The arrival of Hispanic Heritage Month this fall is an invitation for the US media industry to examine why Hispanic consumers are routinely underserved by content and advertising solutions – and what can be done to reverse the trend.
Latino Americans comprise 18% of the population, according to the latest US Census; a vast, multiracial and influential demographic that has grown at five times the rate of the non-Hispanic population in recent years.
Wielding enormous political and consumer clout, the annual spending power of US Hispanics is predicted to soon exceed $2.5 trillion, in a market that is defined largely by young, ambitious, digitally savvy consumers (over 60% of US Hispanics are aged under 36).
Yet, as the Hispanic Marketing Council reports, Hispanic communities make up just 6% of overall US ad spend – a woeful statistic that mirrors the “invisibility” and misrepresentations of Latinos in wider media culture.
With diversity, equity and inclusion values becoming hardwired into corporate decision-making, however, agencies and publishers across the digital landscape are ramping up efforts to engage with minority groups – including a growing linchpin of Latino voices.
With the booming Hispanic population fast reshaping America’s economic contours, here’s how media players on both sides of the ecosystem can further bridge the gap.
Storytelling at Scale
With video content firmly on the front line of audience engagement efforts for 2022, the realities of producing good-quality inventory is nonetheless challenging for publishers battling a trinity of tight budgets, limited resources and spiraling costs.
Typically, media companies in high Latino population states such as California, Florida and Texas are focusing closely on Hispanic audiences, with raw storytelling materials (news, images, text) available to connect. Yet, they lack the ability to translate these resources into a scalable video strategy.
That’s where the help of a specialized partner such as ShowHeroes comes in, with the mainstay of an in-house studio to deliver premium content that is closely scoped to the demands of ethnically and culturally diverse communities.
For publishers, joining forces with a third-party service is a great way of leveraging the kind of long-form original video storytelling on which powerful engagement rests; particularly when that content is customized precisely to the needs of a particular audience.
Because the reality is, America’s Hispanic population is no monolith. Instead “US Hispanic” is a catch-all term for a huge, multidimensional canvas of people, led by those of Mexican origin but encompassing many other groups, including fast-growing populations from Venezuela, Guatemala and Honduras. Different states and areas of the country are home to different kinds of Hispanic influences, too – each with their own linguistic and cultural nuances.
Added to which are various “unheard” demographics, such as the five million US adults who identify as Afro-Latino. Angel Jones, an Afro-Latina assistant professor at Southern Illinois University, tells Insider that people like her, as well as indigenous Latinos, are “left out” of Hispanic heritage month advertising and celebrations. “Our identities are not valued or even considered,” she says. Curated content may be one small step toward changing this kind of damaging oversight.
The drive for tailored content
A good partner can help publishers’ to augment their diversity strategies with bite-sized videos around heritage education or the history of Hispanic independence, for example. But that is just the starting point. The real beauty of building inclusive video content from scratch comes from its ability to speak the many different cultural inflections of a particular community; be that Florida-based Puerto Rican women or Dominican teenagers of New York.
This then creates a filter-down effect of great, dynamic video inventory for advertisers to choose from. It’s all too easy in media narratives to reduce a large, multi-identity group into a single mold. But with tailored video storytelling, marketers can engage directly with specific communities via quality content.
In a similar vein, ShowHeroes can use its sophisticated technology to understand the cultural semantics and sentiment of video content in detail. This allows brands to place ads alongside highly compatible content across verticals such as soccer, cooking, family life, music and more. Using advanced semantic targeting – a privacy compliant approach fit for the cookieless future – marketers can tailor their campaigns to reach particular audience segments across the Hispanic community; closing the circle to better monetize original content.
Incisive Solutions in a Multifaceted Age
This razor-sharp level of customization applies to formatting, too. Latinos use social media, mobile apps and other digital platforms at higher rates than the general US population, including a weekly average of 279 minutes on social media. Marketers looking to target this demographic, particularly with younger age groups, should be looking to utilize snackable, mobile-friendly pieces of video content.
By 2026, 27% of American under-30s will be Hispanic, with Latinos accounting for nearly 70% of US population growth. This new generation nevertheless faces “an epidemic of invisibility” in film and other areas of popular culture, along with systemic discrimination (62% of Hispanic adults say having a darker skin color hurts their ability to get ahead in the United States).
Media leaders, however, can do their part to course-correct. By creating original content that resonates with different Hispanic communities, we can tap into a powerful and lucrative audience segment – as well as advancing the vision of a fairer future for all.
Read our recent interview with Ilan Zenghin, CEO of Showheroes Group.