Hispanics Go Online, Marketers Follow

Jan 16, 2009

By George Anderson

Brandweek reports
that a growing percentage of advertising dollars targeted toward Hispanic
consumers are moving online as more of these shoppers spend time surfing
the internet.

"Our gospel over
the last six or seven months has changed," said Alex Lopez Negrete,
president and chief executive office of Lopez Negrete Communications.

Mr. Lopez Negrete, whose
client list includes Tyson and Walmart, told Brandweek that his
clients used to spend between zero and five percent advertising online.
Today, he said five percent is the low-end figure and some brands are spending
up to 20 percent of their budgets targeting Hispanics surfing the web.

"We don’t have
to preach about online and digital anymore," he said.

During the first 10
months of 2008, the amount of money spent advertising to Hispanics online
grew to $212 million versus $165 million for all of 2007, according to
TNS Media Intelligence.

While the assumption
for many is that Hispanic consumers going online necessitates the need
for Spanish language communications, many are younger
people who are bilingual and may prefer English, according to some experts.

Today, according to
a Horowitz Associates’ study, 48 percent of all Hispanics in the U.S. have
broadband access compared to 57 percent of the general population. Nearly
70 percent of Hispanics who prefer English-language sites, mostly younger
consumers, have access to a broadband connection.

These younger consumers
are more likely than the general population to visit social networking
sites, use instant messaging, listen to music online, blog and participate
in chat rooms.

"Some of my research
shows that Hispanics are on the forefront of using social media," Felipe
Korzenny, director of the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication,
told Brandweek. "What that’s telling me is that marketers who
use social media will do better. They need to know how to set up a presence
on a social network site, to lure people and create momentum. It requires
a lot more than meets the eye."

Discussion Questions:
What do you take from the Brandweek article on Hispanic consumers going
online? Is there a need to reassess some of the approaches that are taken
for granted such as the use of Spanish and broadcast media when it comes
to marketing to Hispanics?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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4 Comments on "Hispanics Go Online, Marketers Follow"

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Max Goldberg
14 years 2 months ago

I am not surprised by the statistics, especially those for younger Hispanics. That group has somewhat mirrored their Anglo counterparts in terms of computer usage and preferences. Therefore, they can frequently be reached through the same means as young Anglo consumers.

The interesting question is how to reach their parents and other recent immigrants. Here the answer is not so easy. The article did not provide computer and Internet statistics for this group. I think that among recent immigrants or among Hispanics not comfortable with English, Internet usage would be lower. Is this group forgoing the Internet? Are they using their children or others to translate English sites?

Use of English and time in the country also influence purchasing habits. A one size fits all approach to reaching Hispanics clearly will not fit, whether through traditional advertising or through the Internet.

Mary Baum
Mary Baum
14 years 2 months ago
Several thoughts occur to me here: 1. The move online–and the move to the English language–were and are inevitable. The youth of every immigrant culture eventually assimilate into the great melting pot. Granted, some do it faster than others–I suspect that a contributing factor is the effort the dominant culture puts into defining a new group as Other and resisting that group’s efforts to succeed. 2. Brandweek says marketers aren’t finding a tremendous abundance of online vehicles. Maybe they need to create some–or find some talent they can get behind and sponsor that talent. In this economy, maybe they need to create and promote a Hispanic web-developer talent search. I know nothing here, but is Jeff Bezos Hispanic? 3. Avoiding stereotypes, and the idea that a sombrero and a mustache don’t make someone Hispanic–even I, a Hispanic-marketing know-nothing (see above) can grasp that. I do, however watch the television series Without A Trace. that features two Hispanics in lead roles as FBI agents. Near as I can tell, they’re pretty much stereotype-free; they’re agents first,… Read more »
Bonnie Rubinow
Bonnie Rubinow
14 years 2 months ago
Another instance of non-Hispanic marketers who made assumptions about the Hispanic market based on guessing. Most people assume that Hispanics use either Spanish or English for all their communications…that usage is either black or white, when in fact, language communication is gray. Hispanics may speak perfect English but choose Spanish language media either all or part of the time due to many nuanced reasons unknown to those not immersed in the Hispanic market, such as cultural reasons. (That’s just one reason.) Even other than very young people are often bilingual and use Spanish or English, depending on the situation. If listening and watching the quality of Spanish language advertising (except for national level) does not prove that marketers underestimate the Hispanic market, I don’t know what does. Just ask a Spanish-speaker his opinion of the quality of advertising and how insulting (and laughable) it is. I encounter another bias that the Hispanic market faces, and that is that uninformed marketers have believed for a long time that Hispanics do not have access to the internet… Read more »
Susan Rider
Susan Rider
14 years 2 months ago

Interesting! Could this be a demographic-specific survey? Not sure if it’s accurate. This survey should be broken down by demographic and region. The majority of the Hispanics in many regions don’t have access to or use the internet. Is this the professional only, not the construction or migrant worker? Food for thought.


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