Trading desks have long served at the pleasure of large advertisers, who have utilized their services to buy digital ads at scale through automated channels. But a new trading desk, launched earlier this month, is taking a much different approach: it's gearing its services to advertisers trying to reach multicultural audiences only, hoping its expertise reaching that segment alone will give it a competitive edge.
"We are looking to make this process easier for advertisers, agencies, and publishers to better serve the multicultural user," said David Jones, CEO of The Cipher Group, an interactive solutions and brand marketing company that is heading up the initiative. Those budgets, Mr. Jones said, will grow as the world's demographics continue to shift. "By 2050, the world will be a lot more brown and diverse. Our goal is to continue to be thought leaders in the digital, multicultural space."
Cipher launched the trading desk in conjunction with MediaMath service layer Huddled Masses Media and The NorthStar Group, which publishes magazines The Source and Jones. The aim is to build relationships with publishers whose content attracts multicultural audiences so the trading desk can easily run campaigns across their sites when asked.
"Essentially, what they're doing is helping people do what can be done but takes a lot of work," said Charles Cantu, CEO of Huddled Masses, which will bring its technical expertise to the group. The same content and audiences can be reached via the open exchange, he said, but would require a serious amount of relationship building to aggregate. Univision, Terra, ESPN, NBC and others already have relationships with this new entity, according to Mr. Cantu. "The question is, do multicultural agencies want to do all of this work themselves?" he said. "Usually the answer is no."
The trading desk will aim to get better as time goes on, figuring out which sites resonate with which demographics and optimizing future campaigns based off that data. "It's not starting from ground zero every time they do a campaign," said Mr. Jones.