3 keys to reaching black millennials

Interested in expanding your audience? Tailor your approaches with data from a recent analysis of the habits and tendencies of an important niche—young, African-American consumers.

As a generation with plenty of buying power, millennials are immensely diverse.

When targeting a group as large and as varied as millennials, it can be tough for marketers to rely on a single approach.

For marketing pros who seek to tap into this ethnically diverse and complex audience, Nielsen’s latest report ” Young, connected and black” suggests examining one niche in particular: African-American millennials.

To foster a more productive and successful connection with these consumers, consider the following approaches:

1. Take marketing risks.

African-American millennials are 25 percent more likely than other millennials to say they’re the first in their group of friends to try new technology.

Should that dare marketers to be more adventurous with how and where they distribute their online content? Absolutely.

From Cheryl Grace, Nielsen’s senior vice president of U.S. strategic community alliances and consumer engagement:

Black millennials are leading the way in their use of technology to impact change and get their voices heard. We have entered a new era whereby technology has become a great equalizer. Marketers can also leverage technology to raise their engagement with and visibility among these digitally empowered persuaders through increased ad spends and promotion of video content on social [media] sites. This is often far less expensive than traditional print and television advertising. However, to hook black millennials the messages and images must be authentic.

Executives can reach this culture-rich group with captivating campaigns, as well as by tailoring their products and services to meet that group’s unique needs.

Here are a few specific interests to note, from the report:

Trend-setting black consumers are influencing the U.S. mainstream in profound and far-reaching ways when it comes to social media usage, television programming diversification, sports viewing, technology adoption and social activism. Led by tech-savvy millennials, African-Americans have become adept at using digital platforms and apps to communicate, and to leverage social media to increase the national consciousness with regard to issues affecting the black community and to effect change.

2. Make sure you’re mobile-friendly.

More than 90 percent of African-American millennials own smartphones, data show.

That same number of African-Americans say they access the internet exclusively on their mobile devices—an increase from 86 percent in 2015. As this number increases, data suggest marketers should consider these consumers digital leaders.

Given that black millennials make up nearly a quarter of the entire generation, it might be wise to invest more heavily in digital-only campaigns. To increase your role in the digital lives of black millennials, select a relevant, black brand ambassador.

Here’s why, from the report:

Since African-American millennials over-index for learning about technology and electronic products from others, discussing and giving others advice about technology, and recommending technology products to people they know, campaigns using brand ambassadors should be considered when developing growth strategies.

When it comes to leisure activities, watching TV and movies is the primary way that African-Americans spend their time. Black viewers are helping to elevate up-and-coming black celebrities and programs, which are at the forefront of a trend towards diversity in television, movies and other media forms. More than 60 percent of black millennials agree that they feel really good about seeing celebrities in the media who share their ethnic background.

3. Use video; make it easy to share.

Data suggest black millennials are more willing to try new technology, but does that mean they’re also more eager to share their experiences online?

Grace says “yes.”

She explains:

Black millennials see their mobile devices and social [media] pages as extensions of their personal identities more than any other group. They are willing to share and recommend products and services, and programming to their friends and family. That kind of worth of mouth is priceless as it comes from a trusted source, which helps to build brand loyalty quicker than anything else. Win over these viral vanguards and you improve your chances of winning over other demographic segments.

Nielsen data suggest 55 percent of black millennials spend at least one hour per day on social media sites—which is 6 percent more than all millennials. Nearly 30 percent reported spending at least three hours a day, which is 9 percent higher than others.

If you’re investing in high-quality video content, make sure you’re sharing it on a variety of social media channels. That includes taking advantage of recent features such as Instagram Stories.

Roughly two-thirds (64 percent) of black millennials say they keep their personal internet pages updated. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are the most common social media sites, with strong black membership across all age ranges.

Post a variety of relevant content to see a boost in shares.

Grace says it’s important, though, not to throw all of your marketing dollars into video content:

As with any consumer segment diversification of strategy and marketing mix is always important. Black millennials are also avid radio listeners, favoring hip-hop formats. They [also] rely on advertising in magazines at a 22 percent higher rate than total millennials. Their mobility and varied methods for consuming media requires flexibility in marketing strategies.

No matter which direction you take when targeting this consumer group, take your time to ensure your content meets their specific needs and relates to their lifestyles.

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