Both Mark and Kevin are upbeat about the market and acknowledge that the key to effectively providing value to Hispanics online is being able to tap into their strong cultural propensity to share with one another. That said, many advertisers have been hesitant to invest in online advertising within a social context representing a challenge for Hispanic online publishers.
Hispanics are in the online driver's seat
Kevin, a long-term executive of AOL, joined Univision early this year and was "blown away by the opportunity" to join the company. "I see the Univision brand more like a consumer products brand than a media brand," he explained. "We have a unique opportunity to leverage our relationship with Hispanics to endorse other brands." Kevin has implemented many changes at Univision.com but the addition of direct links on the Univision.com page to Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, Facebook and other third-party providers represents a radical shift for the company. He points out that "there is a culture of family and sharing" among online Hispanics and that Univision "is striving to redefine the circle of online activity." Univision, he says, "embraces today's online behavior and gives its users easy access to the things they want."
Mark echoes Kevin's enthusiasm about the Hispanic online market and pins Terra's success on culturally relevant, high-quality content wrapped within a social context. Mark sees "Terra as a premium content platform that puts the user in the driver's seat." He goes on to explain that Terra's goal "is to strike a balance between quality and user engagement." Terra has made several recent moves to achieve this balance including freshening up the Terra.com home page with video, dynamic content and links to its social network, Espacio Terra.
In addition, Terra has dabbled on Twitter with a couple accounts that "Tweet" US news and Sports in Spanish and has a Facebook Page. Terra has also partnered with social networking site, MiGente.com, giving Terra access to over one million English-preferring Hispanics. On the content side, Terra powers the online presence for Reggaeton super star Daddy Yankee and has a partnership with Telemundo, called "Futbol Estelar" that produces and distributes online soccer content.
Creating innovative social advertising opportunities to reach Hispanics
At the end of the day, striking a balance between providing user value and driving advertising revenue is the top priority for Mark and Kevin. With Hispanics increasingly taking control of their online experiences, creating valuable advertising opportunities within the social context has become a top priority. According to Mark, "about 50% of the requests for proposal we get from advertisers specifically exclude social networking."
To address this challenge, Terra is striving to "socially enable content" and create "controlled user experiences for advertisers." For advertisers, Kevin points out that it is critical to "connect engagement to highly valued inventory" and that web publishers must "embrace the openness of the web and innovate advertising vehicles accordingly." He elaborates by indicating that Univision will create opportunities for brands to "rub up against the social media experience."
As Hispanics continue to turn to the Internet to express their cultural identity, advertisers will be sure to follow. This combination bodes well for Mark and Kevin, and I have no doubt that they will continue to innovate to create online experiences that provide value to online Hispanics and advertisers alike.