The Hispanic youth market might well be the Holy Grail in the Hispanic marketing space. This group is known for many things, including early adoption and tech-savvy, trend-setting, and steadfast brand loyalty. However, the youth market is a dynamic and fast changing one, demanding the freshest and most current in products and services. As MSN Latino’s Chris Emme tells Portada, “The most important thing is to have a fresh look and continuously changing content that is up to the minute and accurate.  It can take months to get a loyal audience and seconds to lose it.  We are careful to offer this audience great online content but we want to make it relevant and appealing to the US Hispanic teen consumer, not just a teen consumer.”

Passion: Music & Entertainment

Music is obviously a key passion point among Hispanic youth, and bringing them closer to their favorite artists is a clear recipe for success. According to Terra USA’s Director of Programming Andres Sepulveda, “Music and entertainment is our most popular content. Within the music area we have recently launched three initiatives that have been very popular with our users. These are :

1) En Privado is an exclusive program of Terra-produced in-studio performances and interviews with today's biggest names in music, as well as the hottest new artists. Artists come into the studio and perform 3 to 4 songs, give a short interview, answer member questions and capture the excitement on all the behind the scenes.  The first one of these series was produced with the legendary Puerto Rican singer Ednita Nazario. 

2) Terra Live – Terra exclusively offered access to the complete video of Ricky Martin's Black and White Tour.

3) Terra – "Arde el Cielo con Mana" an exclusive partnership between Terra and Warner music for the release of the CD. It included an in depth artist experience for Terra users including photo galleries, contests and a live event.  

Terra is present in 18 countries, including the United States, and has approximately 58 million unique visitors per month; 8 million unique users per month use Terra TV (, with an average of 55 million streaming. In June, Terra launched its first video community—— in the U.S. The site can be fully integrated with the environment of social networks, such as Orkut, Facebook, MySpace, and others, serving to complement users’ current social networks instead of replacing them.

MSN Latino also targets Latin youth through music with its Zune channel. Chris Emme notes, “Our Zune Musica channel is popular b/c it is cutting edge relevant music content for the US Hispanic youth audience.” Emme says the channel was an immediate success following its launch earlier this summer, clocking double-digit growth each month since April. “P&G has been active in targeting this section with fem care products and cellular companies are associating themselves with Music and musica downloads and ringtones,” says Emme. 

AOL Latino’s Director Miguel Ferrer tells Portada that music, community/chats, fashion, horoscopes, celebrity news & gossip are all hot topics among his site’s users. “These areas have shown remarkable growth over the last year, year-and-a-half. We’ve seen an increased interest in the Hispanic youth market from advertisers with gaming and mobile communications products, recently. Our expectation is that online marketing initiatives targeting Hispanic youth will continue to increase into 2009 as these consumers outspend their general market counterparts across many technology product categories.” 


Sports programming is another ripe venue through which to reach Hispanic youth. Label Networks, a youth culture intelligence media company that delivers insider information, including original primary data and trending reports, to clients such as Apple Computer, Sunkist, Verizon Wireless, Motorola and Adidas,  recently reported in its 2007 Hispanic Youth Culture Study that 92.3% of 13-24 year-old Hispanics watch Sports.

Seeking to tap this passion, Televisa Publishing recently unveiled  a deal that it inked with Microsoft, giving it access to the company’s “Silverlight” platform, a system which outfits sports arenas with over 160 cameras, allowing consumers to not only watch events on television, but also online, controlling which cameras to experience the given event from. Jacques Hart, commercial director of Televisa Publishing, recently discussed the deal, saying, “We missed the Olympics, but are now looking at World Cup and making this available to Spanish-speakers throughout the world.”

Social Networks Remain Hot…

As in recent years past, and possibly more so, social networks continue to be a prime venue for Hispanic and Latin American youth to convene, and therefore a great place for brands to connect with their Hispanic youth target.

“Social networking is not a fashion. It’s a whole new communication medium,” says Victor Kong, vp and managing director, Latin America and US Hispanics, MySpace/Fox Interactive.  

A recent study conducted by Myspace revealed that, after the cell phone, the most common communication medium for youth aged 15-24 was not through email, but through a social network. Mr Kong attributes this to the relative ease of communicating to a large group of friends through a social network: “If someone is going to have a party, it’s much easier to write one message and click ‘Send to all friends’ than to write or call each one individually.”

Right now, the bulk of MySpace Latin America’s user base—approximately 72%— is aged 15-24. The 60 million MySpace users in Latin America download approximately 70,000 videos per day. “Seventy percent of all 15-34 year olds use their social networking site at all hours of the day; these users log 800 page views per month, per user. On average, they are active on their site of preference 3-4 hours a day,” says Kong. 

