Advertising Diversity Took ‘Step Backwards’ Despite Being ‘Proven Growth Driver’ (New Report)

← Back to blogPublishing

Last September, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) released marketing investment guidelines intended to “help those marketers who are interested in supporting diverse suppliers but are still sitting on the sidelines and not sure where to begin.”

Despite those diversity efforts, the ANA discovered in its latest research, “A Diversity Report For The Advertising/Marketing Industry,” that 2023 was actually a “step backwards” for the advertising and marketing industry, with diversity falling from 32.3% in 2022 to 30.8% amongst its member companies … and even further when those numbers are compared to the larger population.

“This raises concerns that diversity, a proven growth driver per McKinsey, may be slipping in strategic importance for some brands,” the report says. “The 30.8 percent ethnic diversity of the advertising/marketing industry remains below the 42.2 percent diversity of the total U.S. population. And after making progress in 2022, the decline in 2023 is very disappointing. Ethnic diversity remains particularly poor for the African American/Black and Hispanic/Latino segments.”

The study found diversity “particularly poor” for the Black and Hispanic/Latino segments, and “especially troublesome” at the entry-level, where diversity fell from 34.2% in 2022 to 31.3% last year.

(Photo Source: ANA)

The study shared some of the practices its members recommended to help improve diversity, from sharing diversity metrics with marketing teams to creating task forces focused on recruitment and retention. And while the industry looks to forge a better path and gain better traction with those actionable steps, there was one strong diversity showing in this study’s findings.

“For gender, female representation at the senior leadership level is 57.7 percent according to the ANA board of directors and select member companies diversity benchmark and 59.9 percent in the analysis of the ANA member CMOs,” according to the ANA, which says both numbers are at the highest levels seen in the study’s six-year history. “Women comprise the majority of the marketing industry’s workforce: 67.2 percent according to the ANA board of directors and select member companies diversity benchmark and 69.5 percent in the analysis of the ANA overall membership.”


The Magazine Manager is a web-based CRM solution designed to help digital and print publishers manage sales, production, and marketing in a centralized platform.

Request a Demo

Schedule a free demo with an experienced software consultant to help make your publishing efforts successful.

Related Articles