The top 20 advertisers’ spend on media aimed at African Americans increased by 15.6% between 2011 and 2019, to reach a total of $3.86 billion. Even with this increase, advertising focused on African Americans represents less than 2% of the total US advertising market, per a report [download page] from Nielsen.
Previous research has shown a history of underrepresentation in media spend for multicultural groups in the US, especially when it comes to African Americans. Last year, PQ Media and ANA found that although African Americans make up a little more than 13% of the US population only 1.4% of total media spend is targeted towards them.
This is even though African Americans are more likely than the total population to use mobiles phones, TV, radio and the internet, with recent Nielsen data showing that Black adults spent more time with TV and time-shifted TV than other American racial or ethnic groups during the first quarter of this year.
Among the top advertisers who are focusing some of their ad spend on African Americans, Procter & Gamble leads the list, dedicating $476 million of their media spend toward media focused on African Americans in 2019. They were also at the top of the list back in 2011, spending $419 million that year in African American-focused media.
Other top advertisers in 2019 include Berkshire Hathaway ($308 million), Amazon ($248 million), AT&T ($228 million) and Pfizer ($228 million).
The underrepresentation is not exclusive to advertising. African Americans, as well as other ethnicities in the US, have long-since been underrepresented in TV shows. This appears to be especially true when it comes to Black women.
Nielsen reports that although the inclusion of Black men in the various TV genres such as Reality, News & Weather and Drama has passed parity on Nielsen’s Inclusion Opportunity index, Black women are a long way from parity in any of the genres analyzed. Added to that, while 56% of the top broadcast shows analyzed have a Black female character, these characters only account for 2.2% of screen time.
To read more, the full report can be found here.