Culture + Technology Usage = The Perfect Storm

As a follow-up to my previous post, I wanted share the highlights of my recent presentation, "Are Hispanics Really More Social?" and also some great insights that I picked up at this week's Hispanic PR and social media conference in Dallas.

I chose a rhetorical question for the title of the presentation because most of us know that being social is hardwired into Hispanic culture. Being at the conference with a couple hundred Hispanics really brought this point to life. The atmosphere was friendly, fun and-well-social.

In addition to being highly social, Hispanics consume a ton of media. I came across statistics that indicate that Hispanics teens spend 13 hours per day with media, more than any other ethnic group.

I then took a look at technology usage and showed that Hispanics are leapfrogging to the latest and greatest technologies, including mobile. What's more, Hispanics have an extremely positive view of the technology and, once they get their hands on it, they use it and love it. Here are some key facts:

  • 84% of Hispanics have a broadband connection vs. 79% of Whites
  • 36% of Hispanics view the Internet as tool for building a better life vs. 30% of general market
  • 68% of Hispanics are wireless Internet users vs. 54% of Whites
  • 81% of Hispanics text vs. 62% of Whites



Hispanic social media, the perfect storm

When you combine the highly social Hispanic culture with strong technology usage, you get a perfect storm. I argued that social media is the perfect avenue to unleash the Hispanic culture. For the most part, every-day Hispanic culture is confined to neighborhoods throughout America. Social media changes that. It gives every-day Hispanics a voice and provides a global, viral platform for spreading the culture.

When it comes to social media sites, I showed an analysis using data from and ran down the most popular social media sites among Hispanics. Here are the top five:

  •, 15 million monthly Hispanic visitors
  •, 8.8 million monthly Hispanic visitors
  •, 6.2 million monthly Hispanic visitors
  •, 3.0 million monthly Hispanic visitors
  •, 1.9 million monthly Hispanic visitors

I spent some time talking about Twitter and highlighted new data that indicate Hispanics are heavy users. I was able to bring this point to life, and have fun with the audience, by showing real-time, lively, insightful and highly social tweets from conference attendees.

The Hispanic social media opportunity is wide open

I wrapped up with a call to action for marketers to engage with Hispanics through social media. U.S. Hispanics are extremely active with social media, and few companies are proactively leveraging these media to reach them.

So don't be shy. Be like Hispanics. Be social.

14 comments about "Culture + Technology Usage = The Perfect Storm".
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  1. Fred Jones, May 13, 2010 at 11:23 a.m.

    Any way to read the surveys referenced? Otherwise this all just looks anecdotal, and taking into account the reach of facebook, 15M is hardly worth investing in. A targeted campaign would be much better served as opposed to fishing for hispanics online. Then leverage that targeted campaign to drive online behavior.

  2. Rich Reader from WOMbuzz, May 13, 2010 at 11:32 a.m.

    For those among us who haven't been paying close attention, the convergence of comparative measures about Hispanics versus Whites (presumably non-Hispanic Caucasians) as well as versus the general population as a whole is an eye-opener (largely because the general population knows little about Hispanic culture, adoption of technology, and propensity toward social media.

    Let's tune in, listen up, and take sensible remedial actions in our own businesses where appropriate.

  3. Lucia Matthews from DIALOGO, May 13, 2010 at 11:49 a.m.

    Hey Lee,

    I agree, U.S. Hispanics are taking lead in narrowing the divide. They are young, online, early adopting media mavens who own more businesses than ever before.

    These patterns in recent Latino activity suggest an enhanced presence in U.S. business and increased technology literacy.

    Richie Matthews
    La Jolla

  4. Vanessa Cordova-corwin from VCC Productions, May 13, 2010 at 11:56 a.m.

    A note on terminology: Hispanics come in all sizes, shapes and colors. We come from a variety of heritages and include all races. "Hispanic," in fact, is not a race in itself. It refers to a collection of people from many different countries and cultures that have a common linguistic heritage, that language being Spanish. Therefore, depending on who was included in that study, what you probably mean is "non Hispanics" or "non Hispanic Caucasians."

