Hispanic Digital Media Debate: Does it Make Sense to target Hispanics via Digital Media?

Spanish-dominant Hispanics are online, it’s just a matter of having enough relevant content, says Jose Villa, president and founder of L.A.-based Sensis, a multicultural interactive advertising agency, whose accounts include the U.S. Army. Even among very low income Hispanics, Internet penetration is relatively high, says Villa. According to recent research done by his agency for a Los Angeles based public institution, 30% of Spanish-dominant Hispanics earning an average of $12,000 have Internet access. Villa adds that the need for more relevant content targeting Spanish-dominant Hispanics is reflected in the fact that websites such as ElSalvador.com receive 40% of their visitors from the U.S. Hispanic market.

On the rise…

Aurora Losada, editor of Spanish-language publications of The Houston Chronicle, agrees with Villa: “We believe Spanish-dominant Hispanics' demand for good websites in the US is in the rise. Three elements lead us to that consideration: First, US Spanish-dominant online viewers are generally used to good, well-established websites by respectable newspapers in their countries of origin. Second, many of the latest research studies confirm that the Spanish-dominant segment is growing fast online.” Losada adds that “a good example of this is Forrester's research --I believe you featured it in Portada not long ago-- or the fact that more and more businesses are launching their own Spanish websites to reach this online community.” Losada concludes that “the unstoppable online dominance in the newspaper industry will naturally become the trend for Spanish-language publications as well. Compared to English-language media we are still behind, but in the race.”

Asked whether he agrees with many observers who claim that it is difficult to reach Spanish-dominant Hispanics via the Internet, Admixture’s Danny Allen says, “yes and no.  According to the "Latinos Online" report from the Pew Hispanic Center, only 32% of Spanish-dominant US Hispanic adults are online.  However, the growth in Internet usage by US Hispanics is about twice that of other groups, so the number of US Hispanics online is growing quickly.”

…and advertising friendly

Allen also notes that “the number of web surfers that say they find Internet advertising useful is about 60% higher for Hispanics than non-Hispanics.  I can tell you from Admixture's experience that click-thru rates are generally (but not always) higher for Spanish-language websites than for English-language Hispanic-focused websites.”


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