CultureSocial Media

Black People Are Conscious Consumers and Nielsen Knows It

There’s been an influx of pieces online about Black Twitter, Black people and our widespread use of the internet and they usually come with a tone of surprise. People are shocked to hear that we’re such power users of social media and THAT astonishment never ceases to amaze me.  It actually grinds my gears and I kinda touched on it in my “About This Whole Black Twitter Thing” piece from last year.

Black folks are innovators and we are consistently trendsetters who have our pulse on the edge of pop culture for a long time. Why wouldn’t we also be tastemakers in the digital space? We run these interwebs and folks gotta stop acting like it’s some sort of phenomenon when it’s just perfectly on par with our influence on the world. We have our fingerprints all over fashion, culture, music and technology.

What we wear, listen to and watch becomes popular. We’re basically the cool kids who are leaning against the lockers because we feel like it and then we notice everyone else is walking with a lean the week after. We can’t help it that the cool oozes from our pores.

Cool Walk gif

According to Nielsen, 30% of the 43 million Black people in the United States use Twitter. 71% of us own smartphones, compared to 62% of the total population. Oh and get this. We’re also 44% more likely to create social media profiles than everyone else. WELP!

Yet and still, folks ain’t hearing us, doe. We have power and we use it but people are still like “OMG BLACK PEOPLE ONLINE! STORY AT 9PM!” O___O

Black women drove the success of shows like Scandal just by creating buzz on Twitter when we watched the show. Black writers wrote about the Trayvon Martin case until it could no longer be ignored by larger publications. And when he didn’t get justice, the Black community rallied online to cope together. We’re constantly using social media to make noise that matters and to let our voices be heard when we’ve been previously hushed.

Beyonce Listen gif

Allow me to quote myself from my “About Black Twitter” post when I say “What do Black people do on Twitter? We joke, we live-tweet shows, we inform, we protest, we network, we do too much, we don’t do enough, we do just what we’re supposed to and we produce awesomeness in 140 character spurts.”

We are conscious consumers because we exercise our power to create community, create meaningful content and to create spaces where we ensure that we’re being listened to. But even more importantly, our buying power is over $1 trillion a year! We’re fly and flashy and we put our money where our interests are. However, we STILL aren’t being taken seriously enough because advertisers are only spending 3% of the $75 billion to market to us.

Donna Face3 gif

BOOOOO! *throws tomatoes*

Why can’t we get the advertising dollars love? Ugh!

You might not know but I’m lowkey an analytics geek (I teach a Google Analytics class too) and I’ve partnered with Nielsen, the leading name in measurement of consumer behavior for their #ConsciousConsumers campaign! So join me (@Luvvie) and @NielsenKnows tomorrow, February 27 from 7pm CST/8pm EST for an hour long chat on Twitter about Black people being #ConsciousConsumers, to close out Black History Month.


We’ll be talmbout the impact of Black people on technology, the awesome ways we use it and how I personally use it for my work as a digital strategist and in my personal brand. 

They tapped on me and Karyn (aka TheFabGiver) to tell the story of The Red Pump Project (@RedPumpProj) and how we’ve used social media for social good, raising awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS, one tweet at a time.

I wanna hear from y’all so join the convo on Thursday!

This post was sponsored by Nielsen but these are all my words, thoughts and side-eyes. 

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  1. February 26, 2014 at 11:59 am

    I got everlasting life from that Whispers GIF!

    Loving this talk about “us” being online and our habits. I’m an analytics nerd, too.

  2. February 26, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    “Black folks are innovators and we are consistently trendsetters who have our pulse on the edge of pop culture for a long time.”

    Right. Also – we basically INVENTED American pop culture.

  3. nichole
    February 26, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    I will be following and engaging during this live chat. It will be extremely helpful for what do in engagement marketing.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  4. OtherWynnGirl
    February 26, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    May I wake up every morning with the joy in my heart that the Whispers exude in that GIF. That is just the best. EVAH.

    I’m looking forward to this discussion with Nielsen. I think it’s important for advertisers to see these numbers and recognize the importance and input of black consumers. Nothing irritates me more that lazy ads targeting a black audience with faces and color and hip-hop music. C’mon, McDonalds. You can do better.

