Reaching Hispanics Online
• Expertos or experts. These consumers are online savvy and prefer English-language sites that still address their culture in a relevant way. This group accounts for about 60 percent to 70 percent of online Hispanics.
• Novatos or novices. Hispanics in this segment are likely to have been online for less than two years, he explains, and probably were born outside the United States. They are comparable in online activity and comfort levels to the general market five to six years ago, so it’s important to build trust with this segment.
Looking at this segmentation, he continues, “the upside is that most Hispanics online prefer English or bilingual sites.” The challenge and opportunity, however, is the identification of these consumers so their experiences can be optimized. Vann notes that behavioral targeting is gaining traction, wherein online users’ activity, say visiting People en Espanol and CNN’s Spanish-language site, is tracked to determine if they might prefer Spanish-language or bilingual banner ads and search results.
Another factor to consider is the perception among Hispanics that the English-language site is going to be better than the Spanish-language version. “And oftentimes, it is,” says Vann.
This inequality is one of the biggest turn-offs for Hispanics. William Fleming, CEO, MotionPoint, a provider of Web site translation technology and services in Coconut Creek, Fla., says that Hispanics often flip back and forth between a company’s English-language and Spanish-language Web sites. “If they see three paragraphs of product description on the English-language site, they expect to see three paragraphs on the Spanish version,” he explains. If they only see one paragraph, they know they’re getting less detailed information, which leaves them frustrated and feeling disrespected.
The same principle applies to how many pages of a site are offered in Spanish. “If you have just one Spanish-language page on your site, what message are you sending to Hispanics about your commitment to serve them?” asks Laura Sonderup, director of Hispanidad, a Denver-based Hispanic marketing agency. Even if your visitors are likely to consider themselves bilingual, she says, they still might not be so proficient if they are looking at, say, jargon-heavy financial service information; they might prefer to switch to a Spanish version of the content to feel more comfortable.