Reaching The Hispanic Market

Amber Farley - September 12, 2008

When I first moved to Florida, everyone asked if I was fluent in Spanish.  Outside of the few essential phrases such as, “Hello, my name is Amber” and “Where is the bathroom”, unfortunately I can’t say that I know much.  My best friend is completely fluent in Spanish and I envy her ability to communicate in situations where I am not able to.  This brings me to the question, how important is it to be familiar with the Hispanic market and language?

According to WikiPedia, Spanish is the second most common language in the United States, after English. There are more Spanish speakers in the U.S. than there are speakers of French, Hawaiian, and Native American languages combined. According to the 2006 American Community Survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau, Spanish is the primary language spoken at home by over 34 million people aged 5 or older. The U.S. is home to more than 40 million Hispanics, making it the world’s fifth-largest Spanish-speaking community after Mexico, Colombia, Spain, and Argentina.

As a marketing professional, that’s a pretty large segment to ignore in your marketing efforts. With 23 million US Hispanics online and 80% of them searching for information, Hispanic-focused SEM should be considered for any online marketing strategy.  However, you might not know how or where to start.  Is search the best way to reach the Hispanic market?   Do you need a Spanish translation of your website?  If you have a Hispanic CPC campaign, do you need to write the ad copy in Spanish?   Etc.

Below are some steps to follow when launching a U.S. Hispanic-focused SEM campaign

1. English & Spanish. Test both languages when setting up campaigns to reach U.S. Hispanics. According to Comscore Media Metrix, 52% of online Hispanics are English dominant, 21% are Spanish dominant, and 27% are bilingual. It best to test both to see what brings in the highest conversion rate.

2. Proper Translation. Translations can be very tricky. If you would like to use a Spanish keyword list in your CPC campaigns, it is important that you have a native Spanish speaker to put the keyword list together instead of using a translation tool. There are several different dialects to consider and it is important for the translation to come across exactly as you mean for it to. 

3. Creative Ad Copy.   If you try to write ad copy in Spanish, you will often find that you run out of character space.  It is more challenging to write a “catchy” ad, when faced with character limitations.  Therefore, make sure that you have someone who not only writes well in Spanish, but someone who can creatively say what they need to say in 70 characters or less. 

4. Test Proper Landing Pages.  Getting people to click on your ad is only half the battle.  Getting people to engage with your site is the other half.  If you test the keywords and ad copy in Spanish, make sure you send the visitor to a Spanish page and vice versa.  Part of Google’s quality score for an ad, is the relevancy between the ad and the landing page.  Make sure the transition from the ad to the landing page, is clear for the visitor. It will result in better conversions.

5. Reach The Right Demographic. Search is utilized on both a national and local level. The U.S. Hispanic market makes us several different parts of the US. Consider your product/service, and make sure you are targeting the right demographic.

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