Multicultural Spotlight: Reaching US Hispanics

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | 6:54 AM

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Cristina is a person who interacts with media all day long. In the morning, she browses beauty sites before biking to work. Over lunch, she reads a Colombian newspaper to check in on the results of the presidential elections, and then texts her friend about dinner plans from her iPhone. She searches for restaurant recommendations, meets her friends at the restaurant, and finally goes home to watch her favorite telenovelas. Connected with technology and her culture, Cristina is a modern Latina, proud of being Hispanic and American at the same time.

Why should marketers care about Cristina, and others like her? Hispanics are the fastest growing US population, and their buying power is projected to reach $1.4T by 20131. Hispanics are also coming online extremely quickly: the total time Hispanics spent online grew by 6.9% in 20092, 3.9 times faster than the general market rate.

To connect with Hispanics like Cristina online, it’s important to understand a few key myths about the market.

Myth #1: I need to have a Spanish-language website in order to market to Hispanics.
While 22% of Hispanics speak only Spanish and another third prefer it, most US Hispanics are comfortable with English3 and feel that English sites are more comprehensive4. While a Spanish-language website can be an asset, it won’t make or break the success of your campaign so long as you think carefully about your message and present a compelling value proposition on your site.

Myth #2: The return on investment from Hispanic marketing isn’t big enough.
Hispanic advertising campaigns are often more cost-effective than main-market campaigns. Online CPCs and CPMs tend to be much cheaper due to low competition, and Hispanics are actually more likely than their general market counterparts to take action based on search and banner ads5. Moreover, over half of online Hispanics complete a purchase at least once a month6, so direct response marketers can engage as deeply as brand builders can.

Myth #3: My general market campaign covers the Hispanic market.
Hispanics may be comfortable with English content, but marketers are missing the opportunity to win Hispanics’ loyalty if they use their general market campaign as a catch-all. Hispanics value their identity, and 66% of US Hispanics appreciate being marketed to in a culturally relevant way7. A recent campaign by Ford demonstrated how bilingual marketing can improve sales: Ford’s marketing team doubled the incremental lift of their English creative when they rolled out dual-language, culturally relevant creative8 in a recent direct mail campaign.

Interested in learning more about Hispanics in the US? Email multicultural@google.com to stay in touch, and keep an eye out for fresh primary research in Q4 and Q1.

Posted by Meghan Sherlock, US Hispanic Specialist

[1] Selig Center for Economic Growth, Terry College of Business, The University of Georgia. "The Multicultural Economy 2008." January 2009.
[2] Comscore, April 2009. “U.S. Hispanic Internet Audience Growth Outpaces Total U.S. Online Population by 50 Percent.”
[3] Juan Tornoe. “Hispanic Marketing Is Not Spanish Marketing.” http://nglc.biz/2010/07/22/hispanic-marketing-is-not-spanish-marketing/. July 2010. http://advertising.aol.com/sites/default/files/webfm/research/HispanicCyberStudy-2010.pdf.
[4] AOL Hispanic Cyberstudy. 2010.
[5] “Search ads”: ARAnet Adfusion survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, provided by eMarketer, March 16 2009. “Banner ads”: eMarketer. “US Internet Users Likely to Read And Take Action After Viewing Banner Ads, by Race/Ethnicity.” June 2009.
[6] RTO Online, Hispanic Internet Usage Report, February 2009.
[7] Alvaro Cabrera, Executive Director of Integration at Diest, Inc. June 25, 2009. “10 Things You Should Know About US Hispanics.” http://juantornoe.blogs.com/hispanictrending/2009/06/10-things-you-should-know-about-us-hispanics.html.
[8] Deliver Magazine. August 2010. “Talk, Don’t Translate.”