The Pew Research Center, in its most recent Hispanic Trends Project, notes that ''...as the share of Latino immigrants decreases, rapid growth in the number of Latino births (60% of Latino population growth between 2000 and 2010) means the Latino population will continue to develop at a steady clip. Today, some 800,000 U.S.-born Hispanics enter adulthood each year."
The Hispanic market represents 17% of the U.S. population (53 million people). And overall Hispanic Internet penetration is at 78%. Yet, Ad Age's 2013 Hispanic Fact Pack, reports that only 5% of the $8 billion spend on Hispanic advertising went to digital even though Hispanic influencers are online and over-index on digital behaviors.
Perception: Hispanics tend towards the lower end of the economic scale.
Reality: Upscale Hispanics, those earning $50K to $100K in annual income, are an extremely prominent segment for marketers. In 2012, there were 15 million (30% of Hispanic population) upmarket Hispanics. They are younger than prosperous, non-Hispanic Whites, and more likely to own businesses when compared to their upscale non-Hispanic counterparts. They outspend non-Hispanic Whites and Hispanics overall when it comes to health and beauty products and spend more on fresh ingredients than the overall Hispanic populace.
Perception: Hispanics don’t speak English.
Reality: Over 60% of the Hispanic market is U.S. born — and that’s where the growth will continue to come from: U.S. born Hispanics. They are bilingual/bicultural or highly acculturated, prefer or dominate the English-language, and help their foreign-born family and friends navigate the U.S. (ethos, language, mores, etc.). So not only do they speak English, they are influencers that drive purchase and brand decisions: a High Value segment.
Perception: Hispanics can't be found online.
Reality: The online Hispanic population — (i)Hispanic — is +41 million consisting of 90% Internet penetration from English-dominant Hispanics, 82% from Bilingual Hispanics, and 63% from Spanish-dominant Hispanics. These more acculturated influencers help and encourage less acculturated Hispanics with online activity.
Best Digital Practices for Reaching the Hispanic Market
1. Start focusing on (i)Hispanics; particularly the bicultural influencers who inform and guide total Hispanic brand. They become Sherpas and brand influencers at an early age for their foreign-born parents, and that behavior along with their collectivist tendency to be connectors contributes to their online sharing. Furthermore, their influencing tendency is culturally agnostic .
2. It is a marketing imperative to include social network sharing capabilities in all (i)Hispanic campaigns. MindShare and Unilever recently executed a study concluding that (i)Hispanics are twice as likely to share content as non-(i)Hispanics, with each user sharing five times more often. A share was defined as: the specific act of posting a piece of web content on a social channel. What's more, there was a correlation between online shares and purchases with (i)Hispanics that shared; they are twice as likely to purchase the products they shared compared to non-(i)Hispanics.
3. Advertisers need to ensure that they reach and touch these consumers across their cultural plurality and preferences, and speak to them with linguistic and cultural relevance. The creative served to bilingual/ bicultural Hispanics should reflect the duality that is intrinsic to their being. They live in two worlds from a cultural perspective (collectivism and self-reliance), and speak two languages fluidly. Bilingual ads (English language ads peppered with Spanish language and cultural relevance) that speak to them in the same way they communicate to each other are a best practice.
Marketers need to begin taking a closer look at bilingual/bicultural (i)Hispanics if they want to drive gains across the total Hispanic market. These influencers are online and engaging with social networks to exert their influence. They want brands to communicate with them — but in an authentic and relevant fashion. If brands take the time to engage affectively with this online consumer, this consumer will co-brand the message and share with his/her sphere of influence, including their less acculturated relatives. Community remains a large part of the bicultural life experience. Sharing, demystifying, being an authority on products and services are important to this consumer segment. Isn’t it time to revisit your Hispanic market strategy and target those that will drive a greater ROI and advocacy rates?