In an ecosystem dominated and monopolized by Amazon, Google, and Meta, we know that all publishers are not created equal. This discrepancy is particularly pronounced for LGBTQ+ publishers who struggle to obtain the ad spend they rightfully deserve.
While there have been some positive developments, as highlighted in a recent study by the ANA’s Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM) in collaboration with MAVEN/Media Framework, LGBTQ ad spend nearly doubled from 2020 to 2022, reaching $15 million. However, there is still room for improvement.
Exactly one year ago, we delved into the challenges faced by LGBTQ publishers, including the issue of keyword blocklists, which often block advertisers from reaching diverse audiences. We also shed light on the bright side, showcasing ad tech vendors who support LGBTQ publishers.
Today we revisit this topic by consulting industry experts to gauge whether these challenges persist. Unfortunately, our findings reveal that these issues are far from resolved. We caught up with Nandini Jammi, co-founder at Check My Ads Institute, Chris Kenna, CEO and Founder of Brand Advance Group, and Michael Kelley, Chair and President of Growth/Development at equalpride.com.
Jammi was our primary source in our research last year, and according to her, the hate groups are having their way this year.
Hate Group Success Scares Marketers Off
You read it right, in 2023 hate groups are still thriving. These hate groups and outlets make a full-time job out of engaging in hateful theatrics geared toward the LGBTQ+ community.
“Hate groups have been building out disturbing narratives around the LGBTQ+ community for years,” Jammi explains. “And this year, they decided to focus their attention on big brands, specifically ones with brick-and-mortar stores. Target, Kohl’s, and North Face faced harassment online but had to contend with the physical threat of violence in their stores. This year is uniquely violent, and I can understand how they successfully spooked marketing executives who normally wouldn’t think twice about openly celebrating Pride.”
Jammi predicts we will see a lot of internal reflection in the next 12 months as corporate marketers assess what’s happening.
The Rocky Road of Navigating LGBTQ+ Ad Spend
Chris Kenna reassured us that 2022 – 2023 has been a challenging year for LGBTQ+ community and media.
“The implementation of Brand Safety and Brand Suitability settings such as GARM which has a social issues setting allows brands to block 95% of LGBTQ+ media if they put this setting too high,” Kenna says. “Most LGBTQ+ issues are social issues. It’s imperative that when a brand and their agency wishes to support the community they adjust what they deem to be brand suitable. This will ensure as much budget is spent in that community’s ecosystem.”
He advises brands and agencies to use single person assets or product assets if they don’t want to produce an LGBTQ+ campaign to run in the communities direct media.
On the Bright Side
When asked about ad spend challenges at equalpride.com, America’s #1 media voice for the LGBTQ+ community, Kelley mentioned programmatic, social media, and performance-based advertising methods as challenges. It seems with these methods the intended messages get misconstrued.
“While these methods may deliver intended audiences at scale, they also deliver unintended audiences, the minority of which are lying in wait to weaponize the diverse intentions against the brands and destroy reputations and brand equity,” Kelley explains.
Kelley reassures brands that they do not have to spend an arm and a leg to reach LGBTQ+ audiences if they invest in the community each year.
“Brands consistently spending with minority media are reaping the very simple benefit of love and loyalty in return for showing love to the LGBTQ+ community. LGBTQ+ audience numbers are as high as 40m Americans and 2.4 trillion in household spend. We are recession proof,” says Kelley.