Online Hispanics are a lucrative target

Internet (TransCam via Flickr)A recent comScore report on the Hispanic Internet market found that the online Hispanic population reached a record 20.3 million visitors in February 2009 – representing 11% of the total U.S. online market.  Furthermore, among online activities, Hispanics ranked highest on Community (Teens); Gaming; Entertainment (Radio and Multimedia); Discussion/Chat, IM; and Music.

These findings should be of keen interest to US marketers, and (as all research findings), raise a couple of questions.

Why does the Hispanic market spend so much time online?

The answer to that question is two-fold. Hispanics, by nature, are an interdependent-interconnected culture – which is why we see them over-index on connected media (e.g. cell phone usage, social networking, blogging, etc.).  Any technology that facilitates connecting is high-value for the Hispanic consumer.

Secondly, technology allows Hispanics to connect with folks that are like them (e.g. bilingual/bicultural, etc.)…it also gives them a voice.  We could elaborate on the latter, but that would be a separate blog all by itself. The bottom line is that this segment is a lucrative one for marketers interested in effectively and affectively reaching the Hispanic influencer target.

Does the online Hispanic offer a greater value to a brand?
English-language dominant Hispanics are twice as likely to be online than their Spanish-language dominant counterparts; which means that it’s a younger audience, probably US born (or immigrated at an early age), technologically acculturated, and a brand influencer (based on MRM-MSN study of 2007).  This group tends to be better educated, earn a greater HH income than their immigrant parents, and have a larger family size than the non-Hispanic US population, as well.

In terms of lifetime value for a brand, this group is comprised of connected brand influencers. Acquisition costs are less expensive (online), and their brand influencer behavior (promoters) yields a greater ROI and ROR.

Am I reaching this consumer with my current Hispanic off-line campaign?
English-language dominant Hispanics tend to primarily engage with English-language media (and while this means that you may be reaching them with your English-language campaigns – you probably aren’t making an affective brand connection).  Assuming that your current off-line Hispanic strategy can be thrown on-line and hit the same target is erroneous. The digital divide that exists in the general market also exists within the Hispanic market.

To reach and touch the most lucrative segment of the Hispanic market (the online, English-language dominant Hispanic), you must tailor your general market ad campaigns so that they are optimized for linguistic and cultural relevance (just as you would for campaigns targeting a highly-valued consumer segment).