The Ugly Truth About DE&I Media Investment; Google Simplifies First-party Data Management for Brands

AdMonsters Wrapper: The weekly ad tech news wrap up
This Week
October 16, 2023
The "Illusion of Inclusion"
The Retail Media Boom
Google Upgrades Its Ad Business
Meet Us at the Water Cooler
Is the "Era of Diversity" Over?
Over the last few years, brands across every industry have worked towards creating a workforce based on the idea of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In digital media, diverse-owned media companies were optimistic about the growth of their ad businesses, even towards the start of the year.

The murder of George Floyd in 2020 heavily influenced this mindset — media buyers attest to an abundance of ad commitments to diverse-owned media companies since then. As we reach the tail end of this year, the same executives tell a much more grim story.

"Early this year, we were still at the tail end of the George Floyd time frame," said Lynnwood Bibbens, CEO and founder of airport TV network Reach TV. "Plenty of [advertisers] were done last year, but this year it felt very over to a lot of people in the Black-owned media space."

Equitable media investment was a hot topic just a year ago, but the trend, as it was for some, is last season's news. Many brands made upfront commitments to invest in diverse media, but that money is slowly drying up. For example, Reach TV saw a 100% increase in dollar commitments from advertisers last year, but this year, the Black-owned media company's percentage increase dropped to 25% percent.

Detavio Samuels, CEO of Revolt, espouses the same sentiment as he called the last three years the "Illusion of Inclusion."

"My job as CEO is to read the tea leaves," said Samuels. "It very clearly feels like what used to be tailwinds are now turning into headwinds."
Why This Matters
Unfortunately, these digital entertainment companies are not the only industry facing the consequences of this new era of diversity neglect.

In September, a coalition of 22 donors announced the initiative Press Forward, which works "to strengthen communities and democracy by supporting local news and information with an infusion of more than a half-billion dollars over the next five years."

Seven affinity news organizations sent an open letter to Press Forward to ensure equal distribution of resources to underrepresented voices in local news. In the letter, the writers note that, according to a Bridgespan and Echoing Green study, BIPOC-led news organizations are traditionally awarded less grant money than their white counterparts based upon a prejudice that they "are less trusted with how to spend that money."

Some media buyers still invest in diverse-owned media, but the percentage decreases by the day. While we could direct your moral compass towards one of inclusion, money rules all in business. The cold, hard facts say that investing in DEI in your workplace and investing in diverse audiences is good for business.
Onsite, Offsite, and the Retailer Connection
The momentum of retail media has become hard to ignore in recent months—and the numbers are there to prove it. Onsite retail media activation on formats like sponsored products and sponsored display already accounts for over 85% of the total retail media spend in the US in 2023. But offsite is growing fast, too. Over $6.5 billion has already been spent on retailer-data-powered offsite digital advertising this year, and offsite will represent 17% of all US retail media spend by 2025.

How are retailers commanding this sort of spending? It’s simple: first-party data. With their treasure troves of authenticated consumer insights, retailers can deliver hyper-targeted ads across diverse channels like display, video, and streaming TV. This is an appealing prospect for advertisers facing a future without third-party cookies.
Why This Matters
Running offsite audience extension campaigns requires retailers to package their 1st-party data with 3rd-party supply. This spend represents net new dollars into the digital advertising ecosystem from trade and shopper marketing budgets. Publishers who can build relationships with retailers and drive performance for advertisers stand the best chance of tapping into these incremental demand sources.

Built by a team that knows commerce inside-out, the Criteo Commerce Media Platform brings retailers, agency buyers, brands, and media owners into a unified buying and selling ecosystem that drives commerce outcomes. It connects agency buyers to retailers onsite and offsite activations and connects retailers to publishers to extend audience buys across the open web. It also connects publishers to the huge and fast-growing commerce media opportunity. Learn more about connecting today.
Google Ads Data Manager allows marketers to use and manage their first-party data, wherever it is housed within their organizations. They can also target consumers and measure conversions that result from those ads.

