Nielsen: Black Audiences Are Engaging With Audio More Than Ever.


Following years of under-investment, marketers like General Motors, Target, Coca-Cola, and Verizon are shifting more ad dollars to Black-owned and Black-targeted media. Recent data showing the U.S. Black population, which represents nearly $1.6 trillion of buying power, spends more time with media than any other group is validating these decisions. That’s especially true with radio.


Not only does radio reach 91% of the Black population in a month, but Black listeners also spend more time with radio than any other group—20 minutes longer than the average of the total population, according to Nielsen.


The measurement giant’s Comparable Metrics report from Q3 2021 puts radio on top in weekly reach metrics among Black persons 18+. Radio reaches 86% of the group each week, followed by app/web on smartphone (81%), live/time-shifted TV (78%), streaming audio on smartphone (48%) and satellite radio (15%).


Black-owned radio stations play a key role in that engagement, delivering more than 6.4 million African American listeners every week.


“Nielsen’s latest report helps to quantify the unique impact Black-owned radio has within our communities,” Jim Winston, President of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, says in a new insights piece from Nielsen. “It’s a reminder of the opportunity for brands to engage and partner with Black-owned broadcasters to connect with Black consumers in an authentic way. Advertising with Black-owned television and radio stations offers an important and unique opportunity to connect with our communities and deliver messages for brands from voices Black consumers trust.”


As more marketers look to authentically connect with Black consumers, Nielsen notes the value a brand’s repetition. For home care products, 84% are more likely to switch based on new brand reputation and for personal care, 37% are more likely to switch based on new brand reputation. The data show an ample opportunity for new providers, with many Black radio listeners keeping their options open. For example, 44% of listeners are more likely to switch cell phone carriers in the next 12 months and 15% are more likely to switch auto insurance in the next 12 months.


Meanwhile, podcasting is showing significant growth with the Black audience, opening up another way for brands to connect with Black consumers. In the past three years, the number of Black consumers using podcasts jumped 70%, Nielsen says. True to form, advertisers are following the audience. Podcast ad revenue is forecast to hit $2 billion by 2023, nearly 2.5-times the $842 million generated last year, according to a forecast from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).


And when podcast ads are voiced by the host, they drive “stronger brand recall punch than more traditional forms of advertisements,” Nielsen says. For example, Nielsen’s Podcast Ad Effectiveness (PAE) solution shows host-read ads drive a brand recall rate of 74% for Black audiences.


Additional Nielsen PAE data found:


  • Exposure to podcast ads generated a 16% increase in awareness (higher than the Nielsen norm of 14%)

  • On average, 68% think that the ad/sponsorship was a good fit with the podcast

  • 70% plan to seek similar podcast content, and 62% plan to share the podcast content with friends

  • Half (50%) were able to recall the ad on an unaided basis

  • Six in ten (60%) of podcast listeners found the content most interesting, nearly half (46%) found the content to be entertaining, nearly four in ten (39%) found the content to be authentic, and more than a third (36%) found it to be credible

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