Did you know that the US is the world’s second-largest Spanish-speaking country? It’s true. In fact, there are 46.3 million Hispanics in the US today, and 20 million of them use the internet. Are you targeting the Hispanic market with search? If not, perhaps it’s time you considered doing so.
Understanding the opportunity
Clearly, the US is undergoing a dramatic shift in demographics. Today, Hispanics represent the largest middle class group in the US, and over 88 percent have a household income of $50,000. Moreover, according to eMarketer, on average Hispanics spend more than 14 hours online a week. And a huge benefit for search marketers is that the cost of Spanish-language keywords is considerably lower than their English language counterparts. For instance, the average CPC for the term “credit cards” is $12.96, while the cost for the Spanish-language equivalent is just $1.96—almost 85 percent less!
Such conditions translate into a great opportunity for brands to establish a strong presence with US Hispanics. However, few marketers are capitalizing on the opportunity to target this huge demographic group with search. In fact, eMarketer indicates that the online ad investment targeting this market is only 5 percent.
Fortunately, search allows marketers to efficiently reach this market through a number of Hispanic-focused strategies. Before you jump in, however, first take the time to assess the opportunity and determine whether targeting this demographic would be beneficial to your brand. Below are a few tips that can help you do just that:
Uncover the potential market. Tools like Google Insights for search provide an easy way for marketers to gauge interest in relevant Hispanic search terms, allowing you to determine which keywords resonate best with your target audience while providing you with the locations where the interest appears to be the highest.
For example, a travel marketer could use this tool to compare the query volume for the keyword vacaciones across different time ranges. In addition, it could also help determine that the traffic for this keyword is mainly coming from California and Texas, and that alternate keywords such as vacaciones 2010 are on the rise.
Consider high Hispanic density areas. You may also want to evaluate if it makes sense for your business to target the areas of high Hispanic population density such as Florida, Texas, New Jersey, California and Arizona. In addition, you might want to pay particular attention to the regional differences of the Spanish language. For example, California is primarily Mexican, Florida is heavily Cuban and New York is predominately Puerto Rican. This means that in many instances, one phrase will not accurately reach all of these cultures.
Asses your brand among Hispanics. A good place to begin is by understanding how your brand is performing within the US Hispanic marketplace. When setting up a paid search campaign, the default language is English. This means that online users that have changed their browser settings to Spanish will not be exposed to your brand messaging. A quick and easy way to find out if your brand is currently getting traction within the Hispanic community is to use the Google Keyword Tool. Be sure to adjust the language settings to Spanish (see advanced options). Doing so will allow you to determine if there are online users searching for your brand with browsers set to Spanish. Repeat this process with non-branded keywords to determine query volume from your top English terms in Spanish browsers.
Put suspected myths to the test. As with any search initiative, testing is at the core of the success of the campaign. During my time working and testing Hispanic campaigns for numerous US brands, I have found it interesting that amongst certain products or services, English ad copy had a higher average CTR than Spanish ad copy. Better yet, in some cases, “Spanglish” ad copy beat them both! According to an Omnibus poll, more than 50 percent of US Hispanics prefer English, 15-20 percent prefer Spanish, and 35 percent prefer either “usually English” or “usually Spanish.” Have fun trying bi-lingual keywords, or tri-lingual ad copy!
Factor-in cultural assimilation. To effectively target Hispanics, it is important to take acculturation into consideration—the degree to which people have fully integrated into their society. For instance, if you are targeting Hispanics with a low level of acculturation, you may want to make sure that your ad copy shows that you understand the uniqueness of their values and being Latino. If you are targeting Hispanics with a high level of acculturation, you might want to reinforce the positive experience of living in the US.
The demographics of the US are definitely shifting, and the Hispanic market is becoming more important than ever. Smart marketers will take the time to assess the opportunity today.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.