Spanish-Language Inclusion & Trillion Dollar Buying Power: Lessons Learned About Hispanic Online Marketing in 2014 and Predictions for 2015
The World Cup only marginally proved what length marketers were willing to go to in order to engage Hispanic online consumers and encourage them to flex their $1.3 trillion buying power in 2014.
The past 350+ days showed that powerhouse digital companies and on-the-ground mega-businesses were willing to pour major energy and funds into campaigns and digital content across mobile and social channels to beckon Hispanic patrons.
Extremely diverse, Latinos differ when it comes to geography, country of origin, levels of acculturation and language preference -- and this can be trying for marketing experts who actively search for how to market to an assorted audience of 52 million who are hard to peg down. That said, there are 33.5 million U.S. Hispanic internet users who are early technology adopters that over-index on mobile internet usage.
And there are an additional 254 million internet users in Latin America and 37 million internet users in Spain and Portugal. They spend 17 hours per week online, and 14 hours daily with technology devices (compared to 8 hours of the general population). And these online Hispanic influencers also largely influence offline Latinos, sharing pertinent information and content.
Twenty-fourteen showed that the dialogue about Hispanic marketing switched from "why" to "how." Facebook, for instance, opted to step their game up and began offering Hispanic marketers new language-based targeting segments to include "Hispanic (U.S. - all)," "Hispanic (U.S. - Spanish dominant)," "Hispanic (U.S. - English dominant)," and "Hispanic (U.S. - Bilingual)," acknowledging the 42 percent of Hispanics using Facebook do so in Spanish and English.
Also, 40 percent use Spanish, while the rest of the 17 percent use primarily English. The social media platform understands that tech and culture play a part in the way Latinos communicate and consume digital and traditional media. Facebook understands Hispanics' need to connect with their inner circle and their extended family; they also understand the need for mobility, culturally relevant branding and a celebration of culture.
.SOY, the Google-generated web domain aimed at Latinos, was launched and self-described as "the domain name for Latino identity and expression on the web." Reactions were mixed: Ana Roca Castro, founder of LATISM, called it an "epiphany of a new era for the Latino community," while others have accused Google of Hispandering and looking to brazenly collect dineros. Either way, the U.S. Hispanic market appeared to be of great interest to the multinational corporation.
There was also a boom in Latino-focused online videos in 2014. World Cup-related brands garnered more than 672 million video views; those views were 30 percent higher than the 2014 Super Bowl. Additionally, Latinos spend an added 90 minutes viewing videos on digital devices more than the average American.
So what will 2015 bring? Undoubtedly more of the same -- in a good way.
Forward-thinking marketers will look to digital trends and habits of the ambitious, underserved media consumers. Marketers will connect to Hispanics via video and mobile through use of Spaniglish, through the development of bilingual multi-channel networks, and through an ability to "speak" Latino culture by way of Spanish-inclusive ads and television series. Smart brands will also give Hispanics más opciones, inquiring about language preference, creating strategic bilingual versions of campaigns. Language targeting, behavioral targeting and geography targeting has been deemed the most effective way to engage Latinos across all levels of acculturation in digital spaces.
Music and family-friendly messaging will also continue to be a tool to attract Hispanic audiences. The Hispanic online market will be accessed through "Hispennials," as Hispanics comprise 21 percent of the influential millennial population. There will also be an ambitious move toward delivering authenticity and creativity, and honoring growing Hispanic e-commerce.
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