensure your media dollars are spent equitably. 

There are numerous benefits to diversifying your media plan to include more BIPOC-owned and focused publications. Obviously, it will allow you to reach the BIPOC community, but more importantly, your ad dollars will directly support important BIPOC-owned and focused publications, which is good for society. A diverse and vibrant press strengthens our democracy and increases participation in it. 

Here are three steps you can take to make your media investments more equitable: 

Step 1: Audit your Current Media Partners. 

The first step is to get a sense of the composition of your existing media plan, and the degree to which it supports BIPOC-owned media outlets. According to the 4As, there are over 350 BIPOC-owned media outlets, which means scaling your campaign is becoming less of a challenge. 

Specifically, ask yourself: 

  • What percentage of your investment is going to BIPOC-owned vs. targeted media companies?

  • Identify opportunities where you can better incorporate BIPOC-owned publishers. For instance, many local and niche publications are BIPOC-owned, allowing you to reach BIPOC audiences at a greater scale, rather than simply investing in mainstream national outlets.

  • What’s a realistic goal for shifting your ratio over the next 6, 12 or 18 months? What are the impediments to achieving your goals? For instance, you may need to diversify your marketing team in order to ensure your messaging is sensitive and appropriate to the communities you wish to reach.

Step 2: Find New Diverse Media Partners 

Until a few years ago, adding BIPOC-owned media outlets to a media plan was a difficult task because these smaller publications didn’t have the resources to support programmatic sales, but that’s changed. 

For instance, Colossus SSP was founded in 2018 to serve as a custom supply side platform to help brands connect with multicultural and general market audiences at scale. The company has built relationships with numerous general market and minority-owned publishers, including numerous smaller, vibrant multicultural outlets that were previously unavailable programmatically. 

Other consortiums, such as Group Black Inc. are working “to bring investment, opportunity and advancement to Black ownership in the global media industry,” and can help you discover new and emerging BIPOC-owned publications. 

Finally, consider attending a diverse media owner upfront, which holding companies such as IPG Mediabrands are now hosting annually. 

Step 3: Invest in Growing the Pie 

Although the industry has made considerable progress in growing the BIPOC-owned media sector, there still aren’t enough diverse media owners out there to satisfy advertiser supply needs. It’s up to all of us to invest in that ecosystem and achieve the goal of a diverse and vibrant media landscape. 

There are many ways to help grow the ecosystem. For instance, you can help launch a diverse media company accelerator, which is a program that provides advice, guidance and various forms of support for BIPOC-owned media startups in their early stages. You can also make seed investments in these media companies or support crowd-funding campaigns (if they exist). 

One of the easiest — and most important — ways to support emerging BIPOC-owned media outlets is to include them on your media plan, and to introduce these partners to the broader market. 

America is growing more diverse, and your media plan should keep up with that reality. Diversity makes us stronger as a society, and it will improve your advertising performance by reaching all of your potential customers via publications with unique voices and perspectives. 


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