Winning the Mayorship of Latino Marketing

Based on the number of frequent visitors to, I’m assuming this is not your first time checking in at this column. And if that’s the case, I hope you are on your way to earning the mayorship of “Marketing to Latinos.”

I’m not kidding; as social media tools are becoming more and more ubiquitous, I wonder why Foursquare doesn’t allow people to check in at websites yet. In the meantime, I want to discuss the link between Latinos and the growing role of geo-location-based services.

Marketing the Digital You

In a world in which consumers have become broadcasters of their own lives, it’s no surprise that sharing the places they visit has become so popular. Foursquare has already over 10 million users and more than a billion check-ins and continues to evolve.

We live in a world of sharing but also of social bragging. Earning a new badge is not simply about getting a reward (i.e., free breadsticks at Pizza Hut), but also an emotional recognition. Consumers are in a constant battle to impress from within and social badges help.

And Latinos are not shy; taking advantage of all the benefits that Foursquare, Gowalla, and Facebook Places have to offer. Hispanics are 80 percent more likely than the total population to use a check-in service, according to comScore. And it seems that their passion for geo-location is not limited to one tool: 61.5 percent of Latino Foursquare users also use Facebook Places.

Latino Advocates Check In

A big majority of Latinos belong to the Millennial generation, a segment that is influenced more by peers than by advertising. Social media is a critical marketing tool to build brand advocacy and leverage peer-to-peer influence.

If you are looking for Latino advocates, geo-location-based services is the right way to go. As you can see in the graph below, check-in users are much more active and engaged in social media overall. From clicking on ads to posting status updates to using online coupons, it’s clear that Latinos who check in are ahead of the curve in social media networking.


While, for consumers, the fight for a new social badge might be a fun game, for marketers, it’s not a game at all. Foursquare is becoming an influential tool; actually, a great tool to leverage friend-to-friend influence. As an example, check the following findings from a study developed by Austin & Williams:

  • 35 percent of users use Foursquare tips when deciding to visit a place
  • 58 percent of users are more likely to go somewhere in order to unlock a badge
  • 40 percent of users are directly influenced by Foursquare specials before choosing a place to visit
  • 48 percent of users find Foursquare badges to be extremely important

Check-ins are not just for fun stuff; mobile consumers are looking for options (places, deals, recommendations, etc.) on the go. Is your brand leveraging those opportunities?

What’s Driving Check-In Growth?

In previous columns, I discussed how Latinos are driving social media and the mobile web. I heard many people saying that these two trends are age related: Latinos are younger than the overall population (35 percent of Latinos are under 18 years old).

While this is true, it’s important to note that, when it comes to geo-location services, it’s the 25 to 34-year-old segment that shows a higher incidence of check-in users.


Other factors:

  • High smartphone penetration among Hispanics: 45 percent (at par only with Asians).
  • Continuous growth of mobile web: 65 percent of Latinos use their handset as their primary access to the Internet.
  • Easy accessibility of geo-location-based apps both on smartphones and tablets (also growing pretty fast among Latinos).
  • More rewards: as brands continue to tap into Foursquare offering incentives to consumers, we will continue to see dramatic growth in this specific segment.

Latinos overindex in check-in services and check-in usage is a clear indicator of higher social media influence. These two combined represent a great opportunity for brands that want to grow their businesses among Hispanics, the fastest growing demographic in the U.S.

Remember to check in to the Marketing to Latinos column every Tuesday. We don’t give away social badges yet, but hopefully you’ll get closer to winning the mayorship of Latino marketing.

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