Our research presented at the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies annual conference last month provides a glimpse into the private Internet lives of Hispanics ages 12-34 today. They follow the larger cultural trends of their age group, viewing the Internet as essential as food, air and water, but they also bring their unique cultural perspective as well.
The highest emotional engagement online was tied to "a job well done"
- Getting school or work assignments accomplished; learning things for fun; keeping up with the news; and being an informed consumer all linked to self-esteem and empowerment.
- This highly aspirational crowd equates wasted time with lost opportunities.
Shopping/spending money is the No. 1 guilty pleasure
- The recession has hit Hispanics particularly hard in the unemployment sector and this is an expression of that fact. "E-window shopping" and living "virtually rich" (e.g., visiting a high-end travel resort site and pretending you are there or fantasizing over a picture of Christian Louboutin high heels) help to relieve this stress.
- The No. 2 guilty pleasure is wasting time (missed opportunities).
Staying in touch with friends and family online is embraced while meeting virtual friends and online dating can be discomforting for many, and perceived as socially unacceptable
- All forms of connecting with friends and family are important: Facebook, email and IM all have a place. What they use depends on age, acculturation and the comfort zone of whom they are connecting with.
Connecting with others is both the No. 1 treat and the No. 1 thing they can't live without online.
On one hand, Facebook evokes positive emotions by maintaining both local and international connections with family/friends "back home" and re-uniting with those thought lost to them in the U.S. But the "curse" of Facebook et al., is seeing it as "wasted time."
- Mom's warning, "Don't talk to strangers," is heeded well into teen years and young adulthood. Respondents said that if they did meet someone online, they would make up a story about how they met that person for their family members.
The most daring thing most said they had done online was "talk to a stranger."
Music is a huge link to culture that generally transcends acculturation
- Music is the "biggest online escape" from daily stress.
- It's also the No. 2 thing they can't live without (behind connecting with others).
Retail sites are becoming content authorities and leaders, not just price and item
- These sites are driving ideas of what is hot from fashion & beauty to health tips. Smart brands should consider partnerships with Internet retail leaders.
- E-window shopping transitions into the real world with Hispanics who view real life shopping as an entertaining and social experience.
Young Hispanics are open to online advertising and marketing, as long as it's not disruptive
- Don't interrupt private conversations or entertainment activities they're already engaged in.
- Organic integration is fine if it doesn't interfere with the fun.
It's OK to market to them in perceived public spaces or when they are seeking information on brands.
It's also OK when they are not yet involved in their entertainment (when downloading music, before they listen to it and before TV shows).