Hispanic online ad spending is forecast to grow by 32% in 2006, compared to 25% in the general market, and the number of Hispanic Internet users will grow from 15.7 million last year to 16.7 million in 2006, and increase by 33% over the next five years, according to eMarketer's new Hispanic Youth Online report. EMarketer aggregates and analyzes e-business research from different sources.
Hispanics account for 14% of the U.S. population, but just 9% of Internet users. The online Hispanic population is a youth market, with a median age nearly 10 years younger than the online general population. By some breakdowns, about 40% of Hispanic Internet users identified themselves as English-dominant, 40% as bilingual and 20% as Spanish-dominant.
Among young Hispanics who moved to the U.S. before they were 5, the ratio of time spent with Spanish-language Web sites is lower than for any other media, according to eMarketer. Young Hispanics reported spending 7.6 hours, or 33% of their TV time per week, on Spanish-language TV, but just 17%, or 2.4 hours, of their weekly time on the Internet with Spanish-language sites.
Yahoo, for example, gets more Hispanic traffic to its English-language sites. According to research analyzed by eMarketer, 83% of Yahoo en Espanol's audience in January 2006 was Hispanic, but that was just 470,000 unique visitors. Yahoo sites as a whole were visited by 11 million Hispanic unique visitors, so most were going to English-language content.
But as Spanish-language content grows, advertisers follow. Yahoo en Espanol, for instance, has signed up four major marketers -- Motorola, General Motors Corp.'s GMC division, DirecTV and State Farm -- to sponsor its World Cup fan site. The site is full of World Cup news, video, blogs, photos, message boards and soccer-themed ads, said Adam Chandler, national manager, U.S. Hispanic sales for Yahoo.
Riding soccer wave
Univision.com, whose sibling Univision TV networks are televising all the World Cup games, is packed with World Cup-related advertising, including a clever Home Depot campaign urging people to prepare their homes for a summer of intensive soccer viewing.
Mr. Chandler also noted growth in user-generated content, with polls, message boards and RSS feeds.
Even Yahoo was surprised at the response to its Shakira "Hips Don't Lie" fan video contest. Users were asked to submit videos of themselves dancing to the Shakira song for a chance to appear in the fan version of the video. The hilarious fan version (http://espanol.music.yahoo.com) climbed to No. 2 on Pepsi-sponsored Yahoo Musica's Top 10 videos -- a piece of user-generated content that performed better on the charts than the real video.
In other areas, like search-engine marketing, Hispanic growth is still slow.
"We don't have many marketers asking for that capability, or many publishers developing solutions," Mr. Chandler said. "Volume plays a key role."
Univision has a partnership with Google that is helping to develop the field, and a few specialist agencies are emerging.
Hispanic search conference
"With small budgets for the Internet, it's much easier to spend the money on banner ads," said Nacho Hernandez, CEO of iHispanic Marketing Group, La Jolla, Calif., one of the few Hispanic search companies. Mr. Hernandez is chairing the first Hispanic search conference, Search Engine Strategies Latino, in Miami in July.
Hispanics who don't spend much time on Spanish-language sites can be difficult for advertisers to pinpoint, a sign that behavioral targeting may be one of the next trends.
"Behavioral targeting is going to be strong in the Hispanic market," said Debra Aho Williamson, the eMarketer senior analyst who compiled the Hispanic report. "It's so hard to find these people. They don't spend a lot of time on Spanish-language sites."
With behavioral targeting, Hispanics can be identified and served relevant ads based on anonymous tracking of their previous online activities, which could include visits to Hispanic sites.
For Hispanics who want to go online in Spanish on a cool laptop, Sony Electronics' first Spanish-language PC in the U.S. is about to go on sale. The $1,400 Vaio notebook -- available in colors like black, red and green -- has a Spanish-language operating system and keyboard.