Tuesday, August 16

Online Habits of Hispanic Americans Should Drive Marketing Strategies, New Study Concludes

Brands hoping to reach Hispanic audiences — the second-largest and fastest-growing segment of the American market — must have specific digital media strategies, a newly released study suggests.

“It will be increasingly meaningful for marketers to consider Hispanic users as they develop online and app-centric calls to action,” said Marla Skiko, executive vice president and director of digital innovation for SMG Multicultural, a brand communications organization. The research was performed by Millward Brown Digital through behavioral observation and surveys, and was commissioned by SMG Multicultural and Specific Media.

The researchers found that Hispanic Americans outpace other groups in their time spent online, use of mobile devices, and receptiveness to advertising.

Hispanic Americans, according to the report, spend 83% more time online than non-Hispanic Americans. Online shopping is particularly popular; Hispanic Internet users spend almost four times longer on shopping websites and apps.

The way Hispanic Americans access the Internet is also important, averaging a greater amount of time spent on their smartphones and tablets accessing the Internet than non-Hispanics. Hispanic buyers are also more likely to make purchases from their mobile devices.

The study reports that, across all three digital platforms considered (desktops, smartphones and tablets), Hispanics users are much more likely to say that ads are “useful, relevant, influential and informative” for them. In the smartphone category, 36% of Hispanic respondents said they find ads useful and relevant, as opposed to only 17% of non-Hispanic participants.

The study also found that while Hispanic users conform to general Web trends in some cases, they also have some distinct preferences. Facebook, for example, is the most popular website for both Hispanics and non-Hispanics. But while non-Hispanics heavily prefer Google for searching, Hispanic users favor Bing.

“Although this study makes an important point, I believe it is also flawed,” says Andreas Huttenrauch, Chief Digital Strategist, Globi Web Solution. “Respondents were given 3 categories to choose from: Spanish-Hispanic, English-Hispanic, and non-Hispanic. This makes it very difficult to truly interpret the results, especially with the English-Hispanic group. Overall though, it is extremely important to know your online user-base and tailor the online experience to them. Cultural and regional differences can be very pronounced and unanticipated. One of the biggest mistakes that many companies make is not clearly defining their target market, and wanting to capture everyone. By doing this, their print and digital assets are talking to no-one.”

“The statistics speak for themselves,” the study’s executive summary concludes. “The Hispanic American consumer marketplace is growing in numbers, regions and influence, and brands that want to remain competitive need to start paying attention.”

The full report is available free online.

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