The release of the 2010 Census has re-ignited the debate about which language is best for reaching U.S. Hispanics. With U.S. born Hispanics now outnumbering foreign born Hispanics, the voices of proponents of using English are growing louder. Where do I stand in this debate? Well, it’s quite simple: Figure out the language preference of your target audience and use that language, be it English or Spanish.
When it comes to the Hispanic online market, most studies indicate that half of the 31 million Hispanics online prefer English while the other half prefers Spanish or are bilingual. Using common sense and some quantitative data from comScore, I came up with five reasons for using Spanish to reach online Hispanics.
1. Strong Market Dynamics While the U.S. online market has reached maturity, Spanish preferring and bilingual Hispanics are driving the growth in the U.S. Hispanic online market. New Internet users represent an attractive target for marketers looking to make a good first impression. Take a look:
Growth by segment April 2010 – April 2011
- U.S. Online Market: (1.13%)
- U.S. Hispanic Online Market: 12.78%
- U.S. Hispanic Online Market (English): 10.20%
- U.S. Hispanic Online Market (Bilingual): 13.42%
- U.S. Hispanic Online Market (Spanish): 19.23%
2. Less Competition Today there are relatively few marketers proactively targeting the 14.6 million online Hispanics that prefer Spanish or are bilingual. Less competition means not only lower advertising costs on platforms such as Google and Facebook, but also higher engagement with a consumer that is not as bombarded by online advertising.
3. Favorable Demographics When compared to English preferring online Hispanics, Hispanics who prefer Spanish or are bilingual fall into a sweet spot for marketers looking to reach consumers who are young, make more money and have a family:
Online Hispanics Less Than 34 Years Old
- English preferring: 55%
- Spanish preferring & Bilingual: 65%
Online Hispanics Who Earn More Than $40,000
- English preferring: 57%
- Spanish preferring & Bilingual: 59%
Online Hispanics Who Have Children
- English preferring: 60%
- Spanish preferring & Bilingual: 66%
4. Low Expectations As I theorized in a previous post, most Hispanics expect Spanish-language online experiences to be poor. Marketers who provide high quality Spanish language online experiences will exceed expectations and make a favorable impression on this segment.
5. Using English is More Challenging Targeting English preferring Hispanics online is more difficult and expensive than targeting Spanish speaking online Hispanics. In addition, marketers already investing in general market online campaigns are likely reaching English preferring online Hispanics.
At the end of the day, marketers looking to reach all online Hispanics need to use both English and Spanish. But if you had to choose between the two, I would start with Spanish. It just makes sense.
SOURCE Lee Vann/MediaPost