By Zubair Talib published September 3, 2013

3 Reasons Your Brand Content Won’t Connect with Hispanic Consumers

Sabores

So, there’s this “minor” demographic you might have heard of called U.S. Hispanics.

More accurately, it’s the fastest growing and most coveted consumer group in the nation. And if your business doesn’t have a winning brand content strategy for reaching these lucrative potential customers over the next five years, well… in five years, you might not have a business at all.

Think we’re exaggerating? Consider the following:

  • Hispanic audiences can be found everywhere in the U.S.: There are more than 52 million Hispanics living in the United States. By 2050, that number is expected to be 132.8 million, accounting for 30 percent of the entire U.S. population.
  • U.S. Hispanics are a fast-growing economic force: In 2012, U.S. Hispanics had an estimated $1.2 trillion in purchasing power. That number is expected to be $1.5 trillion in 2015, with Hispanic buying power projected to grow faster than African-American buying power, Native American buying power, and Asian buying power.
  • U.S. Hispanics are ideal targets for content marketing: Hispanics are connecting online at growth rates that are twice that of the general market (14 percent vs. 7 percent), adding over a million users per year. Moreover, they already watch 62 percent more digital video than non-Hispanics, and net (on average) higher CPMs in online search marketing campaigns — making their attention comparatively more valuable than that of other consumer demographics when it comes to viewership of highly targeted communications
  • Content marketing is going mobile — and so are Hispanics: According to Pew Research Center, 60 percent of U.S. Hispanic mobile users have smartphones, compared with only 53 percent of Caucasians in the U.S. Pew also notes that about 42 percent of U.S. Hispanics use their mobile phones as their primary access point to the internet.

The facts are clear: A rapidly growing population, coupled with rising purchasing power and a massive mobile footprint equals a major (perhaps even an unprecedented) opportunity for brand content marketing.

Given this potential, why are so many businesses failing to create brand content that targets Hispanic audiences directly and skillfully? Let’s take a look at some of the challenges involved here, as well as some tips for addressing them:

Reason #1: It takes more than Google Translate for your content to speak their language

Too often, businesses confuse Hispanic-targeted content with Spanish-language content.

While Pew found that, of the 50.5 million U.S. Hispanics, nearly 75 percent still speak Spanish at home, it’s quite a different story online.

In fact, according to data from the 2013 AdAge Hispanic Fact Pact, 42.9 percent of U.S. Hispanics prefer to consume online content only in English (and that percentage is certain to rise as successive generations become increasingly accepting of English-language Hispanic-targeted content).

So what exactly does “English-language Hispanic-targeted content” mean? In a nutshell, it means content with specific cultural relevance to U.S. Hispanics. Despite the common misconception, translating content into Spanish does not make it Hispanic-targeted. Rather, Spanish-speaking, English-speaking, and bilingual Hispanics all want culturally relevant content in the language of their choice.

Hence, you need to start creating new content specifically tailored to the needs of your Hispanic audiences — content that speaks directly to their preferences and interests. For a restaurant, this might mean content highlighting authentic Latin menu items; for a formal wear store, it might mean creating content on how to find the perfect Quinceañera dress.

But even these suggestions — while a good starting point — suffer from a lack of focus. The most important thing to remember when creating targeted content is that U.S. Hispanics are a diverse and heterogeneous demographic. There is no “one-size-fits-all” Hispanic content strategy. Hence, in order to imbue your content with cultural relevance for a specific target audience, you’ll need to take the time to discover the nuances of that audience’s values, concerns, and lifestyle.

Reason #2: Your content lacks the relevance and engagement potential this audience seeks

For better or worse, the wealth of content available to U.S. Hispanics today means that content marketers need richer, more immersive experiences to seize precious mindshare.

Even if your content is culturally relevant, it still needs to stand out in a sea of traditional media. So if the majority of your content assets are plain text articles or blog posts, it’s time to consider the following upgrades:

Increase the visual search potential of your content: My company has found great success with our launch of Sabores, an image-based search discovery tool for Latin cuisine. Sabores (which means “flavors”) features a Pinterest-like interface through which users can visually browse recipes, local restaurants, and general Latin culinary information.

Image-based search and discovery is proving immensely popular as an enriched user experience, especially for consumers accessing the internet through mobile devices, on which text-based searches can be difficult and cumbersome.

