What?: Hispavista, an online content and marketing company, is expanding in Latin America.
Why is it important?: Founded in Spain 20 years ago, the first Spanish-language online search engine, Hispavista, has taken advantage of Latin America’s growing digital market.
The Elósegui brothers, from the Basque region of Spain, founded Hispavista with the objective to become the first Spanish-language online search platform. By the time they celebrated their 10th anniversary they had already created eight new products such as Labolsa.com, a finance portal; Galeon, a free online hosting service; Hispavista Empresas, their consulting and web-development division; and Tu.tv, an online video site through which users can upload their own content to share. The brothers were constantly looking for opportunities to launch new online products.
But they soon discovered that Latin América was, for the most part, a completely untapped market, and decided to explore opportunities there. “Today it is easy to go for Latin America, but we started this more than eight years ago,” says Álvaro Frechilla, business development manager at Hispavista México.
“Entering the Latin American market was a very good bet, and it has been a great choice because of the low rate of digital development in Spain.”
Before Hispavista entered LatAm with a physical office, it was already seeing high traffic on its web sites in the region, which was encouraging. Even so, opening operations in a new region always comes with new challenges, especially when dealing with quite a peculiar market. Even though almost all countries in the region speak Spanish, each country has its own peculiarities.
“The biggest challenge has been the fact that it is impossible to talk about a homogenous online market in Latin America. It is conformed of as many realities as there are countries,” confesses Frechilla. In Mexico, for example, Hispavista has experienced a very open and dynamic online advertising market, when it comes to taking risks and choosing new paths.
“Mexico is a bit behind of the United States, but quite ahead of other Latin American countries when it comes to digital.”
To attract new clients, Hispavista has impressed Latin American clients with its different web sites. “Having our own sites for 20 years gives us a very deep knowledge of what the Internet is ‘from the inside.’”
One of Hispavista’s main products in Latin America and its global core business, online video platform Tu.tv, hosts a variety of videos with content focused on the 18-35 year-old age range. Today the site has 12 million unique users and 150 million site views every month. 80% of these are Latin American users. Still, as Ferchilla admits, it is not easy to convince agencies’ planners that Tu.tv platform can help them reach audiences that they cannot reach through YouTube or any other available portal.
Labolsa.com also shows successful numbers, it has 500 thousand unique users and eight million page views every month. And their job listings platform, Trabajos.com, its other main product in Latin America, has 45 thousand new job offers, 90 thousand companies as users and more than six million candidates; 30% of which comes from Latin American users.
“Luckily, our traffic data and our format’s flexibility has created opportunities that we have known how to take advantage of.”
Still Hispavista’s most relevant clients keep being medium-sized digital agencies and big media buyers. Some of the clients the company has worked with are PayPal, Colgate, Toyota, Universal Pictures, and Aeromexico.
Today, Hispavista has offices in Spain, Miami, Mexico, Chile, and Colombia. Although it isn’t planning on expanding to any other country in Latin America, it will release at least one new online service site this year (what it is about is still a secret). “It will have some synergies with the sites we already have, but with a totally new business orientation,” says Frechilla.
2016 will be a year of growth. Hispavista’s current products will keep forming an important part of its business, but its main growth will come from helping agencies with programmatic purchases, and other internet-related strategies, not directly related to from advertising.
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