What are Hispanics Doing Online? Tracking Latino ‘Net Activity in a Host of Verticals


By now, it is a given that the Hispanic online market is an extremely lucrative opportunity for marketers willing to put forth the effort to interpret a complete online presence. Now that we know Hispanics are adopting online and broadband by the droves, they represent 15% of the total population in 2006 and 13% of total online according to a recent Harris poll, the next question begging to be asked by marketers is “what are they doing and how can we leverage that for our clients?

According to an Advertising Age and MPA Hispanic Market Research compiled study in September 2005, 65.2% of marketers will increase their online ad spending in this market. This translates into higher competition for the current available traffic. Knowing what and where to spend ad dollars is critical for online direct response marketers.

Hispanics are going online to research, communicate and buy many different items and they are extremely brand loyal. The internet is used much more as a resource for many activities by Hispanics when compared to the general US market.

Fifty five percent of the US Hispanic population uses the internet as a resource to research financial information including banking, mortgages and loan consolidation according to a recent AOL/Roper study. The 2005 report cited a lack of Spanish language content as an issue expressed by those surveyed. While a few key players in the mortgage lead generation game have emerged, a simple keyword search for a broad term such as “hipoteca” which means mortgage in Spanish results in a few paid results versus searching for “mortgage” in English.

The results for the Spanish version of the word also show quite a few English creative along with English landing pages. This is where many marketers still do not understand the market and how to approach it. The translations should be carried through the entire engagement with the end user.

The same study shows that US Hispanics consider sending their children to college as a major financial goal. This is an opportunity for online colleges to target these parents and future students with highly customized campaigns. Since most US Degree schools offer English only programs, they will be happy to know that the generation that they are targeting is the most acculturated and English dominant. However, smart marketers have an opportunity to target the parents who may be footing the bill which can be done both in English and Spanish.

The internet is seen as the number one medium of choice for researching health information by US Hispanics. According to the 2005 AOL/Roper study, fifty four percent of online Hispanics believe that researching their health issues or conducting medical price comparisons on the internet is the way to go. ComScore media metrics reports that during June 2006, 34.4% have visited content within the health category.

There is an opportunity here for health insurance, health discount, alternative medicines and many other lead generation and sales centric products within the health vertical. A search for the broad term “seguro” which means insurance results in less than 2 pages worth of sponsored listings, most of which are in English. Searching for a more specific term resulted in 4 listings, only one of which was in Spanish. The same specific search in English resulted in over 20 pages, more than 200 sponsored results in English.

US Hispanics keep abreast of sports as a way of remembering or honoring their family’s original nationality via their country of origin’s teams. In June 2006, Univision.com’s web site traffic jumped to nearly one million daily visits and over 12 million unique browsers as a result of their comprehensive coverage of the 2006 FIFA World Cupâ„¢ The site delivered nearly 400 million pages of content in June, over a 300% increase from page views delivered during the 2002 event.

The opportunity for capturing sports enthusiasts is not limited to the World Cup event. Nearly 40% of US Hispanics are avid sports fans year-round according to an SGMA 2006 study.

US Hispanics are leveraging their buying power online and the savvy marketer who taps into this growing trend will be presenting the successful case studies of the future.

Stay tuned for a look into careers, music and entertainment, cosmetics and travel and what the numbers say about how Hispanics are consuming information and purchasing in these areas.


  1. I would be interested to find out what marketers are doing to support this huge growth in hispanics looking for schooling online. Are they merely translating their sites into Spanish, or are they providing completely new services sculptured and designed around the spanish and hispanic audiences? I ask because I am currently re-designing my blog, http://www.newcareerblog.com, to fit the hispanic audience.

    Great article, and let me know what you’ve found: contactus@newcareerblog.com.

  2. Brian, that’s an excellent question. Surprisingly, not too much is being done by marketers, which makes for a huge opportunity. We are working with a few clients in edu on test campaigns where the conversions are leaving the non-Hispanic campaigns in the dust, alhtough that is usually the case with well targeted campaigns.

    A few colleges are offering MBA programs in Spanish which target both US and International Hispanics. So while, the wheels are starting to turn slowly, the response is not widespread yet.

    There are quite a few schools whose offline services are more catered, such as Stanford and Rice University which have extensive Latin American studies programs.

  3. We launched a spanish language version of or ecommerce site last year. One question that has come up is how common is it for spanish speakers to do research on spanish language sites but then complete a transaction on the english language version of the site. We are seeing some cross over but had purposely keep our order tunnels separate to avoid confusion. But if this is common does it make sense to have more links and connections between the different language sites?

  4. Byron, giving your visitors the option to switch between languages should be at the top of the page and not tucked away at the bottom with the other links. You can then track how often they switch and at what point during their visit this happens. Many times a Spanish ad will generate better results than an English ad simply because it stands out to your user, but they may prefer English.


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