Major Portals Expanding Presence in Latin America

Latin America is somewhat shielded from the economic downturn currently happening in the U.S. and Europe. The relative economic stability also shows in the current expansion of major Internet companies in the region. Despite the high growth rates, the Latin American online advertising market has a higher catch up potential as online advertising markets amount to just 2%-3% of all national advertising in the region, as opposed to the more than 15% it represents in the U.S. and some European markets.

Yahoo´s! General manager Armando Rodriguez tells Portada that the company recently launched Yahoo! Publicidad, a comprehensive resource site created exclusively for current and prospective advertisers in the U.S. Hispanic market and throughout Latin America. Rodriguez says the site is designed to provide Yahoo! advertisers with the resources they need to launch campaigns that successfully and effectively reach target audiences in the U.S. Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Chile, and Venezuela.

According to Rodriguez, mobile is one of the company’s big bets for 2009. “We are excited about our regional LATAM partnerships with Movistar and America Movil about the key services that we have launched like Yahoo! oneSearch and Yahoo! Go. In 2008, we sold several mobile advertising campaigns in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil and are forecasting growth in 2009.” Yahoo! just last week launched Yahoo! Onesearch in Uruguay.

Anoher major portal, Starmedia, recently embarked in a major expansion in several Latin American countries including Argentina, Chile and Colombia, which were added to a substantial presence the website already had in Colombia.

For its part, Terra recently launched The Atom Project in several major Latin American countries. It invested around $10 million for the project.

Search engine giant Google opened operations centers in San Paolo (Brazil) and Mexico City last November. In April 2007, Google opened an office in Buenos Aires, which was billed by the corporation as "the third-largest headquarters of Google business development in the world, after those in California and Ireland.” The company also now has a presence in Chile and Colombia and employs about 1,000 people in the region. “We already have some presence in Brazil with Google Maps, but we will increase that and launch Google Maps Mexico. Another launch will be Google Chrome, our new browser. It was launched in September 2008 in Mexico, and you can download it for free,” John Farrell, country director of Google Mexico recently said. 

Cross over in Latin America-U.S. Hispanic Advertising Sales

Yahoo´s! Rodriguez tells Portada that there is also some cross-over in ad-sales between U.S Hispanic and Latin America: “We have several advertisers that are leveraging the Yahoo! network to reach US Hispanic and LATAM consumers. Also, since we are combining our business across the region under the Yahoo! Latin America and U.S. Hispanic umbrella, we are uniquely positioned to provide advertisers with an all-encompassing solution that allows them to reach all Hispanics regardless of geographic location and language preference.”

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