Black+ Creator Representation
January - June 2021
THE INDUSTRY IS TRENDING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, BUT REMAINS WELL BELOW PARITY WHEN IT COMES TO BLACK+ CREATOR REPRESENTATION. STILL, THERE IS NOTABLE PROGRESS.
OVERVIEW AND RESULTS
In the first half of 2020, we began an initiative to better understand Black+ creator representation in brand deals for both the influencer marketing industry and our agency, The Outloud Group.
As leaders in the influencer marketing industry, we thought it was important to track industry performance next to our own, and to create greater transparency and accountability for the influencer marketing industry as a whole.
We published the early results of those findings in July 2020 and have continued to update the data semi-annually to track progress. It’s now been over a year since that first report and we wanted to reveal the progress we’ve made as an industry and agency so far.
In the first six months of 2021, The Outloud Group climbed to 12.4% representation while the influencer industry as a whole made it to 9.2%. These numbers reflect a 72% and 33% increase in Black+ creator representation for Outloud and the influencer marketing industry, respectively, since the first set of data in the first half of 2020. Yes, there is still work to be done, but this movement highlights positive changes that are beginning to happen. We believe that transparency and accountability are key drivers for change and we will continue to report on this data.
When we began this initiative, we aimed to ensure that the percentage of brand deals made with Black+ creators was transparent and put into perspective by comparing creator deals with the Black+ population of The United States.
While it’s challenging to identify the exact causal drivers for increased Black+ creators since early 2020, we believe that accountability and transparency are showing signs of effectiveness when it comes to selecting creators for brand partnerships. While the initial set of data from 2020 was not flattering, it did establish a baseline for the industry and shines a light on the extent to which the industry reflects the population of America as a whole.
In Q1 & Q2 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.
With a public baseline established in the first half of 2020, we have continually tracked and published progress for both the industry as a whole and The Outloud Group.
In Q3 & Q4 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 months since that second report, we have continued our efforts. As highlighted above, we’ve seen some meaningful movement in a good direction. This is certainly encouraging, but the reality is that Black+ creators remain under-represented with brand deals relative to the percentage of the Black+ population in the United States.
Black Americans make up 13.4% of the US population, but are only included in 9.2% of influencer brand deals across the first half of 2021 and 12.4% at The Outloud Group.
Will the influencer marketing industry continue to make progress when it comes to Black+ creator representation in brand deals?
It’s clear that there’s still work to be done and time will tell if the positive trend continues.
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.
The Outloud Group conducted this analysis to benchmark Black+ creator representation in the Influencer Marketing industry for the first half of 2021 using two sets of data:
-- The Outloud Group’s proprietary data²
-- Tubular Lab’s Dealmaker data³
The Outloud Group’s data consisted of 2,056 unique sponsored YouTube videos while Tubular Lab’s Dealmaker data consisted of 14,582 unique sponsored⁴ YouTube videos from the top 20 most active US brands in YouTube influencer marketing. All videos included in this study were published between January 1st, 2021 and June 31st, 2021. The 16,638 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
We are 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 2,056 sponsored YouTube videos published through The Outloud Group’s anonymous brand partners in Q1 & Q2 of 2021
³ 14,582 sponsored YouTube videos in Q1 & Q2 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 the first half of 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