Media Strategy Should Work Across Languages

Recent research published in Advertising Age's Annual Hispanic Fact Pact revealed an interesting fact about the media consumption habits of Hispanic adults ages 18 and older. Taking into account their consumption across all media, 75% of Hispanics consume media in both English and Spanish, with 11% only in Spanish and 14% only in English.

This varies significantly by media type, with TV representing the medium with the highest rate of consumption mostly in both languages, while newspapers and the Internet are primarily consumed in only English. (It's important to note that the data on media usage presented in the Hispanic Fact Pack are not segmented demographically.) There are a few possible explanations for this trend.

First, it is possible that the lower median age of Hispanics overall makes them more likely to prefer more English-language media given the language usage patterns of younger Latinos. Another consideration is the possibility that there is a lack of relevant content in Spanish language. Depending on the medium and the target, it may be that consumers simply find they like certain content in English more than in Spanish.



Another even more radical possibility is that the majority of Hispanics, regardless of how long they have been in the U.S., or what language they prefer to speak, mostly identify with being generally bicultural. These factors, of course, don't make them any less Hispanic. But it does make our jobs a little more complex.

The data on media consumption speak to how multicultural the Hispanic segment actually is and reaffirm something those close to the market should already know: Hispanics are not a homogenous group easily reached solely with Spanish-language advertising. And just because Hispanics are consuming English language media, it doesn't mean that your brand's messaging is resonating with them.

It's a missed opportunity when a brand advertises in solely Spanish-language media in order to reach Hispanics and potentially neglects an important segment of its intended target audience that consumes media mostly in English.

In general, these data on Hispanic media consumption lead to several implications. One is not new -- know your audience well and keep in mind that they don't all behave the same way. And, perhaps a new thought to some, is to keep in mind what "other" potential large audiences are also being exposed to your message and determine how to capitalize on that audience.

In essence, as the Hispanic market continues to grow, it is imperative that agencies work together from a campaign's onset to determine insights and develop a unified strategy that not only works across all platforms, but languages, too.

3 comments about "Media Strategy Should Work Across Languages".
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  1. David Burgos from Millward Brown, August 18, 2011 at 1:34 p.m.

    Nice article! Spanish language is relevant to Hispanics; no question about it. But actual content is way more important! Latinos look for stuff that is relevant to them in the different media options, regardless of whether it is in Spanish or English - especially nowadays that most Latinos are bilingual to some extent. The same happens with advertising. While having an ad in Spanish may be a plus among some consumers, if the message is not relevant, Hispanics won't care about it. The opportunity to target Latinos in English media is huge. The problem is that marketers are afraid of alienating the so-called mainstream consumer. They are wrong. We share a lot of learnings around this topic in my new book Marketing to the New Majority -

  2. Abel Delgado from US Media Consulting, August 18, 2011 at 5:47 p.m.

    This begs the question: how do you do this? What kind of messaging targets this English-dominant or bilingual Hispanic in a way that makes a difference in terms of response compared to a general market ad?

  3. Sebastian Aroca from Hispanic Market Advisors, August 24, 2011 at 11:50 p.m.

    Thanks, Stephanie. I like these metrics: "75% of Hispanics consume media in both English and Spanish, with 11% only in Spanish and 14% only in English." That's why, at Hispanic Market Advisors, I always advise most of our clients to have bilingual websites. Now, needless to say that it's paramount to develop content (English and Spanish) that goes beyond the purchase. If a customer is impressed that they pass on the information they learned or recommend someone else to use the business' product or service in question, then the website is even more effective. With the pervasive presence of things like social networks, one satisfied Hispanic customer could quickly turn into ten, twenty, or even a hundred through content sharing, e-mails, and instant messaging..

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