Hispanic Publishers give Advertisers more Internet Marketing Solutions

Publishers targeting Spanish-speaking audiences are increasingly using e-mail newsletters to reach readers online and provide advertisers an interactive media vehicle. Laopinión.com puts out several daily e-mail newsletters including Headlines (Titulares), Sports (Deportes) and Entertainment (Espectaculos), as well as weekly newsletters including Business (Negocios) and La Vibra (Weekend Entertainment Guide).

Mary Zerafa vice president of marketing and media at La Opinión who handles on-line advertising for all of Impremedia papers, says that while La Raza and El Diario currently do not offer this service, both have plans to offer it shortly. Zerafa says the papers are careful not to send readers anything they don’t want. “Our users must choose, or ‘opt in’, to receive these newsletters.

Furthermore, we do not send them emails from our advertisers unless they have ‘opted in’ to receive them. As a result, our advertisers receive high response from these vehicles.”

Greg Diaz, advertising director at Hispanic Digital Network (HDN) says that by next year most of HDN’s publishers will be creating their own e-mail newsletters, which will provide short summaries of existing published articles, as well as links to the publisher’s local classifieds and business listings online. “Advertisers will be able to sponsor the newsletter with a ‘surround  session’ that involves 3 different ad units that appear around the newsletter’s perimeter,” explains Diaz. HDN also plans to create a national html-based newsletter with the
top headlines making news across HDN’s roster of publishers.

Cathy Areu at Catalina Magazine uses internet and e-mail to promote the magazine and special events, but doesn’t sell ads for Catalina’s monthly newsletter, e-vites or website. “Our advertisers’ logos will appear on our website and on e-vites and I mention their names in our newsletter, but these are just value added. They don’t pay for any on-line advertising,” says Areu. She describes Catalina’s approach as more old-fashioned and seamless, and feels that as a consumer it is more effective than banner and pop-up ads. “Who likes pop-up ads that you can’t get rid of and that follow you around the screen driving you crazy.”

According to Geoffrey Gonzalez president of Ahorre Marketing, e-mail marketing has several advantages. “It’s cheap, it’s measurable and it’s the only channel that allows you to create a dialogue with the consumer.” Gonzalez says that he can put together an e-mail campaign for $15 per 1,000 CPMs that will reach 5.7 million consumers, which is inexpensive compared to most direct mail campaigns. But even with what he views as clear advantages, e-mail marketing is underutilized as a promotional tool. “The bulk of Spanish e-mail marketing is coming from Univision. Because of the market share they control, they get those dollars allocated to them. But it’s really not that expensive,” explains Gonzalez, who says most publishers are mostly doing advertiser sponsored newsletters. “The possibilities are endless, but publishers have been slow to really take advantage of them.”

High Growth
A recent eMarketer report found that advertising on general market newspaper websites is growing fast. According to the report, on-line advertising on major newspaper websites increased 38% last year and is expected to increase by that much or more this year. Ezra Palmer, researcher at eMarketer and the study’s author, says ad revenues for Spanish-language newspaper websites should mirror that growth. And according to many Hispanic publihers, that’s exactly what’s happening. Greg Diaz of Hispanic Digital Network (HDN), an Internet advertising network of 50 U.S. Hispanic newspaper and magazine publication websites across the country, says their online publications experienced double digit revenue growth from 2003-2004 and triple digit revenue growth between 2004 and 2005.

Still, as is typically the case with the Hispanic market, growth is slower than most would like or expect based on the numbers of Hispanics online and the purchasing power they represent.
Manuel Garcia, director of new business development at Lapiz Integrated Hispanic Marketing which was chosen to work with the IAB (Interactive Marketing Bureau), a campaign developed by MSN, AOL,Yahoo, Terra Networks and Univision to raise the profile of Internet media
for reaching Hispanics, estimates that online advertising currently comprises about 5% of most companies’ Hispanic budgets. However, Garcia believes this will change as companies become more educated and aware of the myriad of possibilities available to them when it comes to internet marketing. “We are trying to communicate to both the advertisers and agencies. We want to show them examples of companies that have gotten solid business results with on-line advertising.

Online-Advertisers local and national
According to Carlos Pelay, president of Media Economics Group, there is currently very little national advertising activity on Hispanic newspaper sites. “Most of the national activity
is on the larger portals like Univision.com.” Pelay says most of the advertisers on the newspaper sites are local retail (auto dealers, furniture stores), rather than national advertisers
like automotive and financial.

Greg Diaz, advertising director at HDN, sees it differently. “Service oriented industries such as telecom, automotive and financial advertisers are more likely to advertise online at Hispanic newspaper websites. These companies are increasing their direct marketing budgets because they want to provide their Hispanic customers more information about services or products available only at local retail stores, dealerships and branches.” Diaz says advertisers that are more likely to advertise online only, as opposed to print, are rooted more in national,
brand awareness efforts. Technology, health care and pharmaceutical industries
can advertise a service or product offering that doesn’t require a Hispanic
to physically visit a location.

La Opinión’s Zerafa says their Spanish-language newspaper websites reach throughout the nation. “As we network our sites together, with common ad sizes and ad serving services,
we’re providing marketers the opportunity to achieve an even greater national reach.”

Classifieds still integral online
Hispanic newspaper publishers say that classifieds are just as important online as they are in print. HDN’s Greg Diaz says classifieds are an integral part of their mission to connect
Hispanic consumers with Hispanic advertisers primarily on a local level. “Print classified advertising is a major revenue stream for local Hispanic newspapers, so all HDN publishers are equipped with the technological means to transfer classified advertisers online.”
Still Diaz says that many HDN publishers are not doing this. “We are trying to help all members formulate a longterm classified sales strategy that involves hybrid offerings (print/online). So
far, HDN publishers that have increased their classified ad rates to include online components are experiencing very positive responses.” Impremedia’s  Zerafa adds that newspapers have a built in advantage with online classifieds. “Similar to our print publications, classifieds are mportant not only as a source of revenue but also in terms of usage. Our classified sections are popular regardless of platform.”

Revenues difficult to measure
According to HDN’s Greg Diaz, it’s very difficult to provide a specific number or percentage of the market volume of ad sales on Hispanic newspaper websites because the online ad landscape changes constantly. Diaz also points out that many publications are value-adding their website offerings in order to sell more print ads, so the amount of on-line advertising can be misleading.

Even with all the growth being experienced by Spanish-language newspaper websites, Geoffrey Gonzalez of Ahorre Marketing says there is still a lack of Spanish-language content online. “When a user goes on-line and types in a Spanish word they’re likely to be connected to a site in Spain or some other Spanish-speaking country. So there’s not enough good material being created in Spanish for U.S. Hispanics.” Gonzalez sees this as one of the main reasons why advertisers aren’t spending more on the medium.

Carrie Barnes