Considering mobile advertising to Hispanics? Good idea… but pick the right target group.

It’s been widely documented that the adoption and use of mobile phones in the Hispanic community is as strong or stronger than any other segment of the population.

But how does that translate into using the technology to market to or support the sale of products to Latinos? Interestingly, it’s a mixed bag.

In a June 2013, ThinkNow Research conducted a nationwide survey on mobile phone use in the Hispanic community. The 500+ respondents were a cross-section of the U.S. Hispanic population as a whole. The study focused on three key issues:

  • The use of mobile phones to help with the shopping experience
  • The use of mobile phones to help friends/relatives with their shopping experience
  • Attitudes toward mobile phone advertising

A summary of that survey can be found below…

Do Hispanics use their mobile phones to help with shopping?

Absolutely! In fact, more than 40% of Hispanics frequently use their phones to help with shopping, specifically in the areas of electronics, movies, grocery shopping and clothing. And asked if they’ve ever used their mobile phone to help, that number jumps to 75%!

Hispanic-Mobile-Shopping-Usage-Chart

As you might expect, the group that uses their mobile phones the most to help with shopping is the 18-34 year olds. What we did find very interesting was those who primarily spoke Spanish at home were the most active group on their mobile phones. Also, those Hispanics with household incomes of more than $40k were significantly more likely to use their mobile phones than those with lesser incomes.

Do Hispanics use their mobile phones to help friends and relatives with shopping?

Not surprisingly, the responses here paralleled the responses above.

Yes, Hispanics use their phones to help others – at a rate of about 60%! And just like the general use of mobile phones for shopping, the strongest groups were the 18-34 year olds, those who primarily speak Spanish at home and those with HHI greater than $40k.

How do Hispanics feel about mobile phone advertising?

This was where it got really interesting!

On one level, the vast majority of Hispanics (74% overall) agreed that ads on mobile phones are annoying (but who doesn’t?!). This was very consistent across all age groups.

Hispanic-Mobile-Advertising

However, the high-acculturated segment found it significantly more annoying than their low-acculturated friends… by 27%!

However, even though Hispanics find mobile phone ads annoying, there is still a big opportunity for advertisers (and mobile phone companies and service providers)! Here’s why:

  • More than 60% of Hispanics felt that these mobile phone ads provided them with useful information about specific products or available bargains.
  • More than 60% of Hispanics also agreed that they would be willing to accept mobile phone ads in return for a little quid pro quo, specifically:
    • Lower monthly phone charges
    • Additional services on their phones, like TV or SMS

Again, it’s the 18-34 year old segment that is most open to this trade off.

So, what does this mean to advertisers and their ad agencies?

  1. One, make sure you have a purpose-built mobile website, not just one that squeezes onto the small screen. You have to make it easy for shoppers to shop.
  2. Second, make sure your site is available in both English and Spanish… switching back-and-forth at the push of a button.
  3. Don’t disregard the “old folks,” but make sure your mobile site is written with younger buyers (18-34 years old) in mind.
  4. Make sure it’s easy for someone on your website to share information with others.

Finally, what are you waiting for? According to a study conducted in early 2013, Hispanics are not only high on the U.S. economy, they’ve got the money to spend. And it looks like mobile phones as a sales and marketing channel will help them do just that!

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