Here’s why a digital marketing strategy can’t ignore the growing Hispanic population

When it comes to marketing and advertising, budgets have been shifting toward digital platforms at the expense of traditional media outlets for many years now.
Whether targeting consumers through mobile devices, social media, paid search or other means, the Internet’s projected share of U.S. ad spending in 2018 is about 38 percent, according to AdAge.
In fact, U.S. internet ad spending passed TV in 2017, making internet the biggest ad medium, according to a report fromad agency Zenith. It forecasts media ad spending to grow 3.3 percent to $204 billion in 2018.
At the same time, One out of every two people added to the U.S. population in the last several years was Hispanic, and Hispanics account for more than $1.5 billion in purchasing power. The growth of the Hispanic population is still growing faster than other segments, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Yet, there is still little evidence of the convergence between the increasing allocation of marketing dollars toward tapping into this growing and lucrative population.
Companies shifting advertising budgets toward digital marketing are wise to seek ways to ensure these two trends align.
Let’s begin with the fact that Hispanics are the most active group on social media, according to Pew.
About 72 percent of Hispanic have used at least one social media site, a rate higher than that of whites and blacks, which are at 68 and 69 percent, respectively.
Hispanics in the U.S. historically have less access to the Internet than other groups, according to eMarketer. But they were early adopters of smartphones; 67.1 percent of Hispanics were smartphone users in 2017, about the same as the U.S. population at large. About 23 percent of the Hispanic population in the U.S. use smartphones as their sole home broadband source versus 15 percent of blacks and 9 percent of whites, eMarketer said.
Nielsen published a new report in 2017 about Latin women and digital media, which said keeping in touch with family and friends, plus seeking and/or offering product advice to peers is very important to Latinas. In order to stay connected, their mobile devices are invariably in tow. Smartphones are the mobile device of choice for Hispanic women. Eighty-eight percent of Latinas say they own a smartphone, and they are 15% more likely than non-Hispanic white women to own such a device, according to the report titled Latina 2.0.
Over 65 percent of Hispanic adults are living in homes with no landline phone, compared to white and black adults, both of which were just over 50 percent.
Age might account for some of these digital trends — in Florida, for example, the average age for Hispanics is 34; it’s 49 for non-Hispanics — but it’s not the only reason.
How then can companies, especially those with smaller budgets, effectively target Hispanic consumers via digital advertising?
Here are some recommendations:
• Social Media — While Instagram has a higher percentage of Hispanics, look to Facebook as a primary social media platform. Facebook allows for targeting via specific demographical profiles and in Spanish, if that’s the preference, and great tracking.
• Pay Per Click — Bidding wars for ownership of specific keywords are not apparent in Spanish. Spanish keywords are available at a fraction of the cost of English keywords and with minimal or no competition.
• Good Content — When it comes to connecting credibly with Hispanics, look beyond language. Whether a message should be in English or Spanish is secondary to whether the message is culturally-relevant to the Hispanic market. Messages must resonate with Hispanic consumers, which is why translations don’t work even when grammatically correct. Spanish content does help tremendously, however, in establishing credibility with Hispanics and with Spanish-language search engine optimization.
• Mobile — Ensure your website is mobile responsive and Spanish-language content, again, will support Spanish-language mobile search engine strategies.
The most important recommendation, however, is to at least take the first step. Make 2018 the year you take Hispanic marketing off the back burner and begin a program.

Wilson Camelo is president and chief marketing officer of Camelo Communication, a marketing agency specializing in helping brands to connect with Hispanic and multicultural markets.