Marketers: A Demo Awaits You

No group loves mobile or social media more than Hispanics—so where are the brands?

You’d think marketers nationwide would clamor to connect with the Hispanic digital audience. Studies continue to show they not only lead the population in embracing mobile technology, but they overindex in social media engagement as well. Just last month, for instance, a survey from BIGinsight found that Hispanics, whether on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or other major social networks, logged in more frequently than other groups. 

But marketing experts say advertisers aren’t keeping up.

“On the whole, [they’re] not there yet,” said Charlie Echeverry, evp of sales for Univision Interactive Media. Some advertisers, in categories like media, entertainment and retail, are using mobile more aggressively to reach Hispanics, but spending in mobile advertising—which increasingly overlaps with social and disproportionately reaches Hispanics—is still just a fraction of overall ad spend, he said.

Even when brands recognize the importance of reaching Hispanics with social media and mobile technology, some say, efforts are misguided.

“I think a lot of brands are myopic,” said Ken Muench, lead strategist for the multicultural practice at Draftfcb.

For example, Muench noted that the rise in digital media consumption among Hispanics has been largely driven by that demo skewing younger than the general population and the inherently social culture. But instead of campaigns that let Hispanics leverage their affinity for expressing their multifaceted culture, he said, many brands just opt for the “2002 approach” of putting up a Spanish-language website.

If brands weren’t so nervous about the less controlled nature of social media, and so cautious about the less familiar Hispanic consumer, he continued, they’d realize Spanish-language content is just one way to reach this demo.

Recognizing the need to brings brands and Hispanics together, this week’s South by Southwest Interactive confab is hosting its first Latino event, during which awards will be given to Hispanic digerati facilitating social change.

“[The trend] is to speak to the bicultural, dual-world individual…whose perspective on life is much more diverse,” said Sebastian Puente, CEO of marketing and communications firm Cultural Strategies, a driving force behind the event. “This is an opportunity for some of the brands present to see this market and see its viability.”

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