Research has shown that media ad spending targeted to Black Americans is disproportionately small relative to their share of the US population. A new report from Nielsen [download page] indicates that while this imbalance appears to persist, there’s been one medium in which ad spending focused on black audiences has markedly grown: broadcast TV.
In fact, broadcast TV ad spending focused on Black audiences more than doubled between 2014 ($100.2m) and 2015 ($258.5m). These ads are ones placed on programming where the composite African-American viewing audience is greater than 50% compared to the total viewing audience.
In fact, between 2011 and 2015, while total broadcast TV ad spending grew by just 6%, spending on programming focused on Black audiences increased by 255%.
The reason for the increased ad spending is the increased diversity of programming on broadcast networks featuring mostly Black casts and/or leading actors, per the Nielsen analysts. One such program is Empire, which is the top-rated TV program for both African-American Millennials (18-34) and African-Americans aged 35 and up. The average audience rating for this program has been roughly one-quarter of African-American Millennials and one-third of African-Americans over the age 34. ABC’s Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder similarly rank among the top 10 for African-American viewers, regardless of age group.
In a nod to African-Americans’ continued and growing cultural influence, the report notes that more than two-thirds of Scandal‘s viewers are not African-American, as are more than three-quarters of Black-ish‘s viewers.
Research from MarketingCharts indicates that 11.3% of weekly adult viewers of broadcast TV are non-Hispanic Black.
Advertisers spending on programs with high African-American viewership are reaching an audience with growing educational attainment, increasing entrepreneurship and rising household income. That adds up to buying power gains that are expected to outpace the total population between 2015 and 2020, as African-American buying power is expected to exceed $1.4 trillion by 2020.
They’ll also be reaching an audience that’s receptive to advertising. African-American Millennials are 20% more likely than the total Millennial population to agree that advertising on TV provides useful information about bargains. Their older counterparts are 24% more likely than the total 35+ population to say the same.
African-Americans are also more likely than the total population to see advertising on mobile phones, the radio, and in magazines as providing useful information about bargains.
Attitudinal statements that apply more to African-American audiences than to the total population include:
- “A celebrity endorsement may influence me to consider or buy a product”;
- “I am influenced by what’s hot and what’s not”;
- “I only buy food items that are name-brand, not generic brands”; and
- “I buy the brands I grew up with, the ones my parents used.”
Which CPG categories might find success advertising to Black audiences? In looking at African-Americans’ shopping carts, Nielsen indicates that high-indexing categories include unprepared frozen meat and seafood (137), baby food (133), shelf stable juices and drinks (132) and dry vegetables and grains (131), among others.
For data about Black Americans’ share of various media audiences, see MarketingCharts’ study, US Media Audience Demographics.