Viva Los Internets!
As we're about to put our first wise Latina on the U.S. Supreme Court, it is somewhat serendipitous that I'd been planning for some time to write about the U.S. Hispanic online marketplace. It is an interesting and fast-growing space, distinctly different from the general market, and too, distinctly different from offline U.S. Hispanic media marketplaces.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were about 43.7 million U.S. Hispanics aged 2+ as of 2008. In May 2009 comScore reported that about 21 million of them were online, representing about 10.7% of all US persons online. And the U.S. online Hispanic population is growing about three times as fast as the overall online population.
Here are some of the major drivers that make the US online Hispanic market unique.
The online Hispanic market is bilingual. This is one of those things that you always see when someone is writing about the Hispanic market; see it so often that it becomes axiomatic and thus devoid of meaning. With the Internet, though, there is something different and meaningful. Offline -- in radio, say, or in broadcast TV -- the advertising marketplace that has developed around the US Hispanic is overwhelmingly defined by the fact of Spanish language media. For years, reaching Hispanics with advertising in the U.S. has meant reaching Hispanics in Spanish.
But according to a 2007 Pew Research Center report, only 32% of Spanish-dominant U.S. Hispanics were online -- compared with 76% of bilingual Hispanics and 78% of English-dominant Hispanics. So the portion of the Hispanic population best-reached by the bulk of traditional offline Hispanic-targeted advertising -- the Spanish-dominant -- are underrepresented online.
Subsequently, in talking with Hispanic-targeted publishers and agencies, I've learned that the "play" in the U.S. online Hispanic marketplace is all about the bilingual segment, and about reaching this segment in English, Spanish, or in combination Spanish-dominant Hispanics are tough to reach online, and English-dominant are often thought to be sufficiently covered by general market online campaigns. The bilingual niche is the money spot.
U.S. online Hispanics are heavier Internet users than the general market. In May 2009 (according to comScore Media Metrix), 68% of U.S, online Hispanics could be found online on the average day, compared to 62% of the general market. Online Hispanics consumed 8% more Page Views, 10% more minutes, and made 18% more visits online than their general market counterparts.
Online Hispanics are younger. One driver of the heaviness of Hispanic Internet usage in the U.S. is the relative age of the population. The median age of the U.S. online Hispanic population was 29.6 in May, compared with 34 for the general market. This is not surprising given the younger skew of the Hispanic population in general; according to census data, fully 61% of Hispanics are under the age of 35, compared to 45% of the non-Hispanic population. Online Hispanics are slightly younger than Hispanics overall, and significantly younger than online users overall. But notably for advertisers, they are younger than the Hispanic audiences generally delivered by offline media.
U.S.-facing content is largely in English. There are many and varied Web entities targeting U.S. Hispanics. There are pan-regional Internet brands like Terra, Batanga, and Star Media; Web presences of vehicles from other media, such as Telemundo, Univision, and People en Espanol; Hispanic channels on general market Web brands like AOL Latino and Yahoo En Espanol. But the highest-reach entities among U.S. Hispanics are very much the same as those with the highest reach among the general market -- Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, FIM (MySpace), Facebook, AOL and so on. At comScore we are able to track the language of the page views of our panelists, and we see that-- even among Spanish-dominant Hispanics -- a significant share of Page Views is consumed in English. Part of this is because of the bilingual and English-dominant skew of the online Hispanic audience; but part is driven by the language distribution of Web content facing the U.S. Hispanic.
To sum up, the U.S. online Hispanic population is young, bilingual, growing, and more intensely engaged with online content. This seems like a story worth telling any week.