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Group Black plans to launch first-party data platform for Black and Hispanic audiences in Q3 2024

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Group Black is launching a new audience and insights data offering in the third quarter of 2024 that aims to provide advertisers with the ability to better target Black and Hispanic consumers.

The offering will aggregate first-party data from 10-15 diverse-owned companies across health and beauty, travel and finance sectors, said Bonin Bough, co-founder of Group Black. 

Group Black, the Black-owned media company that operates an ad exchange to sell ads across other publishers, including Essence, Reach TV and Pod Digital Media, will disseminate the data into new audience segments. Bough said that advertisers will be able to buy ads against those audiences across Group Black’s owned-and-operated platforms and the Group Black Collective, which includes 250-plus Black-owned media companies, like any other data layer platform – but one specifically targeting Black and Hispanic audiences, he explained.

Rather than charging advertisers more for access to this data platform, the goal is this will serve as an incentive to spend ad dollars with Group Black, Bough said. 

Group Black will push the aggregated data through its new partner, AI-powered martech cloud company Zeta Global, to activate those ads with individualized messaging based on identity and intent, according to a Group Black spokesperson. When asked how the data would be activated, they said: “We are currently working through the activation process and details with Zeta, but all are anonymized to match contextually relevant content to target those audiences.”

One of the companies providing data for Group Black’s new platform is Equity Quotient, which gathers socioeconomic and demographic data to benchmark marketing spend to specific communities, such as spending behavior, household income or employment. Clients can use the data to determine how much to spend in different markets, for example, the spokesperson said.

When asked how many unique individuals or households were in Group Black’s new dataset, the company spokesperson said: “It’s hard to quantify at this time as we are in the process of onboarding data partners.”

But there are already several publishers’ first-party audience data offerings available to marketers, from Conde Nast’s Spire to Vox’s Forte, making it challenging to attribute value to each new offering, said Seth Hargrave, CEO of media buying agency MediaTwo Interactive.

“All of these [first-party data] offerings are really starting to convolute, as a buyer, what that upper funnel value may be [to advertisers],” said Hargrave. “It comes down to scale, because truth be told we can have a ton of cooks in the kitchen but we don’t necessarily know what is having the greatest impact because the data from each one of those sources may be limited in terms of scale.”

However, another ad agency exec – who requested anonymity – said the offering wasn’t a new one, and that they worked with other diverse targeted media partners such as Univision’s U.S. Hispanic household data graph. “More and more partners are doing this as they have been migrating off cookies and building people-based identifiers that deliver superior outcomes,” they said.

But Michael Roca, executive director of Elevate, Omnicom Media Group’s cross-cultural media center, noted there is room for more offerings. “There is still a strong appetite for first-party data that better reflects the nuances of diverse cohorts so the more precise data we have in this space, the better we can effectively reach and engage these underserved audiences,” he said in an email.

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