WPP’s GroupM launches multicultural marketplace with 300 vetted publishers

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • WPP’s media investment group GroupM has introduced The GroupM Multicultural Marketplace in the U.S. in a move to expand and scale its efforts around offering more diverse media buying opportunities to advertisers, according to a press release.
  • The marketplace consists of a growing list of around 300 Black- and Hispanic- owned publishers, which create and distribute content for these audiences. Ads can be purchased to appear within the content using automated technology.
  • GroupM has developed a proprietary 20-point eligibility criteria across five categories to vet publishers for the marketplace. These include: traffic and targeting capabilities, content relevancy and recency, privacy policies, ad rendering, clutter and ownership.

Dive Insight:

GroupM’s new marketplace aims to support Black- and Hispanic-owned and focused independent media and journalism by making it easier for advertisers to purchase ads while putting their message in front of targeted audiences. Advertisers often avoid independent publishers because of expectations that purchasing ads in this environment will be challenging because it is not automated, per the press release.

At the same time, GroupM is providing its clients assurances around delivery, accountability and brand safety by vetting publishers and content to ensure it meets certain criteria.

For publishers, the Multicultural Marketplace is intended to help them navigate the financial pressures associated with the consolidation of digital spending around large platforms. The marketplace expands and scales GroupM’s existing efforts around supporting multicultural media.

“At times, especially in a price-driven environment, media ‘value’ is distilled to efficiency alone, and audience engagement and content relationships may be overlooked,” said Susan Schiekofer, chief digital investment officer at GroupM, in a statement. “The current and future marketplace demands an accountable, accessible-now, and focused investment strategy that better balances efficiency, engagement and effectiveness in reaching the Black and Hispanic communities.”

Calls for racial justice and equality are reverberating across the marketing industry and many agencies have signed ambitious pledges to reshape internal teams and help clients support relevant causes. Havas Media Group recently launched a private marketplace made up of Black, Indigenous, People of Color and LGTBQ+-owned media businesses to help advertisers invest in these companies, per MediaPost.

Previously, WPP pledged $10 million to fund inclusion programs as the agency holding group bolsters its commitment to supporting Black and minority talent. The news came as a direct response to an open letter from more than 1,200 Black advertising professionals across the industry titled “A Call for Change” that laid out 12 actions needed for the industry to address racism.

Last year, research from Association of National Advertisers Educational Foundation (AEF) revealed that marketers continue to struggle with recruiting and retaining racially diverse talent because of a disconnect in the resources they invest in diversity initiatives and the lack of inclusiveness that diverse workers feel.

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