The U.S. multicultural population is now over 120 million people and make up 38% of the U.S population. They are a young, empowered, culture-driven and digital savvy segment growing at a faster rate than the general population. Smart brands are gearing up for this demographic shift and understand that engaging consumers on digital platforms where they live, work and play, likely involves a targeted mix of in-language and English media.

Given this premise however, unlike general market and/or mainstream campaign briefs, multicultural briefs can be very narrow and granular to hyper-segment for niche audience targeting. With that, one of the top questions on every marketer's mind allocating digital media budget for these segments is "Is this consumer really Hispanic?" or "Is this consumer really South Asian?" and so forth and so on. It gets even more challenging when we're trying to reach sub-segments like Polish or Dominicans as the population gets further reduced and so does the accuracy of effectively targeting.

Programmatic is a game changer

With the ever-changing digital landscape, brands are now leveraging the opportunity that programmatic buying has afforded them. No longer riddled with targeting uncertainty, multicultural marketers are experiencing a leveling of the playing field by placing their tailored messaging in front of the intended segment. Identifying a critical need that lets brands segment and sub-segment data and audiences more definitively, agencies are developing data-management platforms (DMPs). At Gravity we developed one as well and called it AudienceM. Not only AudienceM helps marketers target specific ethnic audiences, like Venezuelans rather than general Hispanic consumers, it allows for further sub-segmentation. For instance, Venezuelan consumers who are male, age 27-34, who are soccer enthusiasts and reside in NYC. By utilizing AudienceM, brands can now target 78-plus ethnicities as well as 300-plus sub-segments across the web and mobile. Inclusion of essential cultural nuances that AudienceM affords brands now makes hyper-targeting and potential increased market share more of a reality than ever before. 

The limitations of traditional programmatic buying has made social-media sites like Facebook and Twitter more critical  for marketers looking to reach multicultural audiences. Instead of relying on mere cookies, Facebook gleans information from users' behaviors to determine whether they're part of the U.S. Hispanic Affinity Group. For example, Facebook includes people who have their language set to Spanish, post in Spanish or like pages that feature content of interest to Hispanics, thus reaching 26.7M people.

Music, entertainment and mainstream media are following suit

We also see a trend among streaming music services beginning to fortify their ad products and showcase the wealth of targeted data they can provide brands. Advertisers on Pandora can now target its 80M monthly listeners based on specific demographics and choose from 700 audience segments, further emphasizing the streaming radio service's move toward programmatic advertising. However, if you want to target South Asian consumers in the U.S. or India who love Bollywood music you would need to rely on Saavn, music streaming service which revolutionized streaming business in India and the U.S. Even Univision is launching a platform that will power programmatic ads for The Onion and other websites including Univision Digital, The Root and The A.V. Club. The platform, called Mosaico Trading, will allow brands that advertise with the publisher to tap into Univision's more than 40,000 syndicated and custom audience segments, which could be useful for targeting a younger, pan-Hispanic audience. 

All of these developments highlight the fact that finally multicultural marketers will have the tools that general market advertisers have had access to for a while, so they too can get the most bang for their buck.


Shweta Joshi, Account Manager at Gravity contributed to this article.