Utilising digital targeting and creative to achieve diversity success.


This webinar was hosted by Josh Tumbridge, the Head of Client Services from Crunch Digital Media and Adam Irwin, the Strategy Director from Ponderosa.

When thinking about a topic like diversity, it is important to get to know the audience you are planning to target. By considering these factors, you can ensure you are targeting them appropriately and effectively.

Section 1 – What You Need to Know.

In 2019, an annual population survey took place across England, Wales, and Scotland. The results showed employment rates by ethnicity and employment distribution across the 16-64 age group.

The results showed that 76% of people aged 16-24 in all the mentioned areas were employed in 2019. 83% of people from the white group were employed, meanwhile, only 56% of people from the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group were employed – the lowest rate out of all the ethnic groups.

As you can tell, there is quite a bit of a divide, and therefore businesses are being asked to fill these quotas.

Discrimination does not just depend on ethnicity. LGBTQ+ employees often experience existing discrimination and harassment at the workplace, which leads them to hide their sexuality from their colleagues.

The results of a recent government LGBTQ+ survey showed that 19% of respondents with a job in the preceding 12 months had not been open about their sexual orientation or gender identity with any of their colleagues. 30% said they had not been open with any senior colleagues, and 57% said they had not been open with any customers or clients.

There is a big question mark here around diversity. We need to make sure, as businesses, that we are approachable so that people do not feel the need to hide who they are. When we are running any campaigns, we need to ensure that we are talking to people in a way that makes them feel accepted, no matter their background.

Targeting Considerations:

In social media campaigns, you typically segment people into varying groups to determine behavioural interests. This process poses a real risk of racial or sexual stereotypes being implemented. As marketers, it is our responsibility to identify solutions that do not allow for discrimination.

Users are now able to find out exactly why they are seeing certain ads. You may have seen a ‘why am I seeing this ad?’ link on your own social media pages. This allows people to see exactly what demographic associations they are being grouped in with, so it is of the utmost importance that these groupings do not rely on racial or sexuality-based stereotypes. Marketers need to ensure that they are not profiling people in a way that could be discriminative.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Highest employed ethnic group is white.
  2. 19% of LGBTQ+ users have not been open with their sexuality in the workplace.
  3. Targeting transparency is a key consideration.

Section 2 – Finding the Perfect Candidate.

Marketers are being asked to fill in these diversity quotas, but you cannot simply hire anyone from these groups and call it a day – you must attract quality over quantity.

The challenge here lies in trying to engage a passive audience. Oftentimes, minority groups do not feel comfortable enough to apply for certain roles. Until very recently, discrimination in the workplace has not been addressed the way it should. Situations such as this can dissuade minority groups from applying to jobs that they may be perfect for. So, how do we talk to this passive audience?

We already know that there are multiple digital touchpoints out there, so it is time to start using this to encourage greater diversity. Campaigns are built upon audiences, and there are many ways we can break up an audience profile. Firstly, we could filter by demographic, which refers to factors such as gender, location, and age. The second is behavioural, and this is the area where we need to ensure that we are not racially profiling or stereotyping. The third is contextual, which is based on website activity and placing ads in the right place. Lastly, there is retargeting, referring to how you can use your website data to effectively talk to your targeted users.

Why does this matter?

  1. It is getting harder and harder to drive applications through an active audience.
  2. Our potential audience sits across multiple channels allowing for budget leakage.
  3. To effectively target quality, we need to build our campaigns upon the audience.

Section 3 – Digital Targeting for Diversity Success.

Custom Audiences

To target diversity and minority groups effectively, you should utilise custom audiences. These are made from audience lists containing information that holds key identifiers you will have collected.

If you have managed to recruit key diversity audiences in the past, we can use this first party data as a baseline in the platform to then try and find new users like those. This means that we are no longer having to rely on behavioural targeting to reach your audience which is great news as nothing is more reliable than your own data.

Hyperlocal Targeting

The Office of National Statistics releases ethnic group statistics for England and Wales at a postcode sector level, meaning the data is not focusing on behavioural interests, but facts. This means that you could target key areas whilst overlaying job role interest to make sure that you are reaching the right audience.

Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting can provide you with some useful information, including what digital content your potential audience is consuming. You can target specific search volume behaviours and industry related websites to reach quality audiences.


Using programmatic platforms gives you the ability to whitelist key audience relevant websites that a potential diversity audience could be engaging with. Programmatic are visual banners. Not relying on stereotypical interest, but contextual website engagement to find where to place banners and maximise visibility.

Section 4 – Creative and Diversity: Messaging and Visual Representation.

Diversity is a phenomenally complicated topic. It is complicated enough from a targeting perspective, but creative execution gets much more subjective and needs to be tackled very carefully.

The similarities between groups are greater than within them. In theory, if you went across all those groups, you could create a new group in terms of their similarities.

When it comes to creative messaging, if you focus on entirely on certain groupings and think of them as cohorts of people that are different from one another it can lead you to discriminate messaging when you do not need to.

For example, a client selling holiday lodge packages approached Ponderosa with the task of targeting LGBTQ+ audiences. There was not a need to specifically cater creative messages to these audiences, as sexuality had nothing to do with whether they would enjoy a holiday lodge package. If a person who happens to be LGBTQ+ wants a holiday in a lodge, they will simply book it – their sexuality has nothing to do with the product.

Instead of creating different messaging for different diversity or minority groups, we must simply ask – what is the creative challenge?

  • Is the proposition compelling to your audience?
  • Is there a barrier for a particular segment?
  • Be careful of moving the focus of the campaign when you don’t need to.

Section 5 – Case Study: Police Now.

The objective of the campaign was to make potential applicants from ethnic groups aware of their new role, promoting Police Now’s goal of a more diverse police force in England and Wales.

The campaign was delivered across Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify. These channels presented the greatest opportunity to reach the right audience with the right message at the right time.

We used Police Now’s existing data on black, Asian, and other ethnic minority audiences to create lookalike audiences. We could then build an audience pool based on previously successful applicants of certain backgrounds. This method of targeting gave us high-quality leads and audiences, getting them into our recruitment funnel.


939,705 impressions

25,845 clicks

83,796 video plays

6.57% click-through rate

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