POST Online Media Lite Edition


Hispanics make social networks crucial part of digital lives

Staff writer |
While social networking’s popularity extends across ethnicities, conventional wisdom is correct in saying it is particularly important for US Hispanics.

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It’s not that they overindex as users of social networks across the board, but rather that social networking plays a distinct role in their digital activity, according to a new eMarketer report, “US Hispanics: What’s True, What’s Not True and What’s Sort of True in 2015.”

eMarketer estimates that 76.6% of US Hispanic internet users will access social networks at least monthly this year, vs. 69.4% of all US internet users. When one factors in the below-average internet penetration among Hispanics, however, this disparity mostly disappears when calculated as percentages of population, at 56.5% vs. 56.1%.

One caveat: The above-average proportion of young children in the US Hispanic population tends to depress its overall social network user penetration. Ten years from now, many Hispanics currently too young for Facebook and other social sites will be using them and pushing those numbers upward.

Social networking has special resonance for US Hispanics of all ages as a way to keep in touch with family members in the US and elsewhere. A hint of this emerged in a study conducted between May and August 2014 by Ipsos MediaCT for Facebook: 48% of US Hispanics’ Facebook friends were family members, vs. 36% among US Facebook users in general.

Social networking also has distinctive appeal as an online activity US Hispanics can pursue in whatever language (or languages) they please. A May 2014 survey of bicultural US Hispanics by marketing consultancy Latinum Network found 33% identifying English as their language of choice when posting on social media, while 27% used Spanish and 40% used the two equally.

But preference varied with the situation, as Latinum noted in its analysis of the findings: “Wanting to make sure their family will see it and read it? Spanish. Want to share something with classmates or co-workers? English.”

Since many US Hispanics use Spanish on social media, it stands to reason they like to see advertisers do likewise. The Facebook/Ipsos study found this true of advertising on that network, “with 80% of US Hispanics on average preferring ads to incorporate Spanish messaging.”

More broadly, US Hispanics are open to interacting with brands via social networks. When Hispanic digital shoppers were asked by Adroit Digital in July 2014 to identify kinds of advertising that influence their purchasing, social ads scored strongly, cited by 42%.

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