ICrossing’s,Head of Live Media Studio, Tarah Feinberg shares his experience and views on the Latin American Social Networking space, the most social region in the world.
Latin America is a quickly expanding digital market with audiences that have a large appetite for digital content and social behaviors. Brands are beginning to move beyond basic display advertising and direct marketing to engage their audiences with content and social programs, capitalizing on local and global trends in digital marketing.
I have traveled to Lima, Peru, to speak at and attend Seminarium and IAB’s first conference on Business in the Digital Era (“Negocios en la Era Digital” or NED) – an impressive collection of brands, agencies, and publishers sharing case studies and discussing the path forward for the region.
While researching the state of digital in Latin America and, specifically, Peru, I learned that it is largely considered the most social region in the world, and other important digital platforms are rapidly growing as well. Social networking counts for more than 30 percent of minutes spent online, and the region hosts five of the most engaged social networking markets (more here).
In Peru, specifically, portals still account for the largest amount of time spent online (mostly Google and Microsoft sites), with instant messaging and Facebook accounting for the lion’s share of the rest.
Hearing brand case studies and agencies at the event discuss their work in the region reminded me somewhat of conferences I attended in the United States several years ago, as they explored ways to bring their efforts online for the first time, how to launch an e-commerce platform, and how to engage their audiences in a more editorial fashion, beyond overt marketing messages.
However, there are some major differences that, although daunting at first, offer South American marketers opportunities to innovate and capitalize quickly:
The digital media landscape has expanded and matured – it’s not just banner ads anymore
Facebook, and social media as a whole, has reached global scale and adoption; viable advertising models are emerging
Audiences everywhere are becoming accustomed to and comfortable with the idea of brands as publishers – if it’s good, they’ll consume it
A plethora of case studies, successes and failures alike, exist from which marketers in the region can quickly learn and adapt
As I watched the presentations, shared my own thoughts with the audience on a better way to produce content for brands, and discussed individual challenges with brand executives, it became clear that, while many of the Latin American markets may be considered “emerging,” the road to scale and success will be short.
Marketers seeking success in this region should:
Gather and interpret audience data. What are the audience segments that matter to you? What do they care about? Where do they spend their time? How are they already interacting with and/or discussing brands?
Establish a social presence. Give audiences the opportunity to get to know your brand on a personal level. Show an interest in their lives and passions and drive conversation around relevant categories.
Experiment and innovate, especially with content. Victory is there to be taken. Creativity, great brand storytelling and clear communication will penetrate a relatively open marketplace, so now is the time to lead.
With strong agency leadership and audience management platforms to synthesize the massive amounts of data available, Latin America will continue to grow as a powerful market that any of the world’s major brands would be foolish to ignore.