• 2016/10/05

No hablamos Español, We feel Spanglish. A digital perspective on how to target Hispanic Millennials.

Long gone are the times where Hispanics are mostly blue-collar immigrants that live “off-the grid” and have a passive participation in our US economy. We now have second and even third generation Hispanics that are taking the digital market by storm. Not only they participate actively in the online shopping experience, but have also become a natural digital force that is hard to keep ignoring. With all of this said, are brands utilizing the correct digital strategies and channels to attract them? Here are 8 pitfalls of targeting Hispanic millennials and how they can be avoided:

Pitfall number 1 – Google Translate is your best friend…NOT


You’ll be surprised how big brands sometimes make such basic mistakes

Yes, we have all been there: saved by Google Translate when we tried to conquer the foreign girl of our dreams but when it comes to targeting Hispanic Millennials, not using a proper human relevant communicator is the worst pitfall of all. Hispanic Millennials are more educated than ever but it goes beyond the books and diplomas; mistakes such as incorrectly translating words in digital campaigns can represent an insult to the Millennial who takes their heritage seriously. How to avoid this pitfall? Make sure to use a relevant Hispanic millennial to communicate your message; there is no better way to target an audience with the audience itself.

Pitfall number 2 – We Speak Spanish. Ha!


Aflac is a good example on how they successfully target millennials

You would be surprised how much of an audience you will segregate if you shoot for a completely Spanish Ad or a completely English Ad. Hispanic Millennials know Spanish of course but choose not to use it all the time in every phrase; the second and third generation Millennials have a natural flow of mixing Spanish and English and even combining both of them; words such as “Linkear”, “parquear”, “Estas ready” are only a few examples of how the US Spanish dictionary is changing drastically. How to avoid this pitfall? First, define your target, if it is indeed Hispanic Millennials use the creative brains in your company to come up with a phrase that will allow them identify with your message. It is not just about mixing Spanish and English words but using them strategically to give that sense of belonging.

Pitfall number 3 – We are like the rest of the market. You wish! Learn and appreciate our passion points.

Digital Advertising does indeed depend on Messaging. A digital Ad that focuses on taking action by following just looks, structure and physical facts will not help your brand attract Hispanic Millennials. Hispanic Millennials are submerged in the American culture but they never forget their roots and, in fact, take pride of them. They like differentiation and their passions are family roots and experiences. Moreover, Fútbol still is a passion but its increasingly being called “Soccer” and, contrary to traditional Hispanics, they start supporting local teams. How to avoid this pitfall? Create an Ad that aims at associating the product with an experience, with family, with an emotion rather than a business decision. Then you might be in business with Hispanic Millennials.


You will not have a lot of success if you aim for an obvious, minimalistic Ad (Only Apple can pull that off!)


McDonalds actually went for the roots and took it a step further in making the Ad engaging with rollover capabilities.

Pitfall Number 4 – Billboards and Desktop is the way to reach us. Bill.. what?


                  Source: Univision

I hardly believe that Hispanic Millennials even know what a billboard is. If it ain’t in a phone, it ain’t real. Yes, they use “ain’t” as well. Hispanic Millennials are mobile driven; they socialize, purchase, read, play and date through mobile devices. You will be surprised how many big brands are still using old techniques to reach this audience. In my experience, due to either lack of knowledge on how they would react or simply trying to save a few pennies, brands sometimes reluctantly put a desktop campaign before even going to mobile. I’ve seen large companies even putting Spanish language sites but without a mobile optimization. How to avoid this pitfall? Start from the basics and make sure that your end platform (where your target will convert) is mobile optimized! Then, put together a hybrid campaign with heavy emphasis on Mobile. Last but not least, make sure to learn and adapt on how they react: Have conversion floodlights/pixels implemented in your platform; use Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics or even DoubleClick to see where most of the traffic AND conversions are coming from.

Pitfall number 5 – We live “off the grid” and Brandsmart is our favorite store. Pleasssseee, we are money educated and conscious.

Hispanic millennials are fully inserted into US society