🌯 Meeting Diversity Commitments Still a Work in Progress, Can New Tools Make it Easier?

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This Week
April 22, 2024
New Tools To Help With Diversity Commitments
IAB Declares 2023 a Landmark Ad Spend Year
Google Blocks California News
Netflix's Successful Password Sharing Crackdown
Meeting Diversity Commitments Still a Work in Progress, Can New Tools Make it Easier?
Image sourced from Shutterstock
Twenty-twenty was a pivotal year for digital advertising. Reeling from George Floyd's death, media and advertisers committed to inclusion, including promises to spend at least 2% of ad dollars with diverse-owned publishers.

The ANA's Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM) went further, recommending that digital advertising adopt an industry-wide benchmark of 6.5% of total ad investment and 4.6% for diverse-owned and targeted media.

The industry has made some progress: 38% of companies have met commitments, and only 1.8% of ad dollars go to diverse-owned media. But two recent announcements hope to change that.

Multicultural Programmatic Platform

The first is the announcement of Mirror Edge, a programmatic platform from Mirror Digital designed to help advertisers reach Black, Asian American, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI), Latine, and LGBTQIA+ audiences.

The platform offers interesting features, including cultural-centric PMPs, which use AI and ML to target specific audiences, and a diverse audience focus feature, allowing advertisers to target audiences based on their cultural identity, affinity, and shared experiences rather than just demographics.

Easing Minority-Owned Certification

Another announcement, from Mediavine, is designed to streamline the minority certification process, allowing smaller, diverse-owned publications to participate in Mediavine's Uplift marketplace.

Mediavine announced a partnership with Sertify, a diversity certification network that helps advertisers measure and increase diverse-owned spend while avoiding bad actors who misrepresent their identity. The partnership's goal is to certify the diversity of Mediavine to assure buyers who want to meet diversity commitments that their ad dollars go to minority-owned media companies.

Minority-owned certification is an important criterion for brands that want to ensure their ad dollars go to diverse-owned media. Still, with its demands for documentation and fees, the certification process can be onerous for small, minority-owned businesses. The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) lists 11 steps in its process and includes multiple forms to complete. – SS
IAB: 2023 Was a Very Good Year for Digital Advertising
Despite massive layoffs in the sector throughout 2023 (many in response to fears of declines in ad revenue), digital advertising had an excellent year. Scratch that. It had a record-breaking year, with revenues topping $225 billion and a 7+ increase year over year.

That's according to the IAB's Internet Advertising Revenue Report. The big winners were audio advertising, which grew by almost 19%, followed by retail media (up 16+ %) and video, CTV, and OTT (up 10.6%). Social media advertising, driven by creator marketing and new social media forms, grew by 8.7%.

"Despite inflation fears, interest rates at record highs, and continuing global unrest, the U.S. digital advertising industry continued its growth trajectory in 2023," David Cohen, CEO, of IAB, said. – SS
To Fight the CJPA, Google Is Blocking California News Content
California legislators proposed the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA) to ensure that news sites earn the revenue they deserve. Of course, the walled gardens directly affected by this proposal didn't take it lightly. Google specifically chose a unique tactic that some may consider blackmail.

Google announced it would block news articles for specific users in California. State residents using Google to search the web will no longer have access to stories from California-based news organizations. This move demonstrates Google's efforts to, as some view it, attempt to quash the legislation. The pending law in California targets tech companies like Google and Meta, requiring them to compensate publishers for news content.

Advocates for the bill argue that it would support California's struggling news outlets, which have been steadily losing jobs. Google, however, has been pushing back against the legislation, contending that a proposed "link tax" for sharing news with Californian users is impractical.

Unsurprisingly, Google's tactic faced some criticism. A coalition of over 2,000 news publishers urged federal agencies to investigate Google's removal of links to California-based news outlets. The News/Media Alliance, representing US newspapers and online publications, sent letters to the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, and the California Attorney General, requesting an investigation into potential legal violations by Google in restricting access to news websites for some Californians via Google search. – AB
Netflix Password Sharing Crackdown a Success
Netflix exceeded expectations by adding 9.33 million subscribers globally in Q1, double what analysts predicted. The streaming company's effort to curb password sharing and introduce a cheaper, ad-supported tier fueled this growth. Analysts anticipate further growth, given the success of the crackdown, which resulted in approximately 30 million new subscribers in FY23, while an estimated 100 million users still share passwords.

According to Hunter Terry, Head of CTV at Lotame, Netflix should prioritize the $6.99 ad tier. Despite its low cost, the tier has taken longer than expected to attract subscribers, reaching 23 million as of January 2024 since its launch in Q4 2022.

"Amazon may play a crucial role in Netflix's acquisition of more ad-based subscribers,” said Terry. “With Amazon introducing ads to over 100 million Prime Video viewers overnight, many of whom are accustomed to ad-free streaming across platforms, customers realize the minimal disruption ads can have on their viewing experience. This shift will likely result in a surge of ad-tier subscriptions not only for Netflix but also for other major subscription-first streaming services like Disney+, HBO Max, and Paramount+." – AB
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