Facebook has published a new report on the importance of diversity in advertising, and the barriers that exist in facilitating greater representation in all forms of promotion.

Working in partnership with Deloitte, Facebook conducted a range of interviews and surveys to identify the key impediments limiting more representative advertising, with a view to highlighting both the need for representation, and to address the systemic barriers that require more focus in maximizing this push.

As explained by Facebook:

“Advertising has the power to shape our world. When done well, it reflects our innermost desires, feeds our greatest aspirations, and fuels our feelings of hope and belonging. The stories we see in advertising shape how we see ourselves, and each other. But for too long, the sense of belonging was reserved for a very narrow audience, leaving only 41% of US consumers feeling represented in the ads they see.”

The 47-page guide covers a range of key insights and notes, and highlights what needs to be done to overcome existing restrictions in approach.

Facebook Publishes New Report on the Importance of Diversity in Advertising

As you can see here, the main focus of the report looks at the key areas that require greater discussion, in order to facilitate more representation in the ad sector. The report also looks at the biggest concerns among ad execs and CMOs in relation to increasing diversity in their content.

Facebook Publishes New Report on the Importance of Diversity in Advertising

The guide also includes key recommendations and pointers to help address the key elements of focus, and maximize inclusion in ads.

Facebook Publishes New Report on the Importance of Diversity in Advertising

There are some valuable notes here, with specific insights into why brands and agencies are hesitant to boost diversity in their campaigns, despite understanding the importance of such from a broader, social perspective.

Indeed, the research suggests that there is a willingness to adopt a more inclusive approach, in general, but hesitancy remains around perception, and coming off the wrong way in such.

As per the report:

“93% of agency survey respondents said they would be very receptive or receptive to additional guidance or tools around how to address representation and inclusion in advertising, which suggests they would be willing to create more representative and inclusive content should the ask come from their clients.”  

Yet, brands don’t want to make a mistake, and then be vilified for such, with the public backlash now more active, more immediate, and arguably more impactful than ever.

These are important points of discussion in the broader debate, and while it does seem like brands should more actively seek to include more people and cultures in their campaigns, the risks can also be very real, and can be hugely impactful. Which is why we need to have discussions like this to help advance our approach.

The full report, as noted, includes pointers from Deloitte on how to address each element, and it’s worth considering the various impacts, and how they relate to your own concerns, and approaches in this key area.

You can download the full ‘Barriers to Representative Advertising’ study here.

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