The Internet has become the main information source for Hispanics in making their purchasing decisions and, in general, they access the Web through smartphones (Hispanic Smartphone Users Love Weather and Map Apps) just as much as through personal computers, according to data compiled by Google.
"We've discovered that the digital world is the one that influences Latinos most at the time they make buying decisions and it's something that advertisers should take more into account," Mark Lopez, head of Google's new U.S. Hispanic unit, told Efe on Thursday.
As part of its strategy to take better advantage of the Hispanic world's rising use of the Internet, Google on Thursday organized in New York a forum at which more than 200 vendors and influential people in the digital sector and explored culturally relevant ways to connect with that audience.
During the meeting, the firm revealed figures from a report on the use of the Internet and new technologies by Hispanics, expected within decades to make up a quarter of the U.S. population.
In an interview with Efe before the meeting, Lopez said that "we Latinos are high-velocity," since already 86 percent of those who have access to the Internet in their homes use broadband and 78 percent use the Web as their first information source.
In his opinion, this is due to the fact that the Web has become a more established medium and "you don't have to be a technician any more to know how to surf it."
Mark Lopez: "Advertising has a tremendous opportunity here"
"It's true that we Latinos have a broader family nucleus and group of friends and perhaps that's why we make more use of the social alternatives offered by the Web," Lopez said. He noted that while firms devote between 10-15 percent of their advertising budgets to the Internet, those who direct their sales to the Hispanic market only allocate 5 percent of their ad budgets to the Web.
One of the most characteristic aspects of the Hispanic community it its tendency to have smartphones, Lopez said, adding that "we Hispanics have a 32 percent greater propensity to buy one of those telephones than the rest of the population."
"Latinos are maximizing the use of what is known as mobile media," Lopez said, going on to say that advertising "has a tremendous opportunity here."
"We're adopting smartphones at a much more accelerated rate than (other people)," he said.
One of the figures in the report that could interest advertisers most is the fact that Latinos are 58 percent more likely to click on digital ads than other Americans and are "significantly more inclined" to remember Web ads, especially if they are in a video format.