The target audience for sustainability ads is exactly who you think

12 05 2023

By Jordan Wollman via Politico • Reposted; May 12, 2023

SURVEY SAYS — The data is pretty clear-cut on who brands should target for sustainability-related marketing campaigns: It’s younger urban women.

A new predictive model from BlueLabs Analytics shared first with POLITICO scores American adults on their likelihood of making purchasing choices based on sustainability.

Perhaps the topline takeaway isn’t too surprising. But BlueLabs, a Washington-based data science service, found some other interesting data points that could be useful for brands looking to figure out who might be persuadable.

For one, the gaps based on gender, age and location were stark. Women were 19 percent more likely than men to say they’d made purchases based on sustainability, people aged 18 to 29 were 23 percent more likely to be sustainability consumers and people living in urban areas were 25 percent more likely.

White people were the racial demographic least likely to be sustainability consumers, with Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders the most likely.

A chart showing gender disparities.

A “sustainability consumer” is described as someone who responded to BlueLabs’ February survey of 1,800 American adults and said that in the last two weeks they had purchased a product or service because it was the environmentally friendly choice. BlueLabs then applied a model based on the survey to the country’s nearly 200 million adults to identify those most likely to make purchasing decisions on that basis.

The model showed that people in communities of color were more eager to make purchasing decisions based on sustainability compared with white people, said Meagan Knowlton, director of sustainability practice at BlueLabs. Knowlton clarified that the model doesn’t address whether a person actually made the environmentally friendly choice, but rather focuses on the individual’s perception of whether they actively made a sustainable purchase.

“It was the communities of color that were really exciting to us,” Knowlton said. “We think that this is an area that brands should really move forward exploring when designing or advertising products.”

The model identified 38 million Americans who rank within the top 20 percent of sustainability consumer scores — and in general, they’re more easily reached by digital and social media than cable TV or radio. Of those, 77 percent are women, with 37 percent being single women. About one-fifth are people aged 50 to 64.

BlueLabs conducted the research and compiled the report, and no brands paid for it, Knowlton said.

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