Limitless Mobile Latinos: A Segmentation Approach

Last Friday, I had the honor to be part of the Hispanic Mobile Panel at the #LATISM (Latinos in Social Media) 2012 conference in Houston with Giovanni Rodriguez. During the past years, we both have been writing on how Latinos will be (are) leading the mobile web.

Now with almost a 60 percent penetration of smartphones among Latinos (and counting), it’s time to go deeper into the conversation. Marketers can’t continue to approach the mobile Latino as a monolithic consumer anymore. That was precisely the focus of my presentation: a segmentation approach to mobile Latinos. Following is some top-line information of this model (in beta form).

The Limitless Latinos

Mobile devices have had a great impact on Latinos. From closing the technology gap to leading the mobile web (most of Latinos are getting online via mobile devices), mobile has empowered the Hispanic consumer. Embracing social media on-the-go at a level that seems to have no limit or interacting with multiple screens (43 percent of their entertainment time), mobile Latinos are on steroids.

I like to call these empowered consumers: “Limitless Latinos.” For this new breed of consumers, mobile is not just “on-the-go.” Mobile is a mindset, a behavior. That’s exactly the approach of this segmentation: the mindsets and behaviors that drive mobile usage for each segment. Though each of the five segments might experience some of those behaviors to a certain degree, I’ve focused on the dominant ones, the ones that are actually part of their DNA.


From Mobile Snacking to Digital inclusiveness

Mobile snacking is a behavior that helps satisfy the craving for entertainment, by “snacking” on short-form content (games, music, social media, etc). It normally happens in between activities (before going to bed, in the elevator, before dinner, etc.). The same way eating a snack helps you postpone the need for a real meal or makes you feel satisfied, “consuming” small doses of entertainment helps eliminate the feeling of boredom.

1. Mobile snackers:
“Mobile is entertainment and entertainment is mobile.”

Mobile is their main source of accessing video content and music: they are the masters of mobile snacking, thus their name. They are driven by a sense of individuality (wanting to consume entertainment their way) but privacy at home plays a key role. This segment is mainly composed of kids and young people living with their parents, in households with one shared computer. That’s why they value their mobile device: it provides privacy while accessing the web.

They are the ones who stream video the most: highly indexing in services like Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube.

2. Digital included:
“I feel that I’ve reconnected with society now.”

Way behind on the other side of technology adoption lays this segment. There’s a social conversation happening where sharing pictures and invitations to family events are happening mainly via digital communication. These late adopters need to embrace technology to regain social inclusion. Mobile devices, more specifically tablets, are allowing that connection thanks to simpler interphases that are easy to use. Price convenience also comes in handy for the “digital included.” A tablet is their first PC, actually a friendlier version of it.

Their online engagement tends to be low with limited time spent per day reading emails, “catching up” via social media networks, or web browsing. They use their mobile device mostly at home. Not surprisingly, this is the segment that tends to be older.

From Social Curation to Dependency

3: Social curators:
“With a little help from my friends.”

Mobile has enabled collaboration with others and they are taking social media to the limit. They are the masters of social shopping: leveraging other’s advice and tips before, during, and after their purchases. Mobile allows them to live two lives on parallel:

On-the-go life
Social media life

They love to network and ask for others advice, tips, recipes, etc. Over-index on moms – most are “social veterans” who use several social media platforms.

4. Mobile dependent:
“I wake up with my smartphone and fall asleep with it.”

The smartphone is a constant companion that’s always handy (even when taking a shower). Mobile represents a seamless experience between personal and professional life: it increases productivity.

They spend more time using apps than web browsing. Always looking for deals, they embrace m-shopping as it eases the stress of purchasing stuff. This segment heavily indexes among 25 to 34-year-old men with a high income and education. It’s not surprising that, for them, mobile is an efficient tool.

5. Screen addicts:
“Entertainment is not what I watch, but what I do with it.”

Another dependency turned into addiction: the need for entertainment around the entertainment. Mobile is an extension of their home TV screen: they love to share their opinions and have as much fun discussing the TV content with others via social media.

They are used to watching two or three screens. Sometimes the usage is simultaneous, sometimes sequential. Not surprisingly, tablet usage spikes during TV commercial breaks.

For this group, tablets are a couch and pillow device; this screen addiction happens mostly at home. Over-index on families, who love mobile snacking too.

Implications for Marketers

  • Limitless Latinos are empowered by mobile: mobile has become a mindset, a behavior, not just on-the-go.
  • Brands need to understand what’s driving mobile usage among each segment: what are consumers masters at?
  • We need to go beyond the one-size-fits-all approach and focus on specific Latino mobile segments.
  • Then, and only then, start considering activities and demographics.

Note: This is just a top-line version of the segmentation approach. There’s more in-depth qualitative and quantitative data per segment. I will be sharing more in future columns. This segmentation was developed using syndicated research from Experian Simmons, comScore, and several industry studies (IAB, Ipsos, Pew Internet, among others).

Mobile Latinos image on home page via Shutterstock.

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