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TripleLift Releases Global Research Addressing the State of DE&I Investment in Digital Advertising

TripleLift, the ad tech platform elevating digital advertising across every screen, today released a global research report on the State of DE&I Investment in Digital Advertising. The report surveyed 200 digital marketers1 and 100 diverse-owned publishers to establish benchmarks and calls to action for a better future of equitable advertising. Findings revealed that there is a considerable disconnect between publishers and advertisers, especially when it comes to defining successful fulfillment of digital ad spend in DE&I commitments. The report also unveils a critical gap in the market that is leaving barriers to entry for smaller diverse-owned publishers and highlights that the value in working with diverse-owned publishers goes beyond growing revenue for each respective party.

According to a study completed in April 2023 by the Association of National Advertisers, only 1.85% of all current ad spending goes to diverse-owned media and just 1.2% of current spending goes to diverse-owned and targeted media. Despite the same report detailing that 56% of marketing executives are interested in supporting diverse suppliers.2 This vast difference between desire and delivery offers a massive opportunity for diverse-owned media publishers to extend reach to broader audiences and assist marketers in reaching their targeted goals. 

To address these gaps and create sustainable progress head-on, TripleLift and Dentsu are partnering to launch a new Publisher Tech Fund initiative designed to empower and create access for diverse-owned publishers to grow their programmatic capabilities. Now, advertisers can more easily meet their diverse supplier commitments. The Publisher Tech Fund provides coaching, grants, and networking opportunities for diverse-owned publishers, making an impact beyond just media investments. 

TripleLift’s research clearly details that marketers and publishers have a mutual need for access to scalable inventory for diverse-owned publishers and a clearly defined set of industry standards in order to achieve programmatic success – and they are looking straight at ad tech for solutions. Simultaneously, there is a lack of marketers’ measuring brand relationships and messaging impact with their diverse targets. 

Diverse-owned publishers who took the survey cited barriers related to ad tech as a primary challenge they currently face. These barriers come in the form of technological difficulties integrating, too-high inventory minimums, and a lack of support for ad operations and data management. One immediate solution is for publishers to partner with ad tech platforms that are clearly defining their commitments to growing the quality and scale of their diverse inventory.

“TripleLift has had a long-term commitment to fostering a more diverse and inclusive programmatic ecosystem,” said Thomas Brandon, vice president of agency strategy and economic inclusion at TripleLift. “The report revealed much-needed industry truths, and with programs like this new tech fund, we’re aiming to create sustainable and streamlined access to more resources and monetization. It’s just one added layer of offerings from programs like Underrepresented Voices (UNREP), which now has a vast inventory of 220 billion monthly impressions across diverse-owned sites and carefully curated packages.” 

In a continued effort of support, TripleLift and Dentsu joined the BOMESI Accelerator Program as supporting partners. The program supports diverse-owned digital publishers that are driving lasting social change. TripleLift and Dentsu will contribute towards the financial assistance and educational resources for the seven publishers selected as part of the BOMESI Accelerator’s Cohort 3, which launched this Spring.

“Black-owned media companies receive less than 1% of media investment leaving them underfunded and unable to gain sustainable opportunities,” said Bonin Bough, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Group Black. “Current industry standards detailing how to support diversity in advertising are wide open to interpretation and fail to robustly support diverse publishers. As TripleLift’s report shows, there may be a strong sense of goodwill, but there remains a huge gulf between intention and action. Putting money towards actively supporting diverse publishers is a first step towards empowerment and effectiveness.”

When asked how success is determined, responses in the report were incredibly varied. The majority see success as just an element of spend. However, a good portion of marketers see success as just identifying/setting a goal. A set process for measuring success (action, impact and iteration) was lacking.

“We have a profound opportunity to close the gap between aspiration and action,” said Deva Bronson, EVP, Head of Media Responsibility, Dentsu. “The Publisher Tech Fund aims to remove systemic barriers that have historically limited access, coaching and ultimately, investment towards diverse-owned suppliers. We can drive measurable change when brand advertisers, diverse-owned media companies and agencies all have a seat at the table.”

In order to create a clear vision for a better road forward for the future of DE&I in digital advertising, this State of the Industry proves industry standards, more inventory, and a standardized certification for diverse-owned media are imperative next steps. 

On June 18th at 11am CEST, TripleLift will present findings from the State of DE&I investment report at Inkwell Beach in Cannes, France. Influential voices will be in attendance for a thought-provoking discussion following the presentation. Learn more about the event here. Click here to view the global research findings. 

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