At this point, it’s really not a question of whether or not Hispanic consumers utilize mobile technology more than their non-Hispanic counterparts. As recognized "trendsetters," Hispanic consumers are clearly outpacing non-Hispanics in their adoption of mobile, social and online sources for shopping, especially at the local level, according to a recent BIA/Kelsey study.
But, what is valuable to advertisers are these questions: To what degree? and For what purposes? Hispanic consumers use mobile technology and how that information can help advertisers create content that will capture their attention.
In a recent nationwide study of mobile phone use by Hispanics vs. non-Hispanics, we asked participants to shed a little light on how they used their mobile phones and the results were as expected:
For those engaged in social media, 95.5% of Hispanics used their mobile phone to access Facebook compared to 98.6% of non-Hispanics. The usage numbers are also relatively close for several other sites like Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
But for Twitter and Instagram – the numbers swung in completely different directions. For Twitter, the heavy users were non-Hispanics, 61.1% to 44.8%. Conversely, for Instagram, it was Hispanics leading the way, 43.9% to 29.2%.
So, it’s fair to say that Hispanics are fully engaged on social media and certain social networking sites, like Facebook, have initiatives out there to help you attract, retain, and convert Hispanic consumers into paying customers.
One of the other popular uses of mobile phones is ‘texting.’ According to our study, Hispanics are clearly more active here, too. When asked how many other people they exchanged texts with on a typical day, only 8.0% of Hispanics said ‘none,’ compared to 23.4% of non-Hispanics. For 3-4 people (33.6% for Hispanics vs. 25.5%); for 5-6 people, it’s 12.0% vs. 6.1%.
And despite the fact that Hispanics are heavily involved in social media, when it comes to shopping, they rely heavily on the input from family and friends to make purchase decisions, regularly sending texts from retail locations asking for advice and opinions on certain brands.
For advertisers, this goes back to the conversation on cultural relevancy. Has your brand successfully embedded itself within the conversations being held within the Hispanic community? Is yours looked upon as a brand who understands the core values that shape this fast growing consumer base?
When it comes to advertising on mobile phones, differences go away – with Hispanics and non-Hispanics having very similar feelings. Both groups would be willing to receive advertisements on their phone in return for free services (e.g. live TV) – so said 45.0% for Hispanics and 41.5% for non-Hispanics.
Likewise, both groups would equally support phone ads in return for lower cell phone rates, 56.9% and 56.4%, respectively.
Yet, both Hispanics and non-Hispanics find cell phone ads equally annoying (at 80% for both segments).
So, the lesson here is this, if you want to advertise on mobile phones – regardless of your target audience – know that the ads will irritate some of the recipients, but they’re willing to acquiesce if you make it worth their while. And remember, for Hispanics specifically, they don’t want to be sold to so make the content of your ads a value to them, not a sales pitch.
While mobile advertising is clearly a hot topic today, it should still be considered as a part of a larger integrated marketing strategy that includes various channels. As phones get smarter and technology continues to improve, mobile will certainly play a major role in reaching Hispanics consumers, but at this point, it would be a mistake to completely forgo the use of more traditional channels, especially within the unacculturated segments.