Understanding LGBT Media Habits by Todd Evans, Rivendell Media
Todd Evans, President and CEO, Rivendell Media
LGBT media habits are VERY different from other multicultural/ethnic markets.
The LGBT community is multicultural, but as a group we have very different media habits as compared to other cultural and ethnic marketplaces. The obvious difference between the LGBT consumer group and the next two largest – the Hispanic and African American consumer marketplaces – comes down to each segment’s community media and the best venues to reach these important consumer groups. The LGBT community does not have a million-plus national magazine nor major TV stations, let alone dedicated networks like BET and Telemundo. What the LGBT community does have is a vibrant local LGBT press. This is unique in that print is by far the dominant medium to reach the LGBT consumer.
In fact, the LGBT press’ circulation is growing. While print circulation has always had its ups and downs, it is the one marketplace that will see print grow in 2017. LGBT print circulation was up 13 percent in 2015, down 6 percent in 2016 (due primarily to one corporation buying a few titles and then promptly going bankrupt), and now UP 7 percent in 2017, according to the Gay Press Report, which we produce annually. In the digital age, it’s uncommon to see growth in a segment of print media. And all signs point to 2018 being another growth year in LGBT print circulation.
While LGBT consumers are ahead of the curve digitally – LGBTs were early cell- phone adapters, for example, much faster than the average American – print is still the unifying force. Yes, we have tons of LGBT websites and digital properties, but most of the content comes directly from the print properties. Does this mean we should abandon digital marketing in the LGBT market? Of course not. Digital media is important too and should be utilized. However, it certainly shows that those trying to reach this market should not abandon print or apply African American and Hispanic digital/mobile campaigns tweaked to the LGBT marketplace and expect the same results. There are real reasons why digital and mobile is king in other multicultural spaces, but make no mistake about it, the LGBT market is different and unique. A recent survey of LGBT consumers by Community Marketing shows that local LGBT media reached a third of the gay market (it was a survey of just men), and that held true among gay African American, Latino and white consumers as well as gay Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.
While on the subject of using media differently than other markets, let’s look at cell phone usage. I love this fact reported in a New York Times article this past March on Grindr: “The three million daily users have been logging onto the site an average of 18 times a day and spending a total there of almost one hour out of every 24.” Do you think they are looking at your ad? Perhaps, but you also want to be where LGBT consumers are expecting to see your outreach, like in your local LGBT publication. LGBT media has done a wonderful job of making national ads a part of their editorial. Even today with so many advertising to the LGBT consumer, it is not unusual to see articles about the latest company to do so. So a new advertiser, especially someone big, is likely to get that coveted native editorial so many clients seek.
As more multicultural agencies and marketers look to the LGBT market to expand from their Hispanic, African American or even Asian marketing roots, it is so important to look with fresh eyes at the research that is readily available about their specific market and media usage to ensure their clients reach their goals and objectives. One approach, one size – definitely does not fit all.
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President and CEO
www.gaymarket.com or www.rivendellmedia.com
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