According to Google, the tool allows data analysts to “create new data connections while marketers can apply discrete data to measure conversions or reach people with relevant ads.” No coding or data engineers are required. What once took days or weeks to do can now be accomplished in a matter of minutes.

A Step Closer to Commerce Media: Google Ads Data Manager lets marketers track and analyze customer interactions with Google tags and sales outside of their websites. It’s a way for marketers to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns, tying impressions to business outcomes across the open web. This is essentially the promise of commerce media, which McKinsey & Company and others are promoting as the future of advertising and poised to bring in a trillion dollars of revenue in the coming years.
Why This Matters
While all brands will be affected by the loss of third-party cookies, small and emerging ones will be hit the hardest. For these brands, investing in any channel can be an existential threat if those investments don’t pay off. Sky-high customer acquisition costs are one of the greatest challenges facing new and emerging brands. Many rely on social media to raise awareness and gain new customers, and struggled when Apple App Tracking Transparency went into effect (remember Mark Zuckerberg’s ads saying Facebook is standing up for small businesses?).

Google Ads Data Manager may be a blessing for smaller brands that don’t have the cash to enter data clean rooms with their media partners, experiment with identity resolution tools, or try any of the number of customer acquisition strategies available to companies with deep pockets. By linking interactions and conversions to media, marketers just might be able to find the channels that deliver new customers at the lowest possible costs.

Of course, if Google Ads Data Manager turns out to be as effective and easy to use as Google promises, it could further strengthen Google’s dominance in the market, perhaps to the chagrin of the Justice Department.
Around the Water Cooler
Here's what else we're chatting about...

Programmatic Platform Gives Gaming a New Lease on Life The gaming industry is an untapped wealth market for advertisers. Now, programmatic platforms are opening new gaming worlds for brands. At the Drum Live, leaders from StackAdapt, Reddit, and Allied Global Marketing said that the scale and sophistication of advertising in the gaming world have progressed exponentially. Forecasts suggest gaming-related advertising will be worth $17.6bn globally by 2030. (The Drum)

Sincera Invests $4.2 Million to Improve Complex Ad Tech Industry Ad tech companies are always looking to improve their businesses to compete with the new global market, and there’s nothing like a $4.2 million investment to get the ball rolling. Sincera, the newly coined metadata company, is investing in the ad tech industry to help companies become better. “It’s a very promising time in ad tech,” said Ian Meyers, Co-founder of Sincera. “but also a very chaotic time because of how much change is happening, and companies need the raw materials to build, improve and de-risk their products.” (AdExchanger)

Black-owned Media Company Fears Being Labeled an MFA Site The influx of post-George Floyd money brought some Black media companies huge increases in ad revenue and first-time commitments from buyers. But now, with Facebook referrals waning, some Black publishers are finding the need to buy traffic to fulfill ad impressions. One Black publisher has worries they'll be labeled an MFA site because of this. First, it was the Black tech tax, making it difficult for Black publishers to keep the lights on. And now there's this. (Digiday)
One X Post
What Happens When Consumers Don't Mind MFA Sites?
I clicked on a juicy headline today that took me to a site I believed to be MFA. There were ads littered everywhere (from blue chip brands, may I add). But the article was kind of interesting so I spent 5 minutes and read the whole thing.

Now what?
Worth a Listen
How AI Is Changing Strategies to Enhance Our Yield Efficiencies And Outcomes with Robert Applegate, Tubi
In this episode of The Pub Way Podcast, hosts Tina & Mike sit down with Robert Applegate (VP, Advertising and Revenue Operations at Tubi) to discuss how AI is changing processes and strategies to enhance yield efficiencies and outcomes.

During the conversation, they discussed:
• The evolution of OTT/CTV and streaming services.
• How AI is impacting AdOps within advertising.
• How can Publishers intentionally leverage AI across their business?
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