A study released last week found that Black creators on TikTok, YouTube and Twitter drew higher online followings than their non-Black peers.
Kerel Cooper, president of sales at Group Black -- one of the two entities, along with Nielsen, to take part in the study -- credits Black creators' originality and unvetted concerns for brand safety for the higher rates.
MediaPost asked Cooper some questions about the study and its findings. Below are excerpts of the conversation.
MediaPost: Why do black creators draw higher engagement rates?
Kerel Cooper: Black creators are at the center of culture because they create it. This brings a level of genuine authenticity that drives higher engagement rates.
They constantly test and evolve music, language, dance, food, fashion and gaming. By doing this, they actively evoke dialogue through their captions and questions, ultimately increasing engagement.
MediaPost: What do they do differently than their peers?
Cooper: We have found that especially on TikTok, Black creators create with the goal of building the next big trend versus simply following them.
They are creating in the moment and living authentically in front of a camera.
MediaPost: Which medium right now is best for black creators and why?
Cooper: There isn't a singular medium. Black creators have always been at the edge of new technology and have constantly evolved as new platforms have emerged. Like all other creators, they understand this is a business and need to go where the dollars are flowing.
With changes to YouTube's payment structure, we anticipate that creators with large followings on TikTok, Twitter or Instagram may move to grow their YouTube presence by generating more long-form content or porting their short-form content into YouTube shorts.
We also anticipate some creators evolving their brands into more established formats like newsletters, blogs and podcasts where they can have an even closer relationship outside with their community without the confines of an algorithm.
MediaPost: Why are these creators under-recognized by brands?
Cooper: We believe one of the biggest drivers is unvetted concerns about brand safety and a lack of historical brand experience to justify higher rate cards. With regard to brand safety, while artificial intelligence (AI) is improving, relying on sentiment or keyword searches does not tell the whole story of a creator.
Brands and agencies should lean into working with Black-owned media companies, like Group Black, to source creators who might have limited brand experience, but high community engagement.
MediaPost: Do you see such creators getting more recognition in coming years? If so, why?
Cooper: Absolutely. Brands should be committed to working with multiple Black creators with the ultimate goal of finding a long-term fit. One-off campaigns do not always allow the creator time to really embed themselves in the brand voice while staying authentic to their audience. Their communities notice this too.
The magic happens when the creator has the time and space to keep their voice authentic and build a true collaboration. That takes time and a larger, longer financial commitment from brands.