Reaching Hispanics Online
With 14 percent of the U.S. adult population being Latino and about half of this group going online, your company very well could have a Hispanic following without actively seeking it out. According to a study, “Conexion Cultural/Connected Culture,” released in March by Yahoo! Telemundo and Experian Simmons Research, Spanish-dominant survey participants reported they consume two-thirds of their online content in English due to a lack of Spanish-language alternatives.
In a March report, “Latinos Online,” researchers from the Pew Hispanic Center and Pew Internet Project noted that just one in three Latinos who speaks only Spanish goes online; that rate is three times higher for English-dominant or bilingual Hispanics. And given that broadband usage penetration rates for both Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites are similar, say the Pew researchers, language clearly emerges as a major factor affecting online adoption rates.
Nonetheless, the online Hispanic audience is growing; Jupiter reports a nearly 100 percent increase over the past six years, suggesting that the rate would be higher if Spanish-dominant consumers were better served online. The Yahoo! Telemundo/Experian Simmons Research study seems to further support this theory: The Hispanic population in the United States grew 21 percent from 2000 to 2005, and the percentage of Hispanics who are Spanish-dominant has kept pace.
To cap off this discussion, consider that while only a small percentage of online Hispanics are Spanish-dominant, this segment still equals about 4 million people, says Lee Vann, founder of Captura Group, an online marketing agency based in San Diego that specializes in reaching Hispanic audiences.
English, Spanish or Both?
The main dilemma marketers face when pondering how to best serve Hispanic traffic to their Web sites is whether to develop content in Spanish. Since this is a question of targeting, Vann reminds marketers that there are two segments of online Hispanics: