Marketers Are Still Not Investing Enough In Digital Media

  • by , Columnist, August 14, 2014

Every year around this time I am excited to analyze the Advertising Age Hispanic Fact Pack from a digital perspective. Every year I am optimistic that marketers will finally realize that U.S. Hispanics spend most of their time consuming digital media and allocate their marketing budgets accordingly.

And every year I am disappointed to find that marketers are not capitalizing on the Hispanic digital opportunity despite clear and compelling data.

U.S. Hispanics Spend Most of Their Time Consuming Digital Media

U.S. Hispanics can’t get enough digital media. What’s more, relative to Non-Hispanics, U.S. Hispanics spend less time watching TV and more time consuming digital media. According to data from Experian Marketing Services published in the 2014 Ad Age Hispanic Fact Pack, here is how U.S. Hispanics consume media on a daily basis:

  • Watching TV: 3.3 hours per day
  • Using Internet on home computer: 3.3 
  • Playing video games on tablet: 2.2 
  • Playing video games on gaming console: 2.1 
  • Watching videos online: 2.0 
  • Using Internet on tablet: 2.0 
  • Listening to Internet radio: 1.9 

U.S. Hispanics not only spend more time with digital media, they also have positive attitudes towards it. The same source found that relative to non-Hispanics, U.S. Hispanics are more likely to engage with brands on social media and make purchasing decisions because of social media interactions. The following findings cited in the Hispanic Fact Pack clearly illustrate this point, with Hispanics being more likely than non-Hispanics to:

  • Purchase products advertised via social media (10.9% versus 8.3%)
  • Purchase products recommended by friends via social media (18.3% versus 17.8%)
  • Like brands on social media sites (23.5% vs. 20.2%)
  • Spread the word about brands via social media (23.9% vs. 20.2%)

Only 7% of Hispanic Media Budgets Go to Digital Media

Given that U.S. Hispanics spend the majority of their time consuming digital media, you would think that marketers would invest the majority of their U.S. Hispanic media budgets on digital, but this is not the case. In fact, marketers invested only 7% of Hispanic media budgets on digital. According to the Ad Age Hispanic Fact Pack, marketers invested a total of $8.3 billion on U.S. Hispanic media in 2013, broken down as follows:

  • TV: $6.10 billion up 5.3% from 2012
  • Print: $1.15 billion up 13.5% from 2012
  • Digital: $580 million up 31.8% from 2012
  • Radio: $466 million up 8.0% from 2012

Yes, investment in U.S. Hispanic digital media grew the fastest between 2012 and 2013, but still is nowhere near commensurate with how U.S. Hispanics consume media.

Why Aren’t Marketers Investing More in Hispanic Digital Media?

The gap between U.S. Hispanic media consumption and investments in U.S. Hispanic media is clear, what is not clear is why the gap exists. Several factors might explain this phenomenon.

Consumers move much faster than marketers. The 30-second TV spot dominated the marketing landscape for a long time and marketers are still trying to adjust to the new digital reality. Add to that factors that specifically impact the Hispanic market and the reasons behind the gap become clearer. 

First, marketers need a specific expertise to successfully reach U.S. Hispanics, and there are simply not enough Hispanic marketing professionals out there. In addition, the current “Total Market” conversation has led some marketers to believe that they can succeed with U.S. Hispanics through general market campaigns. Finally, when it comes to the U.S. Hispanic market, budgets have traditionally been small.

Regardless of why the gap exists, Hispanic digital remains a huge opportunity for those that are willing to invest in it and I hope to be writing about just that when I analyze next year’s Ad Age Hispanic Fact Pack.

2 comments about "Marketers Are Still Not Investing Enough In Digital Media".
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  1. Clarisse Céspedes from BabyCenter en Español, August 14, 2014 at 1:17 p.m.

    Just defining Hispanics is a very difficult task, and this is a very dynamic segment of the US population. But yet it is so powerful -and will be even more in the future- that sometimes I cannot understand why marketers don't go full force into understanding and defining a strategy to conquer the Hispanic market. Sometimes I wonder if they are really able to see past what is working for them today and start working for the market of tomorrow.

  2. L D from Global Citizen, August 18, 2014 at 10:35 a.m.

    Marketers Are CLEARLY Still Not Investing Enough In Digital Media. Digital media is increasingly important for many bilingual professionals, families and teachers in this country - and globally. Nevertheless, iTunes, for example is the ONLY provider of digital movies for children with audio track option in Spanish. In addition the inventory of content with this option is MINIMAL. Even big hits, such as Frozen are only available with audio in English and French. Amazon, Vudu, Google play and all others refuse to invest. Spanish is by far the most widely taught second language in the country and with over 50 million speakers, the United States is now the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world after Mexico. Not investing in digital media for hispanics seems like a HUGE mistake.

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