How small Black- and Latinx-owned print publications created digital advertising businesses through the Google News Initiative – Digiday

BIPOC-owned media companies may have collectively received an influx of RFPs and longer-term ad deals from advertisers that increased their multicultural marketing budgets in support of the Black Lives Matter movement last summer. But those without programmatic capabilities or digital advertising…….

npressfetimg-15980.png

BIPOC-owned media companies may have collectively received an influx of RFPs and longer-term ad deals from advertisers that increased their multicultural marketing budgets in support of the Black Lives Matter movement last summer. But those without programmatic capabilities or digital advertising rate cards were missing out. 

Google saw an opportunity to help independent Black-owned and Latinx-owned media companies improve their digital advertising abilities to field the increase of advertising requests from companies, as well as compete for larger portions of those multicultural media budgets. And thus was born the Google News Initiative’s Ad Transformation Lab for Black and Latinx-owned news publishers, created in partnership with the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the National Association of Hispanic Publications and the Association of Alternative Newsmedia.

Over a six-month period, 28 Black-owned and Latinx-owned publications, including Blavity News and The Los Angeles Sentinel, underwent a digital transformation led by the Google News Initiative — for some monetizing their digital operations for the first time ever — to catch up to the rest of the publishing industry.

All of the media companies applied to the program and were selected based on a number of criteria, which includes proof of being Black or Latinx-owned or that the publication serves underrepresented communities, proof that scaling digital ad revenue is a priority for the business and indication that upper management is invested in long-term digital ad revenue success, according to the selection requirements section of the online application form. Selected participants are not required to join Google’s ad network, nor did they have to adopt the platform’s ad tech and toolkit. The Lab is completely free to participants, without any stipulation that they have to share any programmatic ad revenue with Google. This is due to the pledge made by Google in 2018 to allocate $300 million in funding to news organizations.

Bootcamp for programmatic businesses

The first iteration of the Lab was a six-month-long program that ran from January to June 2021 and gave 28 publications the opportunity to learn how to use new technologies from the Google advertising suite, as well as learn how to price and sell their digital operations more accurately. It had a particular focus on programmatic advertising, although the participants learned how to set CPMs and create rate cards for direct-sold campaigns as well. 

Every Friday, representatives from each publication met virtually to learn search engine optimization (i.e. tactics to help their sites rank higher in organic search results), how to create a competitive pricing model, how to use the Google tools that are available to them and more, through the help of their coaches and cohort members. They were also assigned homework, which meant sharing the lessons with the companies’ publishers and sales teams and implementing the tools.

On average, the lab’s participants experienced a 25% increase in programmatic revenue as well as a 10% increase in traffic from the first three months of the Lab compared to the second three months of the Lab, according to Google, but the most important growth indicator, according to two publishers that participated in the program, was the impact to their business operations. Google did not provide exact figures.

Publishers’ experiences

The AFRO is a 129-year-old publication based in Baltimore, Maryland and is the longest-running Black and family-owned newspaper in the United States. Up until this year, however, programmatic advertising was so marginal, it wasn’t even tracked as its own revenue stream, according to Dana Peck, the publication’s director of digital solutions.

<…….

Source: https://digiday.com/media/how-small-black-and-latinx-owned-print-publications-created-digital-advertising-businesses-through-the-google-news-initiative/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *