How & Why You Should Advertise to African American College Students

Topics: Campus Media

Posted by: Marketing

African Americans are a historically underserved advertising market in the United States. Not only do many marketers not know how to effectively target this population segment, they also don’t understand the importance of doing so. African American consumers spend proportionally more on both certain essentials and luxury items. In addition, their purchasing decisions strongly influence both minority and mainstream consumer culture. Are you looking to multiply your reach in a fast-growing market? Learn more about how and why to effectively advertise to African American college students.

African American College Students-1


Why Advertise to African American College Students

The data below illustrates the importance of advertising to African American college students:

  • In 2018, the number of African Americans in the U.S. was estimated at 47.8 million, with 26.1% being between the ages of 18 and 34.
  • Almost 10% of college students are African American.
  • African Americans make up 14% of the U.S. population but have outsized influence over spending on essential items and luxury items. Black consumers’ brand preferences are increasingly becoming mainstream choices.
  • Black consumers account for a disproportionate amount of product sales in a number of fast-moving consumer goods categories. 
  • African American consumers have $1.2 trillion in spending power.
  • Data suggests that African Americans are more receptive to advertising than the average consumer.

Not convinced that you should advertise to African American college students specifically? Read why you should advertise to college students and remember three essential facts:

  1. African American college students are an underserved audience. Your message will make a bigger impact in this less-saturated advertising market.
  2. Many African American students are particularly close to their families. When you advertise to these audiences, you also impact their families and friends, multiplying your reach in a fast-growing market.
  3. The vast majority of young people want to see marketing that reflects the diversity of the world around them. They find inclusivity in imagery and messaging compelling.


Infographic Thumbnail - Value of Campus Advertising




Ways to Advertise to African American College Students

African American college students are part of the wider American culture, and can be reached in many of the same ways. But most also share some unique experiences and views, and it’s important to honor these in your advertising efforts. Here are four effective ways to advertise to African American college students.

#1 - Be socially conscious.

According to Nielsen, 38% of African Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 and 41% of those aged 35 or older say they expect the brands they buy to support social causes. This is 4% and 15% more than their total population counterparts, respectively.



“The time is always right to do what is right." 



#2 - Utilize social media platforms.

African Americans are 44% more likely than their non-Hispanic white peers to interact with brands on social media or to use social networks to support companies and brands.

#3 - Utilize mobile advertising.

Data suggests that African Americans are 42% more likely than the average adult to agree that advertising on their mobile phones provides them with meaningful information. Not only are they more likely to feel that mobile advertising is useful, they’re also less likely to think that mobile advertising is annoying or not credible.

#4 - Be culturally relevant.

While African Americans consume content on the same platforms as the general population, they’re lived experiences often vary significantly from the primary target audiences of most advertising. To establish trust and loyalty among this demographic, it’s important to both acknowledge their unique experiences and  recognize their contributions to American culture overall.


See our complete guide to advertising to university students.




Here at MSS Media, Inc., we’ve been providing Education, Government, Real Estate & Lifestyle clients with succinct, optimized, and successful marketing solutions for more than 15 years. Consider MSS Media, Inc. a full-service, one-stop shop for all your Media and Public Relations needs. Your goals are our motivation. And our mission is to propel your message, further and faster, to achieve the outcomes you’re looking for. If you found this blog post helpful, please share!

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