Should marketers be doing more to specifically target Blacks with their messages? Blacks, which africanamericaninclude African-Americans, make up about 14% of the U.S. population. These 44.5 million consumers are considered the largest racial minority – distinct from Hispanics who are an ethnic minority – in this country. Nielsen research reveals that marketers are cutting, when they should be increasing, their spending on this audience.

Nielsen data shows that marketers are buying advertising in the following formats to reach Blacks:

  • Network TV $35.8 million
  • Syndicated TV $124.4 million
  • Cable TV $1.027 billion
  • National magazines $295.3 million
  • National internet $17.2 million
  • Spot radio $747.8 million

In the past year, spending dropped in every category except syndicated and cable TV. In all of the formats shown above, advertising that specifically targets Blacks added up to about 3% of what is spent in total.

Analysts suspect marketers don’t feel the need to advertise directly to Blacks because they don’t have any language barriers with respect to mainstream media. However, Blacks do possess unique demographic characteristics that marketers should consider. For example, just over half of this audience skew younger than average. In addition,  women are a powerful part of this group. They comprise 54% of the total audience, head 29% of the households (higher than average) and control 43% of the spending.

Black households have a lower average income. However, they are likely to spend more than average on specific items like hair-care products, deodorizers, soap, fragrances, fresh meat and frozen seafood. Currently, marketers focus their Black-specific advertising on categories such as quick-serve restaurants, automotive and movies. While Blacks do watch more TV than average, they are also avid social media users.  Interestingly, the biggest Facebook users in this demographic are between the ages of 45-64. In addition, 70% own a smartphone.

Marketers would do well to target new Blacks living in their communities. Demographers note that while 55% of Blacks currently live in the South, a steady migration from the North and East, to the South, continues.

To learn more African Americans, check out the AudienceSCAN report available on the Research Store at ad-ology.com.