Commentary

Upfronts 2018: 4 Takeaways For Marketers Looking To Reach The Hispanic Market

Coming out of the upfronts hosted this year by Univision and Azteca América — the largest and third-largest Spanish-language networks in the U.S., respectively — I walked away inspired and more informed about how marketers can improve their Hispanic marketing efforts.

With the U.S. Hispanic population nearing 58 million (18% of the U.S. total population), understanding the Hispanic marketplace and the themes shaping it is essential. Marketers can no longer afford to view Hispanic marketing as an add-on to be handled by separate teams at a later date; it needs to be treated as an integral component from day one. Here are some key points to keep in mind as you develop, shape and execute on your Hispanic-audience marketing and media strategies:

1. Soccer is having a moment, and it’s driven by the Hispanic market

A recent Gallup poll found that 7% of Americans named soccer as their favorite sport, up 3% from four years ago, outpacing hockey (4%) and nipping at the heels of baseball (9%). Football, basketball and baseball all showed modest declines. Twenty-six percent of all U.S. soccer fans are Hispanic, far exceeding their 18% share of the U.S. population, and live sports are still a great way to reach an audience at scale. Univision boldly claimed to "own soccer," and with more than 1,400 live matches on its network this year, that may not be too big a stretch.

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This summer, it'll be adding UEFA Champions League matches to its slate of offerings, as well as the first-ever Campeones Cup. Between expanded match coverage and support for superfan offerings like Univision’s Liga MX Fantasy, the networks are working harder than ever to cater to this key Hispanic passion point.

2. It’s not just about passion points: embrace language and values

During the Azteca América upfront, there was an interesting presentation by a Nielsen researcher on the importance of the female Hispanic consumer in the U.S. marketplace. One of the key takeaways was that Spanish is used as a way for young Hispanic women to maintain and celebrate their culture, even if they speak English outside the home. Speaking to her in her preferred language and aligning with her values is key. We often talk about personalization and contextualization in terms of passion points, but language and values are other important factors to consider.

3. YouTube represents a massive opportunity area for marketers looking to reach Hispanics in 2018

Eighty-seven percent of Hispanics watch online video content at least weekly, surpassing live TV at 86% (Simmons Research, 2018). YouTube in particular is used by 77% of Hispanics, and two of the top three YouTubers in the world are Spanish speakers. Six of the top ten YouTube music videos of 2017 were Spanish-language hits, up from just one a year before.

The networks get this. Azteca América has worked to build a subscriber base of over 600,000 on YouTube (more than NBC and HGTV). Univision featured a prominent YouTuber at its event, a nod to its MCN called “Univision Creator Network.” Marketers who overlook YouTube when targeting Hispanic consumers are going to be left in the dust. 

4. Smartphones are taking over the world

Fifty-two percent of Hispanics access the internet through their smartphone more often than on their laptop compared to 47% for the total U.S. population (Mintel, 2017). The implications of smartphones on the Hispanic marketplace can’t be overstated. Ninety-one percent of Hispanic Millennials have a phone that’s less than two years old, 16% higher than the total U.S. population (Mintel, 2017), representing a big opportunity for both smartphone manufacturers and wireless carriers—as well as marketers.

The proliferation of smartphone adoption by Hispanic consumers has a direct effect on content consumption—and even on content itself. Azteca América is coming out with a reality TV show called Lights, Phone, Action, on which contestants are judged on films they create exclusively on their smartphones.

A reality TV show about smartphone video.

That’s pretty 2018.

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