Advertising on general market newspaper websites increased 26.7 percent in the third quarter of 2005, and accounted for $2 billion, or 4 percent, of total newspaper ad revenues. In 2006, this number is expected to reach $2.5 billion, or nearly 5 percent of the total, according to the Newspaper Association of America.
How much of the increasing budgets are making their way to Hispanic newspapers online? Bill Vincent, Ad Sales Director at Diario La Estrella in Dallas-Ft. Worth, says that number will vary from market to market. “In the DFW, we anticipate that between 5-10% of newspaper online ad spending will make its way to Spanish-dominant readers. And a greater percentage will target English-dominant Hispanics.” Of all online advertising targeting Spanishdominant consumers, Vincent predicts Spanish-language newspaper websites will get about 5% of them. By 2010, Vincent hopes to see this number rise to about 13%.
According to Matias Perel, CEO of Hispanic interactive agency Latin 3, the percentage of ad budgets that go toward targeting Hispanics online also varies widely from industry to industry. “Cell phone companies will probably invest around 10% of their budgets in online advertising targeting Hispanics, travel companies will probably spend close to 15%, and products targeting Hispanic teens will also increase online spending.”
Are package deals the way to go?
At Diario La Estrella, almost all of the online sales are done in conjunction with print advertisements. Bill Vincent says that depending on the campaign, some advertisers will opt to advertise only online or only in the print edition. “For instance, a major airline purchased a banner online-only ad with us, targeting individuals wanting to travel from DFW to Mexico City. The intent was to encourage online airline ticket purchases. Running an ad online targeted those who already have a propensity for accessing information and services online,” explains Vincent.
Matias Perel says that print and online ads should be bought separately and not as part of a package. “If you don’t know the value of each placement it is very difficult to determine ROI. If ads are bought separately an advertiser like TACA (Airlines) can figure out exactly how many bookings they are getting per placement,” explains Perel. Latin 3 placed a banner ad for TACA on La Opinión.com. Although TACA does run ads in the print edition, those ads are completely different. “Print and online ads shouldn’t be identical since on and off line readers are different,” adds Perel.
Newspapers reach a very specific audience
Online Hispanic newspapers are a highly targeted medium. “La Opinión advertisers are reaching mainly Hispanics who live in Los Angeles and are Spanishdominant,” says Perel. Bill Vincent of Diario La Estrella adds that Hispanics online tend to be younger. “We are finding that the age groups under 40 access online much more than those over 40. So products and services that are of interest to them are more likely to be advertised online,” says Vincent.
Perel points out that teens aren’t big newspaper readers, whether in print or online. This narrows the segment of the Hispanic audience reached by newspapers even further. “Being a newspaper, you are automatically missing 33% of the Hispanic population,” explains Perel. Still this can be a great way for advertisers to reach a very narrow segment of the Hispanic audience.
Products and offers that work on-line
National advertisers are the big spenders when it comes to Run-of-site (ROS) banner ads, but classifieds are also a major source of online revenue for Hispanic newspapers. La Opinión relies on both. “Our ROS advertising is largely national, however, our online classified ads are almost all local advertisers. The ad revenue generated by each is about the same,” says director of La Opinión Digital, Mary Zerafa. National advertisers on Hispanic newspaper websites include Verizon Wireless, the U.S. Army, TACA, Mexicana airlines, American Express, and Ford. Bill Vincent of Diario La Estrella says newspaper websites work well for large ticket items which require quick comparisons, like cars or computers.
The advantages of newspaper websites
Newspaper websites are destinations, not portals. Mary Zerafa, Director of Ad Sales at La Opinión Digital, says this translates into more time spent on the pages of La Opinión’s site. “And that means ads are seen for longer periods of time,” says Zerafa. Because established newspapers are usually trusted sources of information with loyal readers, this also means that advertisements are viewed within this context, which is very different from search engine ads that pop up with no connection to anything but a key word. Perel says that newspapers’ role as a community resource makes them a great vehicle for targeting new and recent immigrants, both on and offline. “Financial institutions are competing to get to new immigrants first, because they know that Hispanics are very loyal,” explains Perel. “Newspapers are a great place to get these immigrants because that’s where they’ll go to find out about their community.”
Perel sees enormous opportunities for Hispanic newspapers to develop English and bilingual sites. “Forty percent of Hispanics are English-dominant. They could still be interested in news about the Hispanic community and Latin America, news written by Hispanic journalists, but might prefer to read it in English.” Blogs and relevant content targeting teens could also increase traffic and provide additional sources of ad revenue. “If you look at the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal and you see all the blog communities that are being developed around different interests, you see how much more dynamic Hispanic newspaper websites could be.”
Hispanic papers have a little more time
Vincent says that the same challenges that exist for general market papers exist, to some extent, for Hispanic papers. “Eventually, every newspaper will need to replace existing ‘ink-onpaper’ revenue streams with online revenue streams.” As readers migrate from hard copy to soft copy, Hispanic papers will need to place advertising where readers will see it—online. “Hispanic papers have not developed the web content or the ad inventory that their general market counterparts have. This is because we have fewer readers with broadband internet access,” explains Vincent.
As broadband becomes cheaper and more accessible to the public, Vincent says that Hispanic papers will need to invest in solid and up-to-date web content, and begin to replace some of their current newspaper streams with online sources.
Diario La Estrella is currently in the process of developing online packages that will make online advertising more accessible. “This will include some free online exposure to our larger advertisers,” says Vincent. “Most of these changes will target the Spanish-dominant Hispanic who doesn’t read the newspaper regularly.” Diario La Estrella is currently doing research to better understand the habits of the new market that they are trying to attract to their website, as well as the online habits of their current readers.