Hispanic-Owned Small Businesses – And Hispanic Consumers – Continue Strong Growth

AMPLITUDE Digital recently had the good fortune to speak at the Google Partners Ignición Conference in downtown Los Angeles.  

It was an awesome experience. We met some great people. Made some strong connections. And in between preparing and presenting our speech and attending the conference, we learned a lot about Hispanic-owned small businesses in America. Some of what we learned even surprised us. Some of our findings might surprise you too.

You’re probably aware that Hispanic-owned small businesses (aka Hispanic small businesses) are on the rise all across the United States. But are you aware of just how robust this growth in Hispanic small businesses has been over the past few years?

In 2014 America, there are now more than 3.1 million Hispanic-owned small businesses in the United States. This represents an increase of nearly 40% since 2007, and a surge of more than 50% since 2002.

In other words, over the past 12 years, the number of Hispanic-owned small businesses in the U.S. has more than doubled.

What’s more, Hispanic small businesses are now growing at more than twice the national average. Revenue from Hispanic-owned businesses surged to more than $468 billion in 2013, and during the 10-year period from 2005 to 2015, Hispanic businesses are projected to increase their total revenue contribution to the U.S. economy by 8% annually.

Of course, this rapid rise in Hispanic-owned businesses corresponds with a strong surge in Hispanic and Spanish-speaking consumers and citizens all across the U.S. According to recent U.S. Census Bureau data, the U.S. Hispanic population grew to an astounding 53 million in 2012. That represents a 50% increase since 2000 – and is nearly six times the U.S. Hispanic population that existed in 1970.

In other words, the Hispanic population in America has doubled in the 12 years between 2000 and 2012 – just as the number of Hispanic-owned small businesses has doubled. And in the 42 years between 1970 and 2012, the U.S. Hispanic population has expanded six times over.

Obviously, today’s Hispanic consumer represents an ever-increasingly force in American commerce and business. Taking a closer look at the “Digital Hispanic Consumers” Report by Interactive Advertising Bureau (also known as IAB) sheds even further light on the habits, customs, impact and purchasing power of this modern Hispanic-American consumer. 

Today, some 37.6 million Americans ages 5 and up speak Spanish at home. To put things into proper perspective, that’s more than the entire population of Canada (35.2 million people). Of those more than 37 million people, 75% of them speak English at home more than half the time – but more than 54% consume Spanish-language content either “regularly” or “occasionally.”

BUt what is the average American business really doing to reach this seemingly ever-expanding demographic? If you’re a small business owner – Hispanic or otherwise – what is YOUR business doing to connect with these consumers?

There are, of course, best marketing practices that can help businesses reach this growing demographic in a more effective and efficient manner. We previously touched on some of them in the social media realm here at our blog, thanks to the excellent insight of Gryffin Media CEO Marcela De Vivo.

Once you get past the particular changes and tweaks needed for properly targeting this audience (such as “transcreation” of creative materials), these practices become less about anything like Google AdWords and more about wisely and effectively marketing to a specific target audience.

Anything about using the right keywords, utilizing effective ad copy, building the proper landing pages and so on and so forth isn’t much different than when it comes to creating and optimizing effective English-language campaigns. In this case, the marketing messages just happen to be communicated in Spanish – or at least partially in Spanish.

It’s important to understand that when you’re targeting Spanish speakers, it’s not necessary to limit yourself to just Spanish language words and terms. There are many, many Spanish-speaking Americans who speak in both Spanish and English, after all. And many of them search in English, Spanish or even “Spanglish” too – despite their browser settings.

That searching is not just being done on desktop or laptop computers, either. In fact, far from it.

2013 was billed by some as “The Year of Mobile for U.S. Hispanics.” The aforementioned IAB report revealed that when Hispanic consumers go online, they often do so via a mobile device. In fact, more Hispanics own an iPhone than the general U.S. population (27% vs. 20%) – and they are also ahead of the curve when it comes to Android (34% vs. 26%) and iPad tablet (21% vs. 16%) ownership.

Data also reveals that more than two-thirds of Hispanic consumers also watch and enjoy online video, including video pre-roll ads. In other words, Hispanic consumers “over index” on online video.

Hispanics also tend to “over index” on making major purchases – such as vacations, computers, furniture, automobiles, personal electronics and home entertainment – and also “over index” on using the internet to research these decisions, especially when it comes to electronics and clothing.

At the Google Partners Ignición conference we attended, Google Head of Agency Development and Channel Sales Partnerships Bickey Russell hosted a helpful Q&A that asked a series of penetrating and intriguing questions. Those questions included:

  • How is the sales process different between a Hispanic small business and other SMBs, and how does the working relationship differ?
  • What factors are most important to Hispanic small businesses when they consider online advertising?
  • What roles do the various marketing channels (both online and offline) play in the planning and decision-making process?
  • What are some key concerns and/or objections Hispanic small businesses seem to have with online marketing?

Just like most every other small business owner in America, there’s a “learning curve” with Hispanic-owned small businesses  when it comes to learning what metrics really matter – conversions, leads, sales, and other Key Performance Indicators (also known as KPIs). They’re often focused on less-meaningful “diagnostic metrics” like clicks, CPC and the like.

Many Hispanic small business owners fear their target audience isn’t strongly represented online. But that changes once numbers and statistics like those revealed in the IAB Report are shared with them.

Similarly, once these small business owners are told that their audience “over indexes” for online video consumption, it opens the door – if not the gates – to create and test online video advertising for their business or brand.

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