Will 2010 finally be the Year of Hispanic Mobile Advertising?

Hispanic mobile advertising has been a sector with large growth potential for a relatively long time. The economic and financial crisis started last year put a damper on both the advertiser demand and also on the financing of some new start ups in the Hispanic mobile sector. Is 2010 going to be the year where the sector finally will take off?

According to a recent report by researcher Borrell Associates, ad spending on mobile finally broke through the $1 billion barrier in 2009 and could break the $2 billion barrier in 2010. We at Portada think that these estimates are on the “higher side”. They equal 0.75% of overall US advertising expenditures. Extrapolating that ratio to the Hispanic market, we get a total of $30 million to $35 million of mobile advertising targeting Hispanics. A relatively small market, but the rationale for growth is even higher in the Hispanic market than in the general market, because Hispanics over index in the use of both Smart phones and mobile phones in general.

Riza Soares, Terra Latin America and U.S. Ad Network Director, thinks that the growth of the market is a question of time. Terra owned online ad-network EZ-Target recently launched an online mobile platform. “The increase of Smartphone offers in addition to the growth of the 3G coverage and the frequent launches of flat-rate plans will certainly improve the prospects of mobile advertising. There are simultaneous movements influencing the rise in the audience and the content offerings on mobile.


One of the main drawbacks of mobile advertising has been that there are too many platforms, too many browsers, and too many markup languages to make mobile marketing easily scalable. From an advertiser's point of view, this is a production nightmare. However, smart phone adoption is driving mobile search and in addition, the Smart phone offers a better mobile Internet experience than other devices and interfaces. It is friendlier and makes it possible for the brands to obtain more relevance in their marketing initiatives including reaching new consumers for their products.”

EZ Target focus is on off deck mobile advertising for the reasons mentioned above. “Manufactures like Dell just announced their Smart phone model. We can see a huge number of new devices in the market and this will warm up the competitiveness helping “the prices to fall down and accelerating the audience growth on the mobile internet”, EZ-Targets Soares adds.

According to Soares “advertisers from automotive, food and financial industries are the early adopters of this new trend. “For instance, we have already seen brands such as Citroen, Unilever and Itaú {the Brazilian Bank that purchased the Brazilian subsidiaries of Citibank and the Boston Bank in Brazil} using mobile advertising. In fact we believe that all advertiser categories fit well in this new world once the audience tends to be diversified and ample.”

Clients that are trying it out

Retailer 7 – Eleven is trying out a mobile campaign this month. Approximately 200 7-Eleven convenience stores in San Diego are testing a mobile marketing campaign through Dec. 31, 2009, where consumers can send a text message to receive free beverages, the company reported last week.
During the test, residents can send a text with the word "FAST" or "RAPIDO" ("fast" in Spanish) to "72579." Then they will receive a message for a free beverage offer at 7-Eleven stores. The promotion is limited to one free beverage per day, at participating 7-Eleven stores.

Department store retailer JCPenney also piloted a new mobile coupon program at select stores in the Houston, Texas area that allows customers to download and carry coupons on their mobile phones that can be scanned directly from the phone’s display screen at the register."

Recent campaigns that have used mobile to reach U.S. Hispanics include HBO PPV, for example, used HipCricket’s Hispanic Mobile Marketing Network to promote the Mayweather-Marquez fight and generate opt-ins for its mobile VIP club. Consumers were asked to text “PELEA” (FIGHT) for a chance to win a signed boxing glove. They received an SMS message inviting them to join the club – an offer on which 12.9% clicked. Of those, nearly 70% opted in.

A similar Rite Aid campaign, which provided coupons when consumers texted “MARCA” (BRAND), garnered a 7.6% clickthrough rate. Other brands running recent Hispanic-targeted campaigns using HipCricket include Harley-Davidson, Arby’s, and Cheetos.

A story is first a SMS alert

Hispanic media properties are also changing their offerings to channel content to mobile phones. John Paton, impreMedia CEO said at a recent industry conference, that at impreMedia, each story of merit is first an SMS alert. “We can send those alerts across our national network or geo-target them to our subscribers. We went from zero a year ago to 1.2 million mobile impressions last month.” “That is 1.2 million tiny printed pages we didn’t have to print, each with its own small story and ad”. Advertisers can opt to use the mobile as a vehicle for their messages. On one hand, display advertising shows in the mobile news/commentary page. On the other hand, they can also send offers to their subscribers via text messages. CPMs (cost per thousand) for these messages can be $30 and higher. Response rates to these advertiser offers can also be particularly high.

Another company betting strongly on mobile is Yahoo, which is making its Spanish-language counterpart, Mobile en Espanol, available on more than 1,900 mobile device models.

The Spanish-language mobile homepage is customized for the specific needs of the U.S. Hispanic consumer, delivering what Yahoo says is a highly engaging mobile internet experience. The site allows users to bring together their favorite content and services from across the internet to create a personally relevant mobile experience, Yahoo says It offers mobile search, Spanish U.S. and global news, email and social networking connections, sports, local information, RSS feeds, weather, stocks and horoscopes. It also offers advertisers a variety of mobile advertising opportunities and advertising formats.