Black Media Spending On the Upswing
October 8, 2013
... But Still Slighted
As many of you know, I recently returned from attending and participating in The National Association Of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) Conference in Washington DC. One of the interesting developments -- discussed in depth by several of the discussion leaders -- was the spending power of black-measured media. The results were surprising and they affect us all.
Although annual black spending is projected to rise from its current $1 trillion to $1.3 trillion by 2017, advertisers allow only three percent of their $2.2 billion yearly budget to media aimed at black audiences, according to a new Nielsen report. Yes, this is the same Nielsen that recently bought Arbitron and immediately changed its name to Nielsen Audio.
The study, "Resilient Reception and Relevant: The African-American Consumer 2013 Report," was released last month. It stated, in part, advertising expenditures geared specifically toward black audiences reflect only three percent of advertising dollars spent. Advertisers spent $75 billion on television, radio, Internet and print ads in 2012, with only $2.24 billion of that with media focused on black audiences. That figure then has to be divided between all black media, with radio only getting a slice.
The report goes on to say that since consumption patterns dictated a company's advertising budget, then spending with the black media should be: 44% higher on education and career websites, 38% higher on streaming websites (this is especially important for radio,) 37% higher on television (with special emphasis on cable) and 15% higher on mobile phone advertising.
The consumer insights this year are some of the most varied yet. From store brand loyalty to top-watched television, most-listened-to radio and which mobile apps are most popular, a deep dive into how African-Americans spend their digital time and show that companies can reach 10 million black consumers by developing a Southern regional strategy. This year's report is really a compelling study for both advertisers and marketers.
Some companies mistakenly believe there are no language barriers and that a general market "one size fits all" strategy is an effective way to reach African-Americans. Nielsen said, "Just the opposite is true." Yes, it would appear at this point that Nielsen is on our side. The just-released Nielsen study names those companies that do the most advertising with black media. They are, in order: Procter & Gamble, L'Oreal, McDonalds, Unilever, US Government, Berkshire/Hathaway, Comcast, Hershey, PepsiCo and Wal-Mart. Again, if this seems disproportionately geared toward television, in many cases it is. Top-20 advertisers that showed the largest decreases were Johnson & Johnson and Verizon.
Fortunately, in addition to Nielsen, we have several other key decision-makers who are on our side. Pearson-McNeil Campbell said, "Until we do a better job as consumers in the choices we make and invest in companies that invest in us, we are not going to have any changes." It is his hope that the data will help develop "conscious consumers." In other words, we need to encourage our listeners to support those who support us.
Utilizing black media makers just makes good business sense, according to the Nielsen report. By aligning additional marketing support and more focused strategies using media sources such as black radio and other media outlets trusted and relied on by African-Americans for their unfiltered information, companies can develop more culturally relevant messages.
It should also be noted that African-Americans over-index in certain categories like health and beauty aids, unprepared meat, frozen seafood, feminine hygiene, fast food, women's fragrances and detergents.
"Too often companies don't realize the inherent differences of our community, are not aware of the market-size impact and have not optimized efforts to develop messages beyond those that coincide with Black History Month," said Pearson McNeil Campbell.
It is our hope that by telling the story of how money is spent with black media (and black radio in particular) we'll be able to tell the African-American consumer story in a manner in which businesses will understand and want to do more business with us. And that in the end, this understanding will propel those in decision-making positions to develop stronger, more inclusive strategies that optimize their market growth in black communities which would be a score and a victory for us all.