    Keep doing what you do, Luvvie. It is appreciated (and always hilarious).

  5. paintgurl40
    February 26, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    I bet “they” would start taking “us” seriously if all of “us” invested that 1 trill into our own communities and businesses. Advertisers are still under the hypnotic spell of white superiority and that’s one of the reasons they don’t put much of an effort to target black dollars. Well that’s part of my opinion.

    • lucylee
      February 26, 2014 at 6:43 pm

      I agree. We need to stop supporting merchants that belong to ALEC.

  6. Tori
    February 26, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    I loved the video @ the bottom. You guys were clear, concise, & informative which made me want to learn more. Great stuff

  7. saitonne
    February 26, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Luvvvviiiiiiiiiiiiiie in all my years I thought you had a bit of a sassy Naija accent 🙂 When you come to Kenya please pull it out for me .. I know you got it somewhere.

    In more important news I am really proud of you two. I’ve been following #Redpump since you started it and I am super proud of both of you and the platforms that you are taking the message to.
    Fistbumps and heels ladies.

  8. February 26, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    I’m too hype about this chat. I wrote a blog about this very topic to kick off Bet It All on Black. I would love for you to check it out Butterfly Luvie..:)

    I know you’re going to be on Twitter speaking the #TRUTH and I for one will be tuned in to every minute…:)

    Butterflies Up


  9. SexyCool
    February 26, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Chile – BlackPlanet was the move long before Facebook was a twinkle in Zuckerberg’s pocket protector.

  10. February 27, 2014 at 8:49 am


  11. Seejay
    February 27, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    I work in ad research at a large corporation, and this info is well known BUT rarely acted on. Culture within corporations oftentimes trumps reality. Why? Because buying potential pales in comparison to our actual buying, and that’s what “they” are looking at. How much WE spend on their products. Good sense (and I’d argue good business sense) would say invest in the audience to increase those sales, right? Nah. They skurrd. It is well known (and used when it’s beneficial) that we start trends, lead trends, and are on the leading edge of all things fly, dope and innovative, but what we add to the whole conversation surrounds what we do (our social media prowess, for example) rather than who we are. And how does what we “do” influence (read increase) sales and build positive brand image is most important. So often times, marketers pick up on the trends we start and integrate them into the total market focus rather than focus on the trend makers.

    I can talk all day on this stuff and I’ve gotten my eyeballs stuck many a time rolling my eyes in meetings listening to the multicultural focus (or lack there of). I see both sides. Why can’t we get the ad dollars? Depending on the product or service, AA sales might be 10% of their total sales (for example, I don’t do math, so let’s keep it simple :/)and while that’s a great number, they’ve found that sustainment and incremental growth can be achieved through only investing say 2% of ad budgets…The lion’s share of ad dollars are put into “total market” advertising, where they can and will get more sales because they can speak relevantly to a larger population(total market includes us as well…as not all of us find targeted efforts relevant, and total market focuses on what we have in common rather than our differences)…And even more, with the change in the US census with Hispanics growing the way they are, we may see even less $ invested in us, and diverted to Hispanic advertising (cause at the end of the day they may not increase multicultural from say 20% to 30% to account for the increase in sales. They’ll just divvy that 20% up differently…8% AA/12% Hispanic :/)…There’s a push for “total market” marketing in some corporations and less “targeted” advertising.

    Also, gone are the days of fierce brand loyalty. It’s not what it used to be, so “us” trying to band together and only buy “Black” aint ‘go happen. By and large (not TOTALLY) we (as well as everyone else) are led by cost and/or quality of a product, and those are generally the biggest purchase motivators, not keeping it in the “community”…That’s a whole other conversation, though…

    Maybe another point of the conversation is how do we change the perspective where corporations view us based on this data and/or can we? As a researcher, I side eye data (even Nielsen’s…I use it everyday, too), so often it’s taken out of context, not used correctly, or skimmed over. There are so many companies that use this data wisely and they invest in the AA consumer (esp. when AA make up a large portion of their sales), but the culture of the corporation is set up for that. That’s not the case a lot of times…

    Dang…that was a lot…but yeah…I hear you…