  5. Lee Vann from Captura Group, May 13, 2010 at 12:29 p.m.

    Thanks for the comments, Fred you can see all of the sources in the presentation I was discussing in the post.

  6. Harold Cabezas from Cabezas Communications, May 13, 2010 at 5:25 p.m.


    You had me at, " I argued that social media is the perfect avenue to unleash the Hispanic culture. ".

    I could not agree more. You bring up an interesting premise-one that was discussed in another talk at the conference with regards to the influence of US Hispanic culture on the General Market. The Latinos are there (social media/networks) and are just beginning to embrace UGC (User Generated Content) on a larger scale, which will not only have ramifications for the current US Hispanic media panorama, but will undoubtedly influence General Market viral trends more and more.....

    An interesting viral video/commercial right now (created for Microsoft's search engine, Bing, by JWT), 'Los Links', is just the start of how Latino culture will spread virally, not just by advertising agencies, but by Latinos.

    Thank you for sharing your findings and the presentation-they are greatly appreciated.

  7. Abbott Wool from TelamericaMedia, May 14, 2010 at 9:15 a.m.

    This includes serious overstatements:

    Census data, released in February 2010, state that 47.2% of Hispanics do not use internet at home. Broadband may be in about 90% of Hispanic homes that do have internet use, but this still only amounts to 48% of Hispanic homes.

  8. Lee Vann from Captura Group, May 15, 2010 at 12:15 a.m.


    You are correct 89% of online Hispanics have broadband.


  9. Sebastian Aroca from Hispanic Market Advisors, May 16, 2010 at 2:44 p.m.

    I agree that social media gives every-day Hispanics a voice and provides a global, viral platform for spreading the culture. The author's call to action for marketers to engage with Hispanics through social media is inviting. Now, let's not overlook the fact that a great portion of the Hispanic viewers online will only pass on information that is presented to them by marketers if they believe it is of importance to their family, friends and contacts. Thus, I would only add to the call to action that we, marketers, have to always keep in mind that the purpose of social media, as I understand it, is about creating value in content and not simply mundane marketing messages to target a specific audience. So the way we choose to connect with the Hispanic Internet users will determine whether our approach is successful or not...

  10. Dian Hasan from MindCode, May 17, 2010 at 5:48 p.m.

    Lee, thanks for a great article. Your findings are very true, the young Hispanics' comfort level in SocMed is a reflection of their embedded culture.

    And it is an inseparable part of their Brand DNA, they're On-Code with their culture. This is an important lesson for Marketers, Advertisers, and especially, Brand-Builders who want to engage them and capture their hearts. They're all "comfortably at home" in the various SocMed.

    Would love to find out more about Captura. I'll contact you via a separate email.

    Sincerely, Dian

  11. Alejandro Alvarado, May 18, 2010 at 5:24 p.m.

    We have to be careful managing figures since there is a danger of creating a myth about Hispanics. I agree with Abbot Wool and we should provide the whole context when sharing figures.

  12. Ken Muench from Draftfcb, May 20, 2010 at 8:01 a.m.

    Great post.

    One comment: we should probably avoid over-generalizations. I just read a news piece yesterday about a major auto company investing a ton of money in Spanish online, because the target was so internet-savvy.

    The truth is, they're missing the boat.

    The internet savvy Latinos are speaking English. Spanish dominant, lower acculturation folks are actually under-represented online. Online Span Dom Hispanics also do a lot less of pretty much everything that's "new" online (streaming).

    I break down the math, with pretty charts and indices here:

  13. Lee Vann from Captura Group, May 20, 2010 at 5:30 p.m.

    Ken- Thanks for your insightful comment, I did not differentiate between English/Spanish preferring in the post but there are key differences.

    That said, I have seen data from Forrester that indicates that Spanish preferring Hispanics are more active social media users when compared to English preferring Hispanics.

  14. Mari Gonzalez-Esparza, August 1, 2010 at 11:10 p.m.

    I'd like to know which company or companies have been successful at reaching to U.S. Latinos whether English- or Spanish-dominant and HOW they've done it. What's their formula.
    Also, a more specific breakdown of Latinos/Hispanics.

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