Black consumers have money to spend. Black buying power in the U.S. is estimated to grow to $1.98 trillion by 2025. But when it comes to reaching us with effective advertising, most brands are missing the mark. We don’t even need to revisit the hot mess that was Juneteenth, with Walmart’s ice cream, Dollar Tree’s head wraps, and other fails that were justifiably dragged by Black Twitter.
But according to a new report from Nielsen, “Amplifying Black Voices in the Media: Creating Informed, Thoughtful and Authentic Experiences,” companies are also missing a huge opportunity to connect with our community in the place where we’re most open to advertising – social media.
Black viewers continue to represent a significant share of broadcast and cable viewers. But these days, their time is split as they spend more time on streaming services and social media platforms. And social media is the place where they are most likely to share their opinions (good and bad) about products and services. As Nielsen points out, Black 18-34 year olds are more than twice as likely as other groups to talk about brands on social media.
For Black consumers, most of the content they consume on social media comes from people and companies they have a connection with. A 2021 Nielsen Trust in Advertising study found that 71 percent of consumers trust advertising and product placements from influencers.
The “Amplifying Black Voices” data found the top four Black social media influencers (Zendaya, Khaby Lame, Beyoncé and Cardi B) to each have over 140 million followers. And they each represent an average social media value of over $1 million (Zendaya’s value is over $3 million).
The folks at Nielsen used their report as an opportunity to offer some sound advice for advertisers trying to reach Black consumers:
Don’t pander to the Black community with your messaging. Before you put your ad out there, make sure you’ve had some guidance from cultural experts to make sure you don’t do more harm than good.
From the ad agencies you use to the on-air talent you choose, make sure they are a positive representation of the Black community.
Do Your Work
Don’t just sell us stuff. Make sure your company is also actively engaged with our community, supporting initiatives that uplift our communities and fight injustice.