U.S. Hispanics Connected & Online: Getting Around the Digital Divide

By Christie Cendejas (OgilvyPR.com)

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, it’s appropriate to discuss the latest trends online among the Hispanic community. From closing the digital divide among Hispanics 50+ to the newer and younger general market with a Latino flair (now being classified as: Gen N), US Hispanics are leading the future of technology and marketing.

Recently, the 2010 Census data revealed that one in six Americans is Hispanic. With 50.5 million people nationwide, Hispanics are the fastest-growing minority group in America. It’s no surprise that companies are changing their marketing strategies in order to reach Latinos. But, what is surprising is how we go about reaching and engaging this powerful community.

Several studies have confirmed the importance of online marketing among Hispanic consumers. Google recently released a report titled “Four Truths about US Hispanic Consumers” that is an eye opener for anyone interested in reaching the nation’s largest minority group.

If Google isn’t convincing enough, here are five more reasons why reaching Hispanics via digital media is a must:

1. Hispanics are the highest users of text messaging and mobile devices.

Research shows that the Hispanic community is among the highest users of text messaging and spends more time interacting on their mobile phones overall.

In May 2010, the Pew Internet & American Life Foundation reported:

  • 87% of Hispanic households have multiple mobile phones and use them more than any other form of personal or handheld technologies on the market today
  • More than half regularly use text messaging
  • Text messaging has increased 59% YOY among Hispanics
  • Responding to mobile marketing text messages is up 74% vs. last year

When creating content to reach Hispanics, they’ll be the first to tell you they prefer to receive information in Spanish. This doesn’t mean simply translating English messages into Spanish, but truly understanding the culture and demographic of this diverse community that you’re trying to reach. There are several translation services available when considering a SMS campaign, online ads or websites to effectively reach Hispanics.

2. Hispanics are active on social media.

Hispanics are also actively using their mobile devices to access social media channels. Facebook and YouTube are the 2nd and 4th most popular social channels among Hispanics. However, these are just two of the many social channels available to reach Hispanics.


Scarborough Research also reveals that 12% of US Hispanic mobile users use social networks on their mobile vs. 10% of the general market.

3. Hispanics are technology savvy.

Research also shows that Hispanics are younger and more technologically savvy. AOL’s Hispanic Cyberstudy, reports 46% of Hispanics who are actively online are under the age of 35. Another astonishing fact is that 32% of Hispanics access the Internet through their smartphones, compared to 20% of the general market. This tech savvy trend is not only prevalent inmobile adoption, but the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication also found that Hispanics are early adopters of tablets and e-readers as well. It’s no wonder that Hispanics have an estimated $1.3 trillion in buying power this year.

4. Hispanic mobile websites are simple and just smart.

If we know younger Hispanics are accessing the Internet on their smartphones, a mobile website is a must. A mobile optimized website has multiple benefits:

  • They will work on virtually any smartphone.
  • Content is simplified and design is less intensive, often being a cost effective option.
  • Mobile websites can be easily translated into multiple languages.

Check out Univision’s mobile site and Major League Baseball’s LasMayores.com Spanish mobile version for examples.

5. Hispanics are more responsive to online advertising

Hispanics online are not only younger, tech savvy and connected – they’re also more receptive to online advertising.ComScore recently reported on how responsive Internet users are to online advertising. When looking at advertisement, 31% of U.S. Hispanics reported they enjoy watching advertisements compared to 19% for non-Hispanics. The study also shows that 48% of Hispanics expect advertising to be entertaining compared to 39% of non-Hispanics.

Still not convinced, Google can give you 200 million reasons why they are investing in Latinos online. That’s how much Google reported brands are spending online this year to reach the Hispanics market. We will have to watch how Google+ and Facebook capitalize on the Hispanic market – and if they do it well. It’s no doubt that Latinos will begin to tune out advertisers unless they are culturally relevant and engaging – even when speaking to Gen N


Categories: NGLC Conference

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