Should Latinos be a business’ next target market on the Internet? If you want to explore new search marketing opportunities, expand with growing economies, and reach young, Internet-savvy consumers, tapping into the Latino market may prove to be one of the best strategies out there today.
While U.S. search marketers have devoted most of the attention to optimizing and advertising opportunities in the major search engines of the dominant country and culture, there are certainly fast-growing new markets and untapped opportunities from multicultural audiences in their native country as well as abroad.
Defining the "Latino" market is not an easy task. The term "Latino" today is commonly used to describe both U.S. Hispanics and Hispanics living elsewhere in North, Central and South America; or Spanish-speaking residents of Caribbean islands.
The term "Latin America" is used loosely to refer to all of the Americas south of the U.S. including countries such as Jamaica, Trinidad and Haiti. Just beginning to understand the Latin American market can become a history lesson in itself.
U.S. Hispanics are more intensive than the U.S. general market. The average U.S. Hispanic spends 20 percent more time online, with 25 percent more pages viewed. They're using the Internet more than 17 hours per week, and more than half that time is spent on sites written in Spanish. In fact, U.S. Hispanics now spend more time online than they do watching television.
Eighty-nine percent of the U.S. Hispanic online population searches the Internet. That's the highest ratio compared to all other worldwide regions.
The top 3 Internet penetrations in terms of the overall population: Argentina (26%), Mexico (18%) and Brazil (17%). (Compared to 15% of Latin Americans as a whole).
An average Internet penetration of 15 percent is not something that by itself will turn any heads in the online marketing industry. But further research turns up some enticing results. According to report by comScore Networks, while Latinos make up just 7 percent of the total search market worldwide, but they are posting double-digit increases in terms of growth, with a 16 percent increase from the previous year. Latinos represent over 45 million unique visitors (ranked #2 in the entire world), and are predicted to grow at even higher rates for 2007.
As for the search portals, the major players have already settled in the region: Google set up shop in Argentina, yet it is the most dominant search engine by far, with a whopping 72 percent of the total page views per share in the region. Yahoo is second with 17 percent of total page views, MSN is third with two percent, and local search market players make up the final nine percent.
What is understood is that this market appreciates and responds to sites that have made the effort to reach them on their own terms. It is a market that is just starting to realize its potential, and search marketers reaching out to the Latino market today may find themselves to be the major players in a thriving and dominant market for years to come.