The Conscious Project is a global effort combining Channel Factory’s proprietary technology with education and awareness to support the advertising industry and to help transform it into a more equitable, diverse and inclusive ecosystem.
The Project was developed to bring more positivity and inclusivity to the world and create a better advertising ecosystem. After a review and assessment of Channel Factory’s internal processes, and further inspired by client demand for a more inclusive and diverse approach to advertising on YouTube, Channel Factory kicked off work on The Conscious Project. The findings led Channel Factory to develop the Project’s s core elements: education, tools, and services that help brands develop new approaches to diversity and inclusion.
A recent study conducted by CHEQ found that 93% of LGBTQ+ friendly channels are blocked by industry standard block lists. As part of Channel Factory’s Conscious Project, the company is helping brands re-evaluate block lists and employ proactive inclusion strategies designed to ensure brands and creators are aligned. Additionally, The Conscious Project aims to shine a light on positivity and human stories by investing in the creators & communities who are championing diverse, equitable, and inclusive subject matter on YouTube. Channel Factory will work with its partners to highlight and support these creators and communities through inclusive targeting strategies that will in turn, open up advertising and sponsorship opportunities that may previously have been unavailable to both brands and creators.
“More than a year after the level of social unrest bubbled up to unprecedented proportions, the media and advertising industry have still not properly addressed what is an inherent structural bias that exists within advertising,” said Tony Chen, CEO and founder at Channel Factory. “While we are far from finding permanent solutions to these problems, we are proactively working with our clients to develop technological solutions and strategies to help address this imbalance. This has formed a key part of The Conscious Project – ultimately, we need to bring the industry together to create a more inclusive environment online and a positive space for advertisers, consumers and creators.”
“In our research we have uncovered the shocking impact that keyword blocking and brand safety controls have on marginalised groups such as the LGBTQ+ community,” said Jonathan Marciano, Director of Communications at CHEQ. “Publishers and creators within these communities are disproportionately penalised by industry practices. We found, for instance, that words such as ‘lesbian’ ‘bisexual’ and ‘drag queens’ are placed as standard on brands’ keyword exclusion lists with 73% of safe content being denied advertising dollars. Platforms and brands who take inclusion and diversity seriously should review their processes to ensure that minority voices are not being squeezed out, which often alienates the very audiences they are seeking to target.”
At a time when 60% of consumers say they feel more positive around brands who advertise in inclusive and diverse environments, offering technologies that enable more inclusive environments is crucial. The Conscious Project will contribute to a better ad ecosystem on YouTube by helping advertisers operate with more information on the creators they are helping to monetise. It will enable advertisers and creators to better realise their shared monetisation goals, and will help users by promoting and sustaining diverse voices.
“People are not only more aware of what’s going on around them in the world right now – they are also, quite rightly, more vocal about social issues, local communities, and environmental sustainability,” commented Nick Graham, Client Partner at Infectious Media. “This sentiment needs to be reflected across every part of today’s successful businesses, from the objectives set in the boardroom all the way through to targeting and media choices within campaign planning. Everyone is accountable in ensuring today’s brands are representative of the communities they’re working with to create a more diverse and inclusive advertising ecosystem.”
This Conscious Project will enable brands to align their content and marketing strategies with the values of their audiences. As 73% of consumers would prefer to buy from brands committed to socially conscious causes, offering brands the ability to feature content alongside the right context is a step in the right direction.