Analysis: Yes Huffpo!, Only 9 million US Hispanics are identified as such by Facebook

Our reporter  Raul Ramirez Riba responds to a recent Huffington Post article that critized his recent article about the size of Facebook’s Hispanic Audience.

Cristina Costantini from The Huffington Post recently accused us of being “definitely misleading”  in  our latest piece about the reach of Facebook in Latinamerica and the U.S. Hispanic market  Had she done some actual research, instead of just posting links to studies from 2010, she would have found that our numbers are completely correct: Facebook only identifies 8,943,120 million U.S. Hispanic users in its  social network (taking into account a U.S. Hispanic population of 44 million that is a 20.4% ratio, which goes down to 16.3% if we take into account PEW latest figures for a Hispanic population of 50.5 million. This information is open to the public and you can find it inside the Facebook Advertising Platform, by using their segmentation tools (see images below).

We can understand Cristina Costantini’s point because even though we said that we were using Facebook segmentation tools, the English translation of our Spanish – language article did also say, “we were able to identify the number of users of the social network by country”. The original article in Spanish actually says “we were able to find the number of users the social network identifies in each country”.  Apparently this got lost in translation and for that we are sorry.

But still, the close to 9 million figure remains accurate: Facebook only identifies that many US Hispanic users. Why is this important? Because you can only do directly segmentated Facebook Ads campaigns with the figures Facebook provides (which is the main topic of our original article).

So, how many US Hispanics are actually on Facebook?

To be fair with Zuckerberg’s company, segmentating US Hispanics is not an easy job. With any other country or region, the easiest way is cross-referencing geolocalization with the place of residence that users provide; but separating US Hispanics can’t be done with geographical information, they live in the same place as all other Americans.

Another approach is by tracking areas of interest that would only appeal to US Hispanics, but the numbers are much lower when compared to the close to 9 million reach Facebook gives us when we choose by ethnic category: Hispanic (US). Let’s see some of the higher numbers we were able to get by doing this:

Number of people by interest that appeal to US Hispanics

Interest Number
Latino 992’420
Univision 496’960
Telemundo 495’320
Selección Mexicana de Futbol* 210’900
Our Lady of Guadalupe (see images) 165’120

*This is the only Latin-American national soccer team with more than 20 thousand fans identified by Facebook in the USA


The other way of knowing how many US Hispanics are in Facebook is by looking at different studies done by prestigious research companies like PEW or comScore, though it must be noted: regardless of how many US Hispanics these studies can identify as Facebook users, without Facebook identifying them too, it is impossible to deliver ad campaigns directly to them (at least by using Facebook Ads). 

Back of the envelope calculations get a larger FB Hispanic Audience

According to the latest census by PEW Hispanic Center, there are 50.5 million U.S. Hispanics (16% of US population). In September 2010 they polled 1375 Latinos  and found 61% use the Internet, at least occasionally. That means there are t least 30.5 million US Hispanics online.

And how many of them have Facebook?  According to comScore Media Metrix US from September 2010, Facebook has a 64.5% reach among US Hispanics. If those figures have remained the same, there should be around 19.6 million US Hispanic Facebook users today. But there may be more, comScore Media Metrix US from December 2011 tell us that Facebook reaches 82.9% of the total U.S. Internet population; if this percentage remains consistent in the Latin demographic, we would be looking at a 25.2 million figure (50% of total US Hispanic population), almost 3 times more of what Facebook has identified.