The Hispanic Cyberstudy, conducted for AOL by Cheskin Research, has eye-opening findings on how to best communicate with the Web’s most rapidly growing population segment. As demography experts point to the rise of an increasingly diverse US household population, it behooves marketers to understand the nuances in Hispanics’ online behaviors and attitudes towards new technologies.
The online Hispanic population is mostly US-born and English speaking (41 percent). An additional one third (31 percent) are bicultural, speaking both English and Spanish at home. The study indicates that the online Hispanic is much younger than the typical Internet user (37 vs. 46 years old) and they are more enthusiastic about the benefits of the Internet:
o 72 percent of online Hispanics visit product rating sites
o 64 percent consider the Web the best place to keep up with current events
o 57 percent always go to the Web to find deals
o 28 percent turn to the Web for friends’ opinions
As these numbers suggest, the Internet influences Hispanic consumers’ purchasing habits a great deal. While many consumers shop for information online, Hispanic consumers are more likely than the general Internet population to learn about where to buy a product, compare prices and make a final purchasing decision.
How to best approach Hispanic consumers online? Word of mouth marketing tactics that let users read reviews and converse about experiences would be the first step. But here’s the twist: When it comes to tech-based communications, acculturation levels may not matter in the way traditional marketers may think. In fact, Hispanic customers are universally open to new technologies regardless of their acculturation level. In fact, those who are Spanish-speaking (41 percent) or bi-cultural (40 percent) are more likely than US-born, English speaking Hispanics (31 percent) to indicate that they are considered tech experts in their social circles. All the more reason to make sure Spanish versions of Web sites are culturally relevant and are en par with their English counterparts and are not mere translations.
Who is most likely to spread your news among the Hispanic online audience? The power user is male in his mid-thirties who’s married with young children. He often goes online through his phone and other devices. He e-mails (79 percent), remains active on social networks (68 percent), pings friends and family on IM (64 percent) and keeps a blog (59 percent). Sounds like a no brainer for the likes of Best Buy, RIM, iPhone and automotive companies.