Since 2020, brands have promised diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in their advertising promotion and cost. In response, a number of ad networks have been created that specialize in connecting advertisers to a diverse audience through partnerships with minority-owned and minority-led publishers.
My code was ahead of that particular trend. It began in 2015 as H Code, an advertising network representing publishers that caters to Hispanic audiences in the United States. Its publisher inventory has since expanded, with offers aimed at reaching out to black and AAPI audiences with emerging publisher networks to reach women and the LGBTQ community.
Today, my code has about 850 publishers on the ad network Using contextual cues, My Code creates audience graphs for brands to target their advertising messages, and further refines these audiences using insights gathered from third-party cookies, first-party data, and panel-based surveys.
Parker Morse, founder and CEO of MyCode, believes the rise of multicultural ad networks over the past two years is great news for the advertising industry and for media-inventory monetization efforts by minority-led publishers.
“It’s exciting to see a huge investment in a multicultural and diverse marketing space. That investment helps improve the ecosystem, “said Morse. “A company will not be able to do everything.”
Scalability vs. Specialization
However, as the “diversity” of many communities falls under the umbrella, the media landscape is currently very fragmented among expert publishers among these diverse audiences, creating problems for scalable ad networks, Morse said.
“Without scale, performance is difficult to run. And without performance, how long will brand marketers, who have numbers that have to hit in terms of ROI, continue to increase their costs? “He said.
One way around the scalability problem is through specialization. Advertising networks need to invest heavily in research to reach an audience and create campaigns that speak to those audiences in an authentic way, Morse said.
“We first came out to solve the media execution on a scale. From this, we’ve learned our clients’ other creative and data-centric challenges, “he said.
Creative and content healing
Researching my code and content-creating weapons publishers content and brand campaign messaging to relevant audiences and specific niches within these audiences.
For example, My Code Black Lifestyle has worked with publisher Def Penn and Starbucks to create a cross-platform branded-content campaign that highlights how two black female Starbucks employees support their community during the holiday season. Research of my code has helped inform the tone and content of the promotion about the type of resonating messaging with Black listeners.
My code has worked with GMC to promote the Sierra Truck auto manufacturer line at social media and the Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards. My Code research has shown that tradition and family are central to the positive image of masculinity in Hispanic culture, so the campaign has shown the voice-over of Hispanic men on how to let their trucks work hard for their families.
My Code is expanding its operations to Mexico, where its current team number is 20 employees. It has an exclusive partnership with Mexico-based publisher Grupo Imagen, which creates hierarchical editorial content to conduct its U.S. programmatic business and resonate with the U.S.-based Hispanic audience. According to Alfredo Martel, Grupo Image’s business development director, this approach has helped Grupo Imagine gain more interest from big-name US brands. The relationship has also boosted the CPM and Phil Rate of Groupo Imagine, Martel said, although he declined to make specific offers.
Another partner in My Code, RocketOne, found it difficult to monetize the portfolios of 13 publisher sites, such as Hypespanic and Black Producer, at startups until it was deployed to My Code’s ad network, said Teddy Fugel, RocketOne’s founder and CEO. Now, My Code manages all of RocketOne’s programmatic business through Prebid.
“You need to get millions of impressions per month before other partners consider you part of their network,” Fugel said. “Driving revenue for these sites and actually bringing them to market is something I probably couldn’t do on my own.”
RocketOne’s experience speaks to the difficulties of big-name brands in working with new, smaller publishers, even those that are purpose-built to reach a different audience. Advertising networks can bridge the gap between the two parties, enabling brands to honor their commitments so that these publishers can run a percentage of their advertising spend.
“The last two years have seen active engagement from existing clients go deeper into the market, and new ones that have never come into space before,” Morse said. Nearly two years after the assassination of George Floyd, Brands took action.
Given the demographic trend in the United States, Morse is optimistic and believes that these spending commitments represent a new level.
“You cannot deny the fact that the population is shifting and changing, and in the future the United States will be 50% non-white,” he said. “Brands that realize that they will be in a better position in the future than brands that don’t exist now.”