Three Tools to Help You Target Hispanics Via Mobile

What: We talked to Adsmovil's Alberto Pardo about the main challenges and recommendations to reach Hispanics effectively through mobile.
Why it matters: Hispanics are a hugely important part of the U.S. population, and communicating successfully with them demands a holistic understanding of the consumer's identity and behavior.

You would have to be living under a rock not to know that Hispanics are an important part of the U.S. population. In fact, 18% of Americans are of Hispanic origin, and about 38 million speak Spanish at home. Nielsen expects Hispanic buying power to reach US 1.8 trillion by 2021, and it continues to rise in the FMCG market.

It is also no secret that Hispanics over-index in smartphone ownership, mobile usage and data consumption, which is why mobile marketing is an important tool to reach them, even if sometimes it can sound challenging. We talked to Alberto Pardo, founder & CEO of Adsmovil, and member of Portada's Council of the Americas, about the key challenges of mobile marketing to Hispanics, and the ways in which new technologies can help..., or complicate things even more.

New Technologies Have Greatly Changed the Ways to Reach Hispanics

With the advent of new technologies surrounding the era of mobile phones and apps, it's crucial to have access to the right tools, such as an SDK or Software Development Kit. An SDK is a set of tools that allow the creation and enrichment of applications.

"With an SDK we can tell the app ecosystem of a device. It allows us to create audience segments based on the apps a user has installed on his/her phone and target ads accordingly," comments Alberto Pardo. "Also, with a diversity of Hispanic mobile web publishers and content, we can fully build custom audiences, derived entirely from mobile behavior, personalization, and intelligence."

You Should Look at a Holistic Picture of the Consumer, but How Will You Know They Are Hispanic?

"Looking at a holistic picture of consumer context is key," asserts Pardo. "The content they love, ads engaged with, places they go, keyword searched, content category frequented, app or site name domain, the app installed, language preference, etc." As he explains, there are a number of ways of finding out if a consumer is Hispanic:

  1. If the language settings are in Spanish and if they have Hispanic apps installed on their phone. Based on the Spanish language content the user is consuming via mobile web or in-app.
  2. The location also plays a part: "We can determine that a Hispanic has been to a Latin supermarket, for example, and how often she frequents the location," explains Pardo.
  3. "We can predict who is a Hispanic mom if she has been to an elementary school twice a day, 5 days a week (Monday to Friday). Adsmovil can analyze where the person has been (instead of where they are)," he adds.

Challenges of Reaching Hispanics Through Mobile

The first issue when trying to reach Hispanic at scale, says Pardo, is the lack of variety when it comes to high-quality Hispanic publishers in the U.S. "That's why it's so important to work with partners that count with a huge portfolio of publishes in the Spanish language, with the technology to properly target the right audience and an understanding of the Hispanic market."

Not every word has the same meaning and usage throughout the spectrum. It's key that brands understand that when safeguarding their brand.

Moreover, he explains, it's important to understand that Hispanics have a very strong cultural identity, with many variations according to each region. "We have an amazing team who truly understand this market because they came from this market, and being able to reach each sub-Hispanic subgroup is essential when it comes to targeting Hispanics."

The last challenge he mentions is protecting the brand’s image as advertising gets increasingly difficult in the U.S. "Many brands resort to blocking keywords that are an exact translation from English to Spanish, but that doesn’t necessarily work; not every word has the same meaning and usage throughout the spectrum. It's key that brands understand that when safeguarding their brand."

Remember: Not All Hispanics Are Created Equal

It's important to target Hispanics according to their country of origin, and there are also a number of ways to do this. "We can target based on the content they are reading and consuming," explains Pardo. "Hispanics frequently read Spanish content on sites and apps from their country of origin, such as Televisa or Tv Azteca for Mexicans, El Tiempo, Caracol or RCN for Colombians, etc."

Another thing Adsmovil does is looking at the keywords they search. "Young Hispanics usually speak Spanish with their parents or text keywords of specific Hispanic ingredients or food. For example, the word "Beans" can be spelled very different based on the country of origin: caraotas in Venezuela, frijoles in Colombia and Mexico, chicharos in Republica Dominicana, porotos in Argentina and Chile, etc." Then, according to the word they search, there's a way of knowing where they're from.

Finally, as Pardo mentions, it is necessary to adapt creatives according to level of acculturation as well as country of origin. "For example, we'd target second-generation Hispanics in English, an unacculturated Hispanic with a Spanish ad; or we'd add some Mexican flavor and keywords to an ad that will be targeting Mexicans, but we would never use the same ones for a campaign targeting Argentineans."


Janet Grynberg @grynberg_janet

Janet has worked as editor and translator since 2013. After graduating with honors when receiving her Bachelor's Degree in English literature, she began working as a book reviewer for Expansión, the leading business magazine in Mexico. She has also worked as editor of young adult literature for publishing houses like Planeta and Penguin, and she's the author of a book of short stories. She's in the process of getting her MA in English at McGill University. Her interests include arts, good food, and her 8 pets.

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