Groupon Latino?


Last week, Groupon turned down a $6 billion bid from Google. The enormous offer—and the fact that Groupon declined it—highlights the vast size and potential of local online markets. It also inspired me to take a look at who’s best positioned to reach the local Hispanic online market.

The success of Groupon and other local online advertising companies will surely inspire entrepreneurs looking grab a piece of the $1.5 billion that AdAge reports was invested in local Hispanic media in 2008.

A local online advertising business like Groupon requires two key ingredients: a critical mass of local consumers and the ability to sell to local advertisers. Those looking to tackle the local Hispanic online market should combine these ingredients with a deep understanding of the nuances of Hispanic purchasing habits and online behavior. The following is an overview of some companies that are positioned to make a run at the local Hispanic online market.

The big online players

Although the Hispanic market not a priority, these companies are perhaps best positioned to own the local Hispanic online market. Groupon, Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Microsoft and Living Social have aggregated massive lists of targetable consumers, many of whom are Hispanic. They also have the ability and resources to effectively reach and sell to local advertisers.

Los Latinos

Companies directly focused on the Hispanic market benefit from an understanding of the consumer, but don’t necessarily have the scale and technological prowess of the big online players.

Univision has the ability to reach local consumers and advertisers through 124 wholly owned TV and radio stations. On the digital side, Univision recently announced the launch of 72 new local websites in key markets and can geo-target users on the portal.

Entravision, who owns and or operates 51 Hispanic Television stations and 48 radio stations, is making a play for the Hispanic local online market with local station websites in addition to their “Busca” online directory and “Todo Local” classifieds site.

ZGS Communications, owner of 14 TV and radio stations recently launched, Hola Cuidad, a network of local Hispanic websites in markets such as Washington DC and El Paso, Texas.

Other Hispanic media companies that are positioned in this market include, but are not limited to Telemundo, Impremedia and Spanish Broadcasting System.

The startups

Unlike the general market where local online advertising sites seem to launch every day, the Hispanic market is relatively quiet in terms of startups. Descuento Libre made some noise back in November when they announced a partnership with Hoy. Here in San Diego, Gran Cupón seems to have limped out of the gate, while Mexican startup Buzz Urbano looks to be off to a promising start.

The 2010 US Census will indicate that Hispanics make up 16% of the US Population—perhaps Google will offer to buy the Groupón of the Hispanic market for 16% of $6 billion—it comes out to a cool $1 billion.

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