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The power of news media: An important platform to reach Asian Americans in an election year

4 minute read | May 2024

Nearly four in 10 Americans lack confidence in the media, according to a 2023 Gallup poll.  In an election year where more eyes and ears will be on political news and events, how can news media and brands ensure they’re creating trust with audiences actively looking to stay informed? This question is particularly important for the Asian American community.

According to APIA Vote, 83% of Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs) have concerns about misinformation in the U.S. election, among Democrats and Republicans alike. At the same time, 78% of Asian Americans consume news at least once a day and are also 34% more likely to trust in the accuracy of news than the general U.S. population, creating opportunities for news media and brands to connect with the fast-growing segment of the U.S. population with $1.3 trillion in buying power1. Doing so effectively requires a deeper understanding of the relationship between Asian Americans and the news.

Where do Asian Americans get their news?

Asian Americans are more likely than the general population to report turning to social media (Instagram, LinkedIn and Threads) and news aggregator sites as their top source for news. They are also 69% more likely to rely on friends and family, going to the people in their tightly-knit community who can break down headlines with the right context and relevant information.

When it comes to newspaper content, Nielsen’s research found that Asian audiences are most likely to turn to free newspaper websites. For marketers hoping to engage AANHPI audiences this year, tapping into reliable content on non-subscription news sites and social media platforms to help educate the AANHPI voter could be a valuable connection point.

Building trust through representation

With the always-on connectivity of smartphone apps and sites that Asians prefer, how can brands tap into them to create lasting engagement? Platforms with authentic, representative content is key, as 41% of AANHPI audiences are more likely to buy from brands that advertise with news outlets they trust2

And here’s where the influence of journalists who are representative of the community comes in. For example, ABC’s World News Tonight with co-anchor Juju Chang and MSNBC’s Morning Joe with frequent reporter Richard Lui are in the top most-watched broadcast news programs for AANHPI viewers.3 And in the 2023 Asian American Journalist Association awards, an Axios project led by three Asian journalists was a winner. Their piece Everything You Need to Know to Vote in the 2022 Midterm Election drove tremendous audience engagement in two of the top sources of news for Asian Americans, Instagram Reels (30% more than previous) and news aggregator site Flipboard (double URL open rates). Stories told about the Asian American community by members of the community create connections with audiences while providing necessary and critical information to drive change and action.

The value of in-language media

TV news programming plays a much less significant role in AANHPI news engagement compared to other audience populations, but Asian Americans are 57% more likely to get news from international television. Asians make up the fastest-growing ethnic group in the U.S. today, coming from more than 20 countries around the world and speaking more than 50 different languages. 

Connecting with the diverse AANHPI community requires more than a one-size fits all approach. In a 2023 report, Nielsen explored the attitudes and media consumption preferences of Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese language speakers—representing about 40% of the Asian American population and three of the Asian languages most spoken at home.

More than 40% of total respondents ‘strongly agreed/agreed’ that Asian media offers programs and perspectives they trust. Furthermore, the study shows that more than 50% of Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese respondents prefer to buy brands that advertise on programs reflecting their culture. Opportunities exist for brands that invest part of their advertising spend in in-language media platforms.

Adjusting media plans in an election year

As ad prices rise with political campaigns buying up valuable ad inventory, advertisers can benefit from rethinking their media plans during this election year and connect with Asian audiences through the social media, aggregator sites and ad-supported newspaper sites they gravitate toward. One benefit of these channels is that they present a more addressable option—giving marketers improved measurement of ROI. 

Learn more about reaching Asian American consumers in Nielsen’s latest Diverse Intelligence Series report.


1U.S. Census Projections 2023 and Selig Center for Economic Growth 2022

22024 Nielsen Survey on Trust in Media

3Nielsen National TV Panel, 2023

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