As America's Hispanic population continues to grow, more advertisers are looking at the best ways to reach this dynamic demographic. The numbers tell the story: U.S. Census data shows Hispanics currently represent 19.1% of the population, while the Latino Policy & Politics Institute reports that they account for 54% of population growth, and are projected to increase to 28% of the population by 2060. Even now, Insider Intelligence projects Hispanics' buying power to hit $2.6 trillion by 2025, representing a 50% greater increase than that of white households.
As RAB's “Radio Matters” blog points out, radio is way ahead of the game. According to Nielsen, the medium reaches 97% of Hispanics monthly, with Hispanic-owned stations connecting with 9 million Latinos. From an advertising standpoint, companies advertising on Hispanic-owned or Hispanic-targeted radio have a 12% higher return on ad spend than those that don’t, and radio generates a 64% incremental reach when added to audio marketing plans.
"This data makes the case for using radio’s unmatchable reach to capture listeners’ attention – it’s the obvious starting point when discussing advertising options with companies that are eager to target Hispanics,” Marketron GM Digital Technology/Senior VP Marketing and RAB guest columnist Bo Bandy says. “These reasons make Hispanics a sought-after demographic for advertisers, and they can reach them with integrated campaigns that include radio and digital.”
As one example of digital media's strength, Bandy cites Edison Research data showing the power of podcasts among Hispanics. Monthly podcast listenership has grown 52% since 2020 vs. just 14% among the total U.S. population, while nearly half (49%) of Latino podcast listeners have purchased a product or service after hearing a podcast sponsorship or ad.
“Targeting options in digital allow you to hone in on the demographic,” she says. “You can focus more on other attributes beyond ethnicity, including defining the audience as Spanish-speaking only and aligning with interests that resonate with the population, from soccer/football to Latino-focused or hosted podcasts.”
Bandy notes several key concerns when it comes to ad campaigns targeting Hispanics, one of those being their lack of representation in advertising overall, citing a Nielsen poll showing 41% feel underrepresented, but that more than half (55%) are more likely to buy from brands that use creative that reflects them.
“Any consumer wants to be 'seen' in media, so the development of ad content is critical to performance,” she says. “It should be authentic, avoiding stereotypes, [and] it also needs to be diverse. While the collective group is those with origins from Spanish-speaking countries, there are many nuances. These subsets of the Hispanic demographics matter in representation. Your region likely has concentrations of specific Hispanic groups. Understanding the makeup of the population will guide the imagery, video and copy for ads.”
Likewise, limiting ad placement to Spanish-language programming is not recommended, especially seeing as 72% of Hispanics speak English proficiently, and 63% report using Spanglish, a combination of English and Spanish, according to data from Pew Research. Also notable is Insider Intelligence's finding that most Hispanics view or listen to Spanish and English equally, while Spanish-only had the lowest percentage.
“Traditionally, advertisers desiring to reach Hispanic audiences have spent most of their budgets on Spanish-language programming, [and] they’ve also used the language in the ads,” Bandy says. “It’s not that they shouldn’t do these things, but expanding the perspective on this is important. Why advertise in just one language when that’s not the reality of the situation?”
When it comes to the best radio-plus-digital ad strategy for advertisers targeting Hispanics, Bandy recommends “sharing thoughts on what radio programming is best for spots, and tactics that will drive engagement, [and] conversations with your customers [about] where they’ve previously seen high engagement in digital advertising. Looking at the market-specific considerations for digital ad tactics is crucial to designing an ad mix that delivers results. With a well-thought-out strategy, your advertisers can win the hearts and business of Hispanic consumers.”