Don’t Fall into the Data Targeting Trap When Trying to Reach Minority Consumers

September 16th, 2020

By now, you’ve probably seen the statistics. Minorities have $3.9 trillion worth of buying power. 44% of millennials are minorities. According to a Pew Research Report, Gen Z (post-millennials)  is the most racially and ethnically diverse group. Many businesses that once viewed minorities as an emerging segment are starting to ensure that they are a core part of their strategy. In order to reach them, businesses are implementing digital advertising tactics. That definitely falls in line with their consumption habits, but they should be careful with how they target them.  

Don’t fall for the data targeting trap!

I’m a big data proponent, but in this case, marketers should be extremely careful when leveraging it to find their desired audience. It probably sounds ideal to target African American or Hispanic affinity audiences, but it may not be as targeted as you had hoped. Why? Because the signals to build the audience may be too broad. For instance, an African American affinity audience may include users who listen to hip hop or rap. However, those genres have become so global that it will include users from all backgrounds. This can lead to unintended waste meaning you aren’t reaching the audience(s) you had hoped.

In order to avoid waste, ask your data provider how that audience is validated. They do this in many ways, but the primary method is a survey. Individuals opt-in and will self-declare their demographic information. If your partner can’t provide that information or validation, buyer beware. In addition, many platforms such as Facebook are starting to remove these audiences. If you were targeting these data segments, it’s definitely time to rethink your strategy.

So how do you reach these consumers more appropriately?

If you’re using data, that often means you’re buying your ads programmatically. You may be leveraging a demand-side platform (DSP), which is essentially where you purchase your media.  It allows you to run your ads on a variety of websites. These tap into supply-side platforms (SSPs), which are the publishers that allow individuals (you/DSP) to serve ads on their sites.  The key here will be to ask your DSP partner if they can target SSPs that contain content that is diverse and come from minority-owned publishers. There are a few up-and-coming SSPs that specialize in curating this type of content.  

By tapping into this network, you will get the desired scale you need without relying on unclean data and unnecessary waste. It will also be easier to validate where you are serving your ads by asking for a list of websites that they appear. This will be a good indication of the quality of content and reach.

By accurately targeting this growing segment, you will start building an authentic relationship. One that ensures you are reaching them within content that they consume on a consistent basis. Ultimately allowing you to be purposeful with your marketing spend. By 2040, minorities are expected to be the majority of the nation. It is key to implement a strategy that allows you to accurately and appropriately reach them now to better prepare you and your business for the future.