As mentioned above, U.S. Hispanic consumers are more likely to be using mobile devices than the average consumer, so the introduction of visual content is particularly important when targeting the Hispanic demographic. In addition, visuals are an efficient and effective way to convey the cultural relevance we discussed in the previous section. The authenticity of a Latin menu item, for instance, is much more easily and powerfully conveyed through images than through a dry, textual description.

Appeal to the ears, not just the eyes: The largest Latin American online media company, Terra, operates the 31st most popular internet destination in the world— Terra.com — which (according to data from comScore) reaches 8.5 percent of Hispanics online, achieving nearly 2.5 million unique visitors. As it happens, a major part of Terra’s content success has been achieved through music.

In fact, Fast Company named Terra one of the most innovative music companies in 2011 for its “multi-pronged, and profitable, music-focused content model.” With online video consumption a major component of Latin American culture, Terra’s music model delivers content across at least five screens: web, smartphones, tablets, connected TVs, and digital out-of-home screens.

But the strategy isn’t just about content delivery. Rather, Terra is fueling the Hispanic purchasing funnel through mobile and social engagement with its music content. In fact, according to a separate comScore study commissioned by Terra, Hispanics are more likely than non-Hispanics to use social, mobile, and online content as touch points within the purchasing funnel.

Terra

Leverage available sources of free video: After Terra.com, the largest Hispanic content site belongs to Univision, which (again, according to comScore data) reaches 8 percent of Hispanics online and has 2.3 million unique visitors. Univision is a content juggernaut, and we could laud any number of its best practices. But in particular, UVideos — Univision’s first digital network, offering thousands of hours of free, long-form video programming and short video clips to users — is noteworthy for having its content, user interface, and integrated marketing opportunities available in both English and Spanish.

Even more noteworthy, perhaps, is Flama, Univision’s soon-to-launch digital destination for Hispanic millennials. In Flama, Univision sees a platform for edgier video content that can attract younger, bicultural Hispanic digital natives. It also sees an opportunity for its marketing partners to engage meaningfully with this coveted audience by integrating with Flama’s original video content development, from the ground up.

Flama

Reason #3: You’re afraid to dive in

Like any form of content marketing, Hispanic-targeted content marketing requires an investment of time and resources. Simply put, according to AdAge, the companies producing the most content for the mainstream Hispanic media — such as Genomma Lab International, Procter & Gamble Co., and T-Mobile US are the same companies finding the most success in building long-term relationships with U.S. Hispanic consumers.

Not surprisingly, these investments are trending upward overall. According to analysis by the AHAA, ad spend growth rates in 2012 (as of June) had increased by 20.7 percent for the Hispanic market, compared to just 1.7 percent in the non-Hispanic market.

For its 2013 Hispanic Fact Pack, AdAge surveyed Hispanic consumers about their engagement with brands on social sharing and networking websites. According to the data, 23.7 percent of Hispanics enjoy following brands and companies on the web, compared with just 19.6 percent of non-Hispanics.

In other words, not only is content marketing successfully driving positive brand engagement among Hispanics, it’s doing so with a higher success rate (proportionally) than among non-Hispanics. Hence, as a demographic, U.S. Hispanics seem to be favorably predisposed to content marketing. But if you’re merely dabbling in Hispanic content marketing or pursuing it half-heartedly (or perhaps on the cheap), you’re unlikely to ever realize the benefits of that cultural predisposition.

And with researchers expecting Hispanics to constitute a full 30 percent of the U.S. population by 2050, that’s an awful lot of missed potential.

How about you?

Have you or anyone you know had a positive or negative experience with Hispanic-targeted content marketing? Any best practices or words of caution? Tell us about it in the comments section.

For more insight on content marketing that works across multiple cultures and global locations, don’t miss 5 Principles For Creating Content That Works Globally And Across Cultures, at Content Marketing World 2013

Author: Zubair Talib

Zubair Talib is CEO and co-founder of YaSabe, and an expert in search technology and online local search. He previously co-founded and served as CTO of Intelligenx. He was a board member of and acting CTO of 411.ca leading up to its acquisition by Yellow Pages Group. Zubair holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT. Follow Zubair on Twitter @ztalib.

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  • http://www.softship.com/ Ava Cristi

    We all know the fact that online consumers of today are intelligent, when they go on an online search they know what they want and need and they seek out the best value information for what they want and need. High quality content is value information for what they want and need. They will accept what is useful, helpful and attention-grabbing information and reject what is crap—all the time.