Why are Social Networking Sites So Popular?

According to Mr. Kong, “Numerous studies have shown that the primary reason users are online is to be part of a group, while maintaining their own individual identity. The social networking platform is ideally suited to these seemingly contradictory aims.” Other reasons cited by Latin American Myspace users was to enrich existing relationships, such as looking someone up and “friending” them after first meeting them, or keeping in touch with friends. Lastly, and of most interest to advertisers, Myspace found that a major reason that its Latin American users were suing their site was to make meaningful brand connections. Kong points to a recent instance, where the shoemaker Adidas ran a campaign on the site and within weeks, the logo that it had made available had been incorporated onto over 100,000 user webpages.

Mr. Kong asserts that the social networking phenomenon is only going to become more ubiquitous and will not be viewed as a phenomenon at all, but part of day-to-day reality for millions of youth and adults.

Pointing to comScore data that shows 150,000 new registrations per month, Argentina-based Sonico claims to be the fastest growing social network in South America. Its user base currently stands at about 17.5 -18 million. The company just received a $4.3 million cash injection from private equity backers.

Advertisers include Coca-Cola, ESPN, Unilever and Latin telecom company Movistar. Currently, about 20% of its traffic comes from Brazil, 20% from Mexico, 14% from Colombia, and 10% from Argentina.

Right now, just 4% of the site's traffic comes from the U.S. In terms of demographics, the site is evenly split between males and females. Age distribution is as follows:

*13-17: 19%
*18-25: 41%
*26-32: 18%
*33-40: 12%
*41-99: 10%

Advertising options include sponsored groups, sponsored new, sponsored skins, and sponsored greeting cards.

How to reach them…

“The biggest challenge in marketing to the Latino youth audience is that this demo is so marketing-savvy that they see a superficial sales pitch coming a mile away,” says Batanga’s Rick Maroquin. “As a result, it’s extremely important that the messaging be as authentic as possible. You need to remain original or they see through it all.” The flipside of this group’s hyper-awareness toward advertising, Marroquin says, is that they take note when brands acknowledge them and reward them when it is done in earnest. 

As a result, it seems the key to successfully reaching the youth demographic is to offer the right product in the right context. A good recent example is the recent accord made between and NaCo, a Mexican company that makes clothing with irreverent bilingual slogans, which appeal mainly 18-34 Mexican-Americans.

The companies reached an agreement to appeal to the 19 million U.S. Hispanics that are currently online, as well as Latin American users.

More than a fifth of NaCo's sales in America are made up by customers under 18, and through the deal with There, it now have a direct link to their target market. NaCo takes its name for a slang Spanish word for 'tacky', and while it is impossible to measure the true size of the Hispanic online market, a recent survey estimated that display advertising online may account for around $140 million – suggesting that the two companies are seizing on a unique marketing opportunity.

Edoardo Chavarin, NaCo's founder and chief creative officer, believes that moving into online world is the next step in product promotion: "Our customers spend a considerable amount of time on social networking sites and we believe that's virtual world is the next evolution for interacting with our customers wherever they may be."

There CEO Michael Wilson also welcomed the partnership, saying that it was a way to welcome the world's growing Spanish community: "The Hispanic population in is growing and comprises a very active segment of our community. We've seen an increase in the areas of our world that showcase this cultural influence and there are currently over 15 clubs in that cater specifically to Hispanic audiences.”                            

Key Findings of the Hispanic Youth Culture Study ’07

  • Sources for finding out about new brands and styles are greatly influenced from the Streets compared with Stores and Magazines
  • Top fashion brands crossover mainstream, authentic/older, music-inspired, and top sports and action sports-inspired apparel brands. Interesting to note is that top action-sports inspired brands tend to be higher among females than males.
  • Brand name is not as influential in terms of buying a specific brand among Hispanic youth culture compared with aspects such as Style, Comfort, and Fit
  • 40.3% believe that the USA is producing the freshest fashion trends, however this is with 56.1% of males compared with only 29.3% of females
  • 92.3% of 13-24-year-olds watch Sports—this is significantly higher than other demographics
  • Most-wanted electronic purchases indicate strong market opportunities for video gaming platforms among males; iPods among females
  • Strong sneaker culture exists among Hispanic youth culture, but it crosses borders outside of the typical shell-toe brands and across different top store preferences based on specific reasons
  • Future Concerns relate more to Success, especially among females, compared with other demographics that rank Happiness as #1

Relationships are a top Future Concern among males which is far higher than females—this is just the opposite from other demographics

Courtesy: Label Networks


Portada Staff

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