3 APR 2024

USA: black audiences seek meaningful representation in advertising and content

According to a study conducted by Nielsen, seventy percent of Black audiences who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community believe they are misrepresented in media, while 81% of Afro Latinos feel misrepresented.

3 APR 2024

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Black audiences matters.The consulting firm Nielsen has just released a study on the representation of black audiences in the media. It reveals that black audiences continue to seek more and better representation—especially in portrayals of their communities that are authentic and nuanced. Next, let's review some of the key points of the analysis.

While recent hits like "Queen Charlotte", "The Blackening" and "They Cloned Tyrone" portrayed diverse friend groups, story lines and genres, many Black audiences view the portrayals of their identities as one-dimensional. At least part of that sentiment stems from the perception that on-screen urban portrayals remain far more prevalent than rural and suburban portrayals. Dimensions of diversity are numerous, spanning well beyond skin tone and narrative location. Seventy percent of Black audiences who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, for example, believe they are misrepresented in media, while 81% of Afro Latinos feel misrepresented

From a content consumption perspective, the perceptions of representation among Black audiences are critical considerations for the media industry. That’s because they have considerably more media engagement than the general population. They also spend nearly 32% more time with TV each week than the general population. The implications of this level of content engagement spans beyond creators and platforms. They are just as relevant for brands, especially as audiences continue increasing their time with ad-supported video content. 

The consulting firm also conducted the Black Diaspora Study, powered by Toluna, the American company specializing in insights. This study found that brands have room for improvement in this area. Specifically, 35.7% of Black Americans believe that brands consistently represent Black people in the same way in advertising, compared to 27.9% among the general U.S. population. This disconnect in how Black audiences perceive their representation in campaigns could impact the ROI that brands rely on for growth.

The study concludes with a reflection aimed at considering representativeness as a means to connect with audiences in order to generate engagement: "Media is a means of connecting. The stronger the connection, the greater the engagement. Through that lens, no audience places a higher level of importance on media than Black audiences do. To maintain the engagement of this media-hungry audience, inclusion should be at the forefront of each production’s and brand campaign’s growth and development strategy in this next era of media. In an increasingly fragmenting media world, discerning audiences will be quick to move on when they land on something they don’t like," it emphasizes.