Today there are relatively few online options that advertisers can use to target Hispanics. This reality is a result of two main factors. First, as we discussed in a previous article, the majority of online Hispanics prefer English or are bilingual. As such, many Hispanics use popular English-language sites such as Yahoo!, Google, AOL, and MSN. Furthermore, publishers have been slow to develop Spanish-language Websites, as the Hispanic online advertising market is new, and expenditures by advertisers in this market are still relatively small—though they are growing exponentially. In fact, “Hispanic Business” magazine estimates that expenditures on Hispanic online media increased from approximately $30 million in 2005 to more than $100 million in 2006. (Total U.S. online advertising exceeds $10 billion.)
As more dollars flow into the Hispanic online advertising market, the limited online inventory that exists will become increasingly more expensive. This in turn will make it difficult for marketers to generate a return on their Hispanic online marketing investments. So it is important to consider other ways to reach Hispanics online as well.
Previously we covered Hispanic online marketing tactics that companies can leverage internally such as providing access from general market sites and the importance of integrated communications. Here are some out-of-the-box Hispanic online marketing tactics to consider:
Integrated online sponsorships. Move beyond traditional online media buys and work with Hispanic online publishers to develop and execute integrated sponsorships. Sponsorships typically require a larger upfront investment but can be structured to drive specific business objectives. Retailer Wal-Mart and Spanish-language portal Terra.com recently executed a creative holiday 2006 sponsorship where Wal-Mart provides gift recommendations. Note that while Wal-Mart’s product descriptions and recommendations as well as its banner ads are in Spanish on Terra.com, Walmart.com is available only in English.
Content syndication. Organizations that have Spanish-language content can leverage it and develop content syndication relationships with Hispanic online publishers. Hispanic online publishers are hungry for quality content and are open to exploring these types of deals. The federal government adopted this approach to market its official Spanish-language portal, FirstGov en español with Univision.com through an integrated, cobranded content syndication program.
IP targeting. Many Hispanics visit Websites from their countries of origin for local news and other information. These U.S. Hispanic users can be reached online through Internet provider (IP) targeting. Take a Mexican-American living in Los Angeles. To read local news from Mexico, he might visit a site such as leading Mexican newspaper publisher Reforma.com. Purchasing online advertising from Reforma.com with U.S. IP targeting will allow you to reach not just U.S. Hispanics but U.S. Hispanics who are likely of Mexican descent.
Behavioral targeting. Because a large number of U.S. Hispanics visit English-language sites, you can use behavioral targeting to reach them. Behavioral targeting is a relatively new method that is made possible through advanced ad-serving technologies and publishers or networks that have both Hispanic and general-market Websites. With behavioral targeting, a user who visits a Hispanic site (one with Hispanic-themed content or in Spanish) is flagged via cookie technology as exhibiting “Hispanic” behavior. This user can subsequently be identified and served targeted advertising on an general-market Website. With behavioral targeting, it becomes especially important to consider the language of the advertising creative. A best practice is to provide language choice with a bilingual advertisement or to leverage culturally relevant English messaging.
Search engine marketing. Websites that have high Spanish-language organic search rankings will rank high across many search engines including those in Latin America and Spain. As a result, a high-ranking U.S. Spanish-language Website will attract a significant number of visitors from overseas. Pay-per-click advertising, on the other hand, can effectively target U.S. Hispanics by taking advantage of the geo-targeting capabilities available as part of the Google AdWords and upcoming Yahoo! Panama platforms. And more search companies are forging partnerships with Hispanic publishers.
Succeeding in the Hispanic online market requires organizations not only to execute across best practices in the development of online programs but also to use creative tactics when planning and executing online marketing campaigns. Organizations that take an integrated approach to the Hispanic online market by developing a valuable Hispanic Website and proactively marketing it will be best positioned to reap the benefits of this growing and lucrative segment.
Lee Vann is the cofounder of Captura Group (www.capturagroup.com), a leading Hispanic interactive services firm. He was recently recognized by the Interactive Advertising Bureau as one of the top 10 Hispanic online pioneers.
Previous articles by Lee Vann: