Reaching Hispanic Consumers – Part I

Posted by Tom Hespos on November 4th, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Across the entire media landscape, there's a huge opportunity in multicultural marketing.  Even in the well-established worlds of print, radio and television, Hispanic agencies and content publishers are pointing to a huge gap that exists because many marketers make huge investments in general market media without fully considering what Hispanic marketing can bring to the table.  At this morning's panel, four experts showed that the gap is even wider in the digital realm.

Carlos Santiago, who heads up Santiago ROI, kicked the panel off by setting the stage at the macro level and giving a short overview of the opportunity.  He then introduced Cesar Melgoza, founder and CEO of Geoscape, who sketched out the potential market opportunity for brands by looking at how U.S. populations have changed since 1980, both in terms of where Hispanics, Asians and African-Americans are concentrated in the U.S. and in terms of population sizes.  He was quick to point out that Hispanics have contributed to 52% of the U.S. population growth in the past year, and that Hispanics and Asians contribute two-thirds of U.S. spending growth.  With Hispanics having a much lower median age in the U.S. than that of their Non-Hispanic, white counterparts, acquiring Hispanic customers means a greater number of years the average Hispanic customer will show loyalty over their lifetime, and thus a greater revenue opportunity.  He also pointed out that while many companies are eager to get into new markets overseas, that decision might be short-sighted if the company isn't fully developing its market in the U.S.  Investing overseas requires new infrastructure investments, while marketing to Hispanics in the U.S. can realize efficiencies by utilizing many of the same infrastructure resources used to advertise to the general market.

Josh Chasin, comScore's chief reach officer, drilled further into the advertising opportunity, sharing some comScore statistics on Internet language preferences.  He cited 52% of U.S. online Hispanics as preferring to surf the web in English.  Only 22% prefer to do so in Spanish, with the remainder consuming web content in both languages.  He also offered up the reason why Internet language preference might differ from language preferences in other media - While Spanish may be spoken at the dinner table in a particular Hispanic family, individual preferences become more important when it comes to Internet usage because of the solitary nature of using the Internet.

Chasin also shared some interesting statistics on what drives Hispanic Internet users to respond well to creative.  While running ads in native languages is still important, he noted that U.S. Hispanics tend to respond well to Hispanic actors in ads, the use of music, and narrative elements in the creative.  Chasin also pointed to an opportunity in social media, as Hispanic shoppers are more likely than the general market to be influenced by outside opinion.

John Farrell, a director at Google Mexico, outlined some opportunities on a tactical level.  He showed some graphs and charts highlighting Hispanic search behavior in product categories, contrasting English and Spanish searches.  Double-digit percentages of many of the searches were in Spanish, which made it clear that many marketers who don't have Hispanic search budgets could be missing huge opportunities for sales and traffic-driving.  To lend more dimension to the opportunity, he showed some click costs for popular terms in both English and Spanish.  While terms like "Car Insurance" might cost over $1 per click, "Seguros para Carro" cost 79% less at $0.23 CPC.  Investing in these lower-cost search terms could bring efficiency to a search buy and generate high-value loyalty at a fraction of the cost of general market terms.  To illustrate what Santiago earlier referred to as an "ad gap," Farrell said Hispanics spend 52% of their time with media online, but only 4% of ad budgets are addressing them in that medium.

Taking the stage again, Santiago presented some additional statistics about a sub-group of U.S. Hispanics.  LatinoMetrics finished up a study in August, a part of which was a "deep dive" on digital media behavior among foreign-born U.S. Hispanics with at least 5 years in country.  At least half of these foreign-born Latinos made an online purchase in the last six months, despite lower credit card penetration in that population.  Seven in 10 foreign-born Latinos in the U.S. are online, with 20% using mobile devices for access.  Seventy percent also use social media at least once a week.

Together, the four presenters outlined a huge marketing opportunity for any brands not currently addressing the Hispanic market in digital, one which is made more attractive when considering how few players there are in Hispanic digital marketing.

2 Responses to “Reaching Hispanic Consumers – Part I”

  1. Julie Springer says:

    So true - but here's a challenge. As a marketer, it's very hard for me to determine who's a really good Cultural marketing expert and who's just added the word to their website. And, there's a ton of chatter about Hispanic - but little about Asian. Who are the good Marketers and... more importantly, who are the good cultural niche research firms who can help the marketers before they just jump into the creative abyss?

  2. [...] the first panel in the Hispanic Digital Marketing track was all about exposing the opportunity at a high level, the second was about ways to tactically [...]