According to ComScore Media Metrix, WordPress and TypePad - two popular blogging platforms and networks - generated 2.9 million monthly unique Hispanic visitors in July, surpassing the traffic of popular Hispanic destinations such as Univision.com, Terra.com, and Batanga.com? In fact, according to the latest AdAge Hispanic Fact Pack, 5.35% of online Hispanics visited a blog and 2.3% wrote a blog in the last 30 days.
The growth of the Hispanic blogosphere represents two very important trends. First, the growth in the number of Hispanics writing blogs represents the emergence of a new group of Hispanic influencers with a very visible footprint. These are individuals who are going online and sharing their opinions with the world, or at least their friends, family and broader community. They are talking politics, fashion and business, among other topics.
A March 2008 Burson-Marsteller study revealed that the most influential Hispanic consumers, dubbed "Hispanic-fluentials," use the Internet to share their views about products and brands as well as to connect with friends and family. Specifically, 49% of Hispanic-fluentials used blogs to tell others about product experiences.
The second trend hinges on the fact that Hispanics are reading what bloggers (both Hispanic and non-Hispanic) are writing. They are spending more and more time reading news, commentary and opinions written by individuals and not tied to the traditional once-per-day, five-days-a-week newspaper news cycle of the old media world. This represents a marked shift in media consumption.
The Hispanic blogosphere therefore represents a vibrant online community of Hispanics who are seeking their information from individuals and are actively sharing their views and opinions with the world. What does this mean for marketers?
For starters, it is extremely important to keep track of the conversations that occur on the Hispanic blogosphere because they have a significant impact on brands. Tools such as Nielsen BuzzMetrics provide the ability to track such activity. And, with new targeting technology blog advertising networks are able to offer ads targeted to Hispanics reading blogs. Most importantly, however, the growing Hispanic blogosphere has opened the door for marketers to use social media to target the Hispanic market.
Social media gives marketers the opportunity to insert their brands, products or issues into the conversation in the Hispanic blogosphere. It is a new form of technology-empowered guerrilla marketing that has the potential to reach millions of Hispanics without spending millions of dollars on 30-second TV and radio spots on Spanish media.
Yet, marketers need to be careful about how they approach the Hispanic blogosphere. These are very savvy consumers who don't react well to traditional communications strategies to influence what they talk about. You can't simply have a PR firm send Hispanic bloggers a press release or post a self-serving comment on a blog with the hopes of generating buzz. You need to be willing to engage them in a conversation that is relevant to the material they blog about in an organic manner.
You can take the easy route and just buy display ad space through an ad network targeting the Hispanic blogosphere. However, don't expect more than a below-average click-through rate and little to no engagement with your message or brand. If you want deep engagement via an effective social media program, you need to be willing to embrace the blogosphere as more and more Hispanics are.