Why diversity in media planning is a business imperative | Digital

It’s a simple science: for publishers to thrive, and for quality journalism to thrive, they must be supported by a steady stream of advertising revenue. It’s no secret that mainstream media has suffered from the rise of the Alphabet, Meta and Amazon triopoly, with the tech giants together control half of the advertising ecosystem outside of China.

Mainstream media are barely hanging on, but minority-supported media are suffering. There is an urgent business imperative for the advertising world to catch up with societal changes, ensuring funds flow throughout the publishing ecosystem. Minority publishers must be supported to ensure that all voices are heard. Although freedom of expression is vitally important, we must not neglect diversity of expression. From creation to media plan, we need to make sure we are more inclusive and diverse. Channeling money to the triopoly can be efficient and scalable for brands, but at what cost to the local publishing ecosystem?

Before looking at the solution to this problem, it is important to analyze why diversity is currently lacking in media planning, especially here in the APAC region. We are an incredibly diverse region, made up of many different languages, cultures and backgrounds. Given the fragmented ecosystem, defining and executing a diverse media plan can be challenging.

The intent is there, but brands have been slow to move due to the seemingly impossible task of executing an inclusive media plan programmatically. First, marketers are concerned about scalability. How is it possible to create a diverse media plan that reflects both audience and effectiveness? Brand safety is another concern, with overly rigid settings blocking access to key communities. Even if your campaign is diverse at heart, execution risks undermine it.

It may seem strange, for such a moving subject, to say that technology is the answer. And yet it is, in part. Previously, if brands wanted to support, say, 10 minority publishers, they would have had to cultivate 10 separate relationships to run their advertising on those sites. Today, with the advent of organized marketplaces, niche players are brought together, becoming instantly scalable and purchased from a single unique identifier. Brands are suddenly able to buy large-scale audiences enriched with data that guarantees their relevance. These are not tools specifically designed to bring diversity to the business, they are essential in shaping the future of a more efficient, effective and accurate media plan. But in doing so, they help bring diversity to the table more effectively than ever.

Finally, measurement and transparency go hand in hand and will play a key role in building trust. By claiming diversity, brands are more closely watched than ever. This can lead to hesitation and “playing it safe” when it comes to diversity. Technology allows you to measure the performance of your media plan in a much more effective and revealing way than using CPM as your main performance indicator.

Equally, it gives brands much greater visibility into their spend: is it going to the right publisher, is it genuinely fueling an open and diverse internet rather than supporting the usual suspects? By ensuring spend reaches its intended destination and delivering proven results to advertisers across these platforms, the technology helps advertisers support content for diverse audiences.

Emotional intelligence and cultural sensitivity may be at the heart of diversity, but technology is what drives it.


Eimear O’Rourke is Account Manager at Xandr.

Cathy W. Howerton