Havas Media and GroupM each launched curated media marketplaces representing black, Hispanic, LGBTQ+ and other minority-owned publishers, as well as publishers that create content specifically for underrepresented communities.
Havas Media’s social equity private marketplace, which went live last Friday, represents roughly 250 publishers with minority and LGBTQ+ owners, including Blavity, MadameNoire and Black Enterprise. Moen and Michelin have signed on as inaugural spenders.
Clients can access GroupM’s marketplace, which launched on Monday, both programmatically and directly. It includes 300 publishers that are Black- and Hispanic-owned or focused, such as Essence, Oprah Magazine and Atlanta Black Star. GroupM declined to name clients using the marketplace.
“There’s an economic disparity in the supply chain among minority-owned businesses,” said Andrew Goode, Havas Media North America’s EVP head of biddable media. “That relays into under-monetization of those publishers.”
A curated marketplace can help brands identify minority-owned publishers and incorporate them into their media plans. Havas Media’s PMP is available in DV360 and MediaMath, and the agency is working on integrating other buying platforms. Havas is also working closely with Colossus, an SSP representing supply from minority-owned or focused publishers, to grow the marketplace.
“Working with third-parties gave us a high level of confidence and validation, as opposed to a subjective view from Havas,” Goode said.
At GroupM, the digital investment and multicultural teams work together to identify publishers for the marketplace. Because supply is available both programmatically and directly, brands can do custom executions and include publishers that aren’t yet set up for programmatic, said chief digital investment officer Susan Schiekofer.
“We’ll buy them directly until we help them get integrated with the DSPs,” she said.
GroupM and Havas both vet supply against their regular quality standards for viewability, fraud, brand safety, targeting, content subject matter and privacy before availing their supply. “We want to do the right thing, but we won’t do it at the cost of quality,” Goode said.
Neither agency will require clients to commit a minimum amount of spend to these marketplaces, but interest is strong across the board. Both agencies have set internal benchmarks and working groups to ensure they’re making monthly progress against growing the number of publishers, the amount of supply, and the overall investment levels from clients.
And both plan to add more publishers focused on underrepresented groups in the coming year.
GroupM aims to double or triple investment in the marketplace by year’s end, Schiekofer said. Havas declined to share its specific goals for growing the PMP until it gathers more data.
“We don’t want to get excited about this and everything is the same in six months,” Schiekofer said. “If we don’t grow spend, if we don’t grow programs, if we don’t show support in a meaningful way, then it’s not successful.”
While both agencies were working on these initiatives before the COVID-19 outbreak, they expedited them as civil rights protests erupted across the country in response to George Floyd’s killing by a police officer in June.
While most clients were doing one-off executions to reach underrepresented communities prior to the protests, recent public outcry is sparking urgency among brands to do more, said Gonzalo del Fa, president of GroupM Multicultural.
“Clients want to support these communities and the media partners part of those communities in a better way,” he said. “That’s a conversation we’re having almost every day.”
Beyond it being the right thing to do, investing in minority-owned and focused publishers is good for business.
“If you can reach a supply source that wasn’t available or was overpriced previously, that gives you a competitive advantage,” Goode said.