Hispanic Mobile Marketing: Where the Rubber hits the Road

Mobile media phones, smartphones and tablets—currently get 30% of media time in the U.S. The paradox is that less than 1% of advertising market share is spent on it. This ratio is bound to change drastically over the coming years, particularly in the Hispanic market. (This is the first of a series of 4 articles on Hispanic Mobile Marketing published in Portada’s Q4 2012 print issue).

“Mobile phone usage between Latinos has grown exponentially faster than for the general population. 19% of Hispanic adults reside in a home that has at least one or more smartphones, such as a Blackberry or iPhone,” says Serena Ehrlich, director of marketing at Mogreet, a firm that manages an open platform that helps its clients engage with their customers by delivering videos, pictures, audio and text to mobile devices. According to Ehrlich, “the most recent research on mobile adoption and consumption within the Hispanic market in the United States supports the premise that companies need to increase their efforts in reaching this demographic on the tool they use the most, their mobile phone.”

Mobile Marketing
Mobile Marketing

Jorge Rincon, CEO at Mobile Ad Network Redmas, says, “According to our surveys, 30% of Hispanics say that they can’t live without their beloved devices, and brands trying to engage with the Hispanic consumer should be aware of this.” Jose Manuel Montenegro, Media Director at The Vidal Partnership, where he buys media and does media planning for brands including Remy Martin, Heineken and Johnson & Johnson’s Zyrtec, says that “As Hispanics continue to rely heavily on mobile devices to stay connected, we always seek to incorporate mobile into the media mix when appropriate.”

Further adoption of mobile video and shopper marketing technology will be a key source of growth for mobile advertising.

“Mobile is where the rubber hits the road,” says Esteban Blanco, Executive Director of Interactive at Entravision Communication, a media company that owns television and radio stations and outdoor media in several of the top Hispanic markets. “We have a direct connection to our audience since the mobile phone is the most personal device. Our mobile online traffic is growing very fast. Some in the industry forecast that PCs are dead. If the trend we observe continues, we agree that we might see a time in the near future where mobile generates more traffic than traditional computers. Today you have three different experiences of your site depending on the screen real estate and the touch capabilities of devices: Computer, Tablet, Smartphones. If you do not cover them all, our audience will leave us behind.”

Only the beginning

Yet it is only now that marketers and agencies are starting to look at the mobile opportunity in a serious way. In fact, very few of them have done Hispanic-specific mobile advertising campaigns. Mogreet’s Ehrlich concedes that while her company manages mobile messaging campaigns for several retailers including Bloomingdale’s, Brookstone, Charlotte Russe and Jack in the Box, it has not yet run an exclusive Hispanic mobile campaign. To The Vidal Partnership’s Montenegro, the reason that mobile advertising is still so low lies in the fact that mobile advertising in general (not just targeted to Hispanics) has experienced difficulty growing primarily because of a lack of clear standardized measurement. According to Montenegro, “Mobile advertising requires a unique strategic approach in every sense and it also comes with a new set of metrics that for the most part don’t resemble traditional media metrics. This is quite similar to the hurdle that online advertising still continues to experience, with recent industry discussions centering around the effectiveness of measuring online video using GRPs”(Gross Rating Points).

Mobile MarketingMontenegro expects mobile ad spend to grow significantly as accepted measurement becomes prevalent among marketers. “I also think that further adoption of mobile video and shopper marketing technology will be a key source of growth for mobile advertising,” says Montenegro. Another issue, although not very publicized, is that many (Hispanic) agencies do not yet have appropriate mobile advertising knowledge and capabilities. Some of the mobile work is done by general market agencies. For example, Publicis Groupe’s Digitas plans and buys media for Mars brands (Snickers, M&M and Twix) as well as for Sprint.

 “Mobilizing” Advertisers

Mobile marketing should not be viewed as a single independent channel but rather as a crucial piece of a multiplatform comprehensive marketing strategy. Entravision’s Blanco notes that his company “mobilizes” its advertisers’ TV and radio spots with calls to action. Our mobile audience appreciates quality offers that can save them time and money. Our advertisers enjoy immediate feedback in their broadcast campaigns.

Context and reach are the two main variables affecting the mobile advertising strategy.

With mobile we solicit an almost instant interaction with our audience that creates millions of impressions and branding opportunities for our advertisers.” Entravision’s mobile platform allows for SMS (text) and MMS (video/audio and messages longer than 160 characters) messages directly to our local and national opt-in communities database. Mogreet, which is an Entravision vendor, has a messaging platform that enables its clients a full and robust 360 interactive opportunity.

Mogreet’s Ehrlich notes, “Entravision runs numerous contests in each of their markets designed to meet a wide range of goals. Entravision keeps their subscribers engaged by sending out alerts that promote upcoming concerts, sporting events, promotions at local supermarkets, local Jiffy Lube coupons, as well as movie teasers and ticket giveaways.” RedMas’ Rincon emphasizes that from device type to location, mobile provides all that an advertiser can dream of.Regarding Hispanics, Rincon, says, “Context and reach are the two main variables affecting the mobile advertising strategy. Contextually we can know what is the particular interest of the person browsing a specific mobile site, or their country of origin if for example they are accessing a newspaper from their country and reach provides us with how many people in a particular area are exposed to the advertising.”

Other Articles from the Mobile Marketing Series:

Mobile: Changing Local Advertising Forever
Advertising – Technologies: Integrating Off-line and Digital Media
Hispanic Mobile Marketing: 6 Things you Need to Know