Nielsen recently released a consumer report on how African-American millennials are leading the social and digital age with astounding efforts. Social media has become a frequent outlet for African-Americans leading the charge for national civic justice, mostly led by millennials. The rise of this influential group already has a buying power upwards of $1 trillion, which will only continue to grow as the social revolution unfolds. A youth movement in the online Black community is building, and companies must market to the mainstream rise in cultural influence if they want to keep up. Here are four facts on Black millennials and why the answer to reaching them can be found online through social media.

A black woman looks at her phone while holding a coffee cup.

1) African-American millennials make up 14% of the total U.S. millennial population.

Millennials make up about 25% of the U.S. population, and are the most diverse group in the States. Direct and outspoken, millennials are creating a thunderous boom across industries and media. Black millennials are no exception. More and more African-Americans are earning college degrees and seeking entrepreneurial endeavors. Optimism and social activism in the Black community are at an all-time high, and will only grow with technological advancements and communication across social networking platforms.

2) 55% of Black millennials say they spend an hour or more daily on social networking sites.

Many Black millennials use their social profiles as an extension of themselves. Twitter has become a pillar of the Black community, many of them millennials, to combat police brutality and other social injustices. Just look at the recent #BlackLivesMatter movement. In fact, in the 11 years Twitter has been around, two of the top three most used hashtags have been related to Black activism (#BlackLivesMatter and #Ferguson). This might be the most influential statistic in the history of Twitter in relation to African-Americans using social media as a tool for social injustice movements.

3) 91% of African-Americans say they access the Internet via a smartphone or broadband.

African-Americans are passionate about being connected and sharing experiences with family and friends. An Adweek study from Facebook IQ states that 63 percent of African Americans use Facebook to communicate with family at least once per day, and 60 percent to do so with friends, compared with 53 percent and 54 percent, respectively, of the entire U.S. population. Owning a smartphone has become essential in America, and Black Americans are consuming information from smartphones at a rapidly increasing rate. Marketers need to move campaigns to mobile efforts if they want to match the real-time social connection African-American millennials crave.

4) Black millennials watch video on PC’s and smartphones 48% (PC) and 23% (smartphone) higher than other millennials.

Although good ole fashioned television remains the largest source of leisure time for Black millennials (33 hours per week), streaming video is making a rise in the ranks. By now, we’re all familiar with how subscription video on demand (SVOD) services like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu have changed the way America watches television. One big change in the streaming landscape, compared to traditional movies and television, is the amount of diversity on screen. Netflix shows like “Master of None” and “Dear White People” are putting minorities front and center while giving creators the freedom to reach audiences they weren’t able to before. A huge reason why streaming is picking up steam among minorities in recent years comes from the lack of diversity in Hollywood. Activists took to social media to voice their concerns over the disparity that two years in a row all 20 actors nominated in the lead and supporting acting categories are white. The #OscarsSoWhite hashtag boycotting the Academy Awards took off and opened the door for diversity in online streaming. Once again, we see how the power of social media can influence an entire industry.

African-American millennials almost always seem to be ahead of the game when it comes to online and social media activity. Many of the biggest trends and activity in online communities have stemmed from Black influencers. As competition heats up to reach the young and influential community of Black millennials, brands will need to focus on culturally diverse initiatives to keep up.

Sources: Nielsen Consumer Report: Young, Connected and Black

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