As marketers work on stretching their budgets to meet the ROI challenges of the future, many are rethinking the very concept of audience. Yet, according to a recent report by NielsenIQ, only 23 percent of global marketers believe that they have the quality audience data that they need to optimize the value of their marketing spend. In this post, we present some additional facts about American consumers drawn from the most recent U.S. Census data that marketers can use to enrich their marketing strategies.

Audience Fact #1: Biracial, multiracial, and other “unlisted” non-white audiences represent nearly 62 million consumers.

There’s a reason for the recent increase in the visibility of multi-racial people in advertising: Biracial audiences represent ten percent of the American population. According to the 2020 US Census, 33,848,943 identify as two or more races. In addition, 27,915,715 people identified as non-white and not Black, Hispanic or Latino, Asian, Native American, Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander.

Why It Matters: The visibility of ethnically or racially “ambiguous” people in ads and marketing content is becoming more common—but not, perhaps, at the pace of demographic changes. As Gen Z and Gen Alpha age—two of the most diverse generations in history—people who identify as multiracial or as “other” will likely expect representation in ads targeting their generation. 

Audience Fact #2: Only about half (47.3 percent) of American households are comprised of married couples.

While married couples are still standard sitcom fare, a significant slice of American households are helmed by single men (18.1 percent) or single women (27.3 percent). That’s a meaningful insight for brand marketers who may have to adjust their marketing strategy to target singles who may purchase differently than two-adult homes with or without children.

Why It Matters: While unmarried adults who live together and singles may purchase many of the same items as married couples, married couples are often two-income households—which may provide greater discretionary income if they do not have children. Marketers who deeply understand their audience’s demographics and how they shop can translate those insights into a more impactful marketing strategy.

Audience Fact #3: Older teens (15-17) represent just four percent of the population—5-14s are 14 percent.

Despite the high visibility of older teens in gaming ads and other campaigns targeting the younger set, children aged five to 14 represent 13 percent of the US population, while older teens aged 15-17 represent 3.9 percent. 

Why It Matters: Marketers selling products appropriate for everyone need to be aware that they should be targeting Millennial and Gen X parents, while marketers for 15 and up products should be aware that they are marketing to a very small market saturated with ads. Creativity and authenticity are critical for winning over the small 15-17 teen market who are ad skeptics and partial to influencer campaigns and short, engaging videos, such as those found on TikTok.