Hispanic Online Marketing Challenges and Opportunities
Complex language preferences and limited amounts of Hispanic-targeted online content appear to limit advertisers’ options to reach Hispanics online. However, a closer look reveals a wide variety of strategies to give advertisers access to the rapidly growing and highly engaged Hispanic online audience.
Relative to the general market, Spanish language online media options are limited
Today, there are relatively few online options that advertisers can use to target Hispanics online. This reality is a result of two main factors. First, online Hispanics use the Internet in both English and Spanish. As such, many Hispanics use popular English language sites such as Yahoo!, Google, AOL and MSN. Furthermore, publishers have been slow to develop Spanish language websites as the Hispanic online advertising market is new and expenditures by advertisers in this market are still relatively small. That being said, there is room for growth and spending against online Hispanics is are growing exponentially. Data from Hispanic Business Magazine and TNS estimates that expenditures on Hispanic online media increased from approximately $132 million in 2006 to over $179.9 million in 2007. This represents a growth rate of 36% making the Internet the fastest growing Hispanic medium by far.
Rising Hispanic advertising costs will require marketers to consider a variety of strategies to reach Hispanics online
As more dollars flow into the Hispanics online advertising market, the limited Hispanic online inventory that exists today will become increasingly more expensive. This in turn will make it difficult for marketers to generate a return on their Hispanic online marketing investments. As a result, it is important to consider different ways to reach Hispanics online. Previously, we covered Hispanic online marketing tactics that companies can leverage internally such as providing access from general market sites and the importance of integrated communications. What follows are outside of the box Hispanic online marketing tactics that companies should consider:
Hispanic Integrated Online Sponsorships
Move beyond traditional online media buys and work with Hispanic online publishers to develop and execute integrated sponsorships. Sponsorships typically require a larger upfront investment but can be structured to drive specific business objectives.
Hispanic Content Syndication
Organizations that have Spanish content can leverage it and develop content syndication relationships with Hispanic online publishers. Hispanic online publishers are hungry for quality Spanish content and are open to exploring these types of deals. The US Federal Government adopted this approach to market its official Spanish language portal, GobiernoUSA.gov with Univision.com through an integrated, co-branded content syndication program.
Hispanic IP Targeting
Many Hispanics visit websites from their countries of origin for local news and other information and these US Hispanic users can be reached online through IP targeting. Take for example a Mexican-American living in Los Angeles. To read local news from Mexico, they might visit a site such as leading Mexican newspaper Reforma. Purchasing online advertising from Reforma.com with US IP targeting will allow you to not only reach US Hispanics, but US Hispanics who are likely of Mexican descent.
Hispanic Behavioral Targeting
Since a large number of US Hispanics visit English language sites, behavioral targeting can be used to reach this segment of the US Hispanic market. Behavioral targeting is a relatively new method that is made possible through advanced ad serving technologies and publishers or networks that have both Hispanic and general market websites. With behavioral targeting, a user who visits a Hispanic website (either Hispanic themed content or Spanish language) is flagged as exhibiting “Hispanic” behavior through cookie technology. This Hispanic user can subsequently be identified and served targeted advertising on an English website. With behavioral targeting, it becomes especially important to consider the language of the advertising creative. It is a best practice to provide language choice with a bilingual advertisement or leverage culturally relevant English messaging.
Hispanic Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing can also be effectively used to target US Hispanics. Although organic search engine optimization is an important part of any online marketing strategy, it is important to understand that sites that have high Spanish organic rankings will rank high across many search engines including those in Latin America and Spain. As a result, a large number of foreign visitors will be exposed to a high ranking Spanish website. Pay per click advertising, on the other hand, can be effectively used to target US Hispanics by taking advantage of the geo-targeting capabilities available as part of the Google Adwords and Yahoo! search platforms. Although US based Spanish language search volumes remain somewhat low, they are increasing as more Spanish dominant US Hispanics come online and partnerships are forged between search companies and Hispanics publishers.
Summary of Hispanic Search Partnerships
Succeeding in the Hispanic online market requires organization to not only execute across best practices in the development of Hispanic online marketing programs, but also to use creative tactics when planning and executing Hispanic online marketing campaigns. Organizations that take an integrated approach to the Hispanic online market by developing a valuable Hispanic website destination and proactively marketing it to this audience will be best positioned to reap the benefits of this growing and lucrative segment.