Black+ Creator Representation
January 2020 - December 2021
A TWO-YEAR RESEARCH STUDY OF YOUTUBE INFLUENCERS SHOWS THAT BLACK+ CREATORS ARE UNDER-REPRESENTED RELATIVE TO THE US POPULATION AS A WHOLE BY >40%.
OVERVIEW AND RESULTS
The Outloud Group commissioned a first of its kind 2-year research study to understand Black+ creator representation in brand deals across the industry. This research represents brand deals completed directly between the creator and the brand (often with involvement of agents), as opposed to creators being paid through algorithm-based ads established by the platform, YouTube.
This study, which evaluated 61,771 pieces of content & 349 brands, identified that Black+ creators were under-represented by 40.3% relative to the US black population in paid brand deals set up between creators and the brand, often with the involvement of their respective agents. While the US Population is 13.4% Black, only 8.0% of creators chosen for brand deals in 2020 & 2021 were identified as Black+. For deals completed with The Outloud Group, a leading influencer marketing agency, in 2020 & 2021 combined, 10.3% of brand deals involved a Black+ creator.
TRENDS OVER TIME
This study spans January 2020 through December 2021, with data published twice annually to help with transparency around inclusion and compensation in the influencer marketing industry. A recent study found that 92% of influencers believed that the #1 way to address the racial pay gap was through transparency, an approach that The Outloud Group has been supporting for two years.
Since we first began publishing this data, we have seen a general trend of increased Black+ creator representation in brand deals. And while there has been a 13.3% decrease in Black+ creator underrepresentation from the 1H 2020 until the 2H 2021, Black+ creators remain woefully underrepresented in brand deals compared to the US Black population as a whole. As shown below, Black+ creators were included in only 8.7% of brand deals in the 2H of 2021, while 13.4% of the US population is black.
The Outloud Group, a leading influencer marketing agency and the author of this study, has seen Black+ creator inclusion increase from 7.2% in the 1H of 2020 to 10.4% in the 2H of 2021. While these numbers do exceed the industry figures, they are still well shy of parity when it comes to Black+ creator brand deals reflecting the black representation in the US.
There is still work to be done in the influencer industry as a whole when it comes to representing Black+ creators in brand deals, but the trends are positive and highlights the changes that are happening. We believe that transparency is the #1 driver for improvement in this area and we will continue to report on this data. While the initial set of data from 2020 is not flattering, it did establish a baseline for the industry and increased awareness on the extent to which the industry does not reflect the population of America as a whole.
In the first half of 2020, Black+ creators only made up 6.9% of the influencer industry and 7.2% of brand deals at The Outloud Group. That fell far short of the 13.4% percent of the U.S. population¹, but showed exactly where the industry stood. You can see our original report in the January - June 2020 Influencer Marketing Diversity Report.
In the second half of 2020, we saw the industry numbers decline slightly, while Outloud saw modest growth. The industry declined to 6.7%, a 2.9% decrease from Q1 & Q2 2020, while Outloud grew to 9.9%, a 37.5% increase from Q1 & Q2 2020.
In the first half of 2021, we saw the biggest gains in both industry and Outloud numbers. Black+ creator inclusion in industry brand deals climbed to 9.2%, 37% increase from Q3 & Q4 2020, while Outloud grew to 12.4%, a 25% increase from Q3 & Q4 2020.
In the second half of 2021, we saw easing in both industry and Outloud numbers. Black+ creator inclusion in industry brand deals fell to 8.7%, a 5.4% decrease from Q1 & Q2 2021, while Outloud decreased to 10.4%, a 16.1% decrease from Q1 & Q2 2021.
DISCUSSION & ANALYSIS
Black Americans make up 13.4% of the US population, but were only included in 8.0% of influencer brand deals across 2020 & 2021. The Outloud Group numbers were slightly higher, where 10.3% of brand deals involved a Black+ creator across this two-year period.
We continue to believe that a critical step towards positive change is understanding the extent of the problem and we remain committed to sharing data on the influencer marketing industry and our own company. Regardless of the data and results, we are committed to publishing this data on a semi-annual basis to continue to push for accountability and transparency when it comes to Black+ creator representation in the influencer marketing industry.
Will the influencer marketing industry continue to make progress when it comes to Black+ creator representation in brand deals?
While only time will tell, we remain committed to proactively seeking out Black+ creator talent for inclusion with ongoing brand deals and consciously striving to ensure that these Black+ creators are equitably compensated for their participation in brand deals.
CREATOR REPRESENTATION METHODOLOGY
The Outloud Group conducted this analysis to benchmark Black+ creator representation in the Influencer Marketing industry for 2020 and 2021 using two sets of data:
-- The Outloud Group’s proprietary data²
-- Tubular Lab’s Dealmaker data³
The Outloud Group’s data consisted of 7,169 unique sponsored YouTube videos while Tubular Lab’s Dealmaker data consisted of 54,602 unique sponsored⁴ YouTube videos from the top 36 most active US brands in YouTube influencer marketing. All videos included in this study were published between January 1st, 2020 and December 31st, 2021. The 61,771 total videos were hand reviewed with a simple binary tag, which marked if the YouTube channel that published each video featured a Black+ creator or not.
ABOUT THE OUTLOUD GROUP
The Outloud Group is a full-service influencer marketing agency that creates & executes strategic campaigns to deliver measurable results. We combine art & science to authentically tell your brand’s story at scale.
While we live & breathe new media, our business is founded on old-fashioned relationships.
Influencer marketing. Done right.
¹ (U.S. Census Bureau (2019) U.S. Census Bureau July 1 2019 Estimates)
² 7,169 sponsored YouTube videos published through The Outloud Group’s anonymous brand partners in 2020 & 2021
³ 54,602 sponsored YouTube videos in 2020 & 2021 used as a proxy for the industry benchmark, this data came from the Top 20 U.S. brands that Tubular Lab’s Dealmaker tagged as sponsoring the most YouTube videos in 2020 & 2021
⁴ Sponsored refers to any YouTube video where a brand compensated a creator in the form of monetary compensation, product, or services as disclosed by the creator for the FTC