Brands spent a total of $9.4 billion to target Hispanics in 2018. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to total U.S. advertising spend, which was $223.48 billion in 2018, according to eMarketer. That means only 4.2% of ad spend went toward Hispanic consumers, with no significant change in Hispanic ad spending over the last three years.
Mind the Gap
So what accounts for this big gap in spending? Many brands aren’t sure where to start, unsure of what kind of content will resonate most or which platforms will be most effective.
However, the larger issue is that there are quite a few misconceptions advertisers have about the U.S. Hispanic population. Many assume they all are Spanish-dominant speakers (when in fact, they speak many languages) or that they have a shared heritage (it goes without saying that each country of origin has a distinct culture and its own traditions).
More than that, brands treat the demographic as a monolith, not taking into account factors like geographic location, age, generational differences, acculturation levels, and more.
Embrace Cultural Sensitivity
Advertisers across industries often believe that the best approach to targeting Hispanic consumers is to translate messaging from their general marketing campaigns into Spanish. While there is a use case for that approach, the most effective advertising campaigns must go well beyond language and consider cultural relevancy. According to the latest Google research, 88% of Hispanics say they pay attention to ads that include elements of Hispanic culture, regardless of the language they are in, with 41% feeling more favorable towards a brand that tries to be culturally relevant.
Know Who You’re Targeting
U.S. Hispanics consume content in both English and Spanish and they are predominantly digital-first. In fact, only one in three Hispanics prefers watching TV in Spanish, and yet Spanish-language television remains a huge portion of Hispanic ad spend overall.
Almost one-third of all U.S. Hispanics are cord-cutters and Hispanic millennials are 55% more likely to watch TV alone, according to research from the Captura Group. If television is an important medium for a brand, it should be targeting audience segments through the digital channels and platforms this audience uses daily.
The U.S. Hispanic community is not a monolith by any stretch. Brands must create bespoke campaigns that highlight and feature passion points on the channels where this community spends its time—whether that be mobile, digital or television. By investing in the community, learning about their shared values, and understanding what resonates most, brands can maximize their reach and success with the community and bridge the ad spend gap.