What Search Can Tell Us About Latinos Online

  |  April 12, 2011   |  Comments

When it comes to Latinos, search is playing a big role, yet it seems to be an under-used marketing weapon.

Search is one of the most powerful tools used to reach an audience. Let's take this great example of a creative looking for a job in New York City. He created five ads using AdWords and included the names of five top creative directors so that every time they searched their own names in Google (as most of us do) they would get his ad asking them for a job. Simple, yet effective. He got four interviews, two offers, and finally landed a job. You can see the video at the end of this column or search for "Google Job Experiment."

Latinos Are Googling, Really?

When it comes to Latinos, search is playing a big role, yet it seems to be an under-used marketing weapon. Search is among the top five activities Latinos perform online, looking for everything on the web, images, and videos in that order. Ninety-three percent of Hispanics use Google for search. What happens with Twitter? The use of Twitter has been growing too, taking a more important role in searching for (trending) topics.

Content Sparks Curiosity

Content is the key driver. Especially when it comes to Latinos and entertainment. A good TV strategy should always be supported by a strong search strategy and the other way around. Seventy-eight percent of Hispanics have used a search engine to find more information about something they saw on TV.

When Reina del Sur, the telenovela that helped to break Telemundo's rating record, was launched in late February, Google searches spiked immediately, as you can see below.


The same happened with the Oscars, or Oscar shall I say? Interesting that if you checked how searches for "Oscars" were trending the same day that the Academy Awards were aired, you didn't see that many searches in Spanish. But if you checked for "Oscar" (no "s") instead, the story is completely different as you can see in the graph below. So content drives search, but you need to make sure that you understand the way Latinos are searching for certain topics or brands.


The Language of Search

In my previous column, I discussed the key role that Latinos are playing in movie attendance. Here's a great example. If you look at all the searches in the U.S. around "Toy Story 3," most of them were done in Spanish. Pretty telling, right?


Actually, 10 percent of overall U.S. searches are in Spanish and not just for Spanish media. Another important factor is the growing importance of bilingual Hispanics: 80 percent of Spanish keywords queries come from the English interface of Google.

Latinos Are Mobile, Mobile Is Search

Seventy percent of Hispanics use their smartphones to do search. No surprise there. But when you dig into the frequency, according to comScore, Hispanics are 29 percent more prone to be heavy searchers (22 to 70 searches a month) via their mobile phones than the general market. We discussed in previous articles that mobile is the fastest-growing and most effective way for Latinos to browse the Internet, to connect to social media networks, etc. The same goes for search. Forty percent of Hispanics compare prices and find retailers via smartphones, making it a great tool to affect the purchase behavior.

Search Can Help Understand Consumer Mood

Search can also be a very effective tool to understand the mind and mood of our consumer and how it is affecting our target audience. Back in 2009, as part of a study on value and how the economy was impacting price consciousness among Latinos, we ran a couple of exercises on search. One of them showed that while the word "grátis" (free) was trending at the same rates as Latino relevant words as fútbol (soccer), música (music), the story changed in late 2008 and mid 2009: "grátis" began to spike, showing the growing interest/concern with the economy among U.S. Hispanics.


The fact that Latinos are using search is no surprise. The question is why marketers are so behind in leveraging search to target Latinos. Search can be a powerful tool to reach online Latinos, to maximize broadcast and online media campaigns, but also to learn more about the interests and behavior of this dynamic target.

Enjoy the "Google Job Experiment" video:


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Gustavo Razzetti

Gustavo Razzetti is EVP, Managing Director of Lapiz, the Latino shop of Leo Burnett. He has 20+ years of experience in integrated marketing communications in U.S. and Latin American markets.

A change agent, with the expertise of transforming agencies into digital at the core shops, Razzetti has become one of the leading voices when it comes to understanding the new market dynamics of US Latinos.

Former Chief Strategy & Engagement Officer at Grupo Gallegos, president of GlobalHue NY and CEO of Euro RSCG Latino. Razzetti's career is marked by extensive experience working with top consumer brands such as Comcast, Walgreens, Verizon, Nestlé, Chivas Regal, General Motors, Coca-Cola, and BBVA, and 200 others. He also served as CEO of Euro RSCG both in Puerto Rico and in Argentina. Prior to that, Gustavo was CEO and founding partner of WhyNet - the no. 1 interactive agency in Argentina.

Strategist by conviction, digital pioneer by choice, leader by evolution; Razzetti has received recognitions that include Effie awards, Gran Prix AMBA, Euro RSCG's CBI Award, and Strategic Planning Director of the Year, McCann Erickson. Many of the campaigns he strategically led won Cannes, Clio, New York Festival, London, and FIAP awards, among others.

On a personal note, Gustavo loves scuba diving, bicycling, gourmet cooking, and fine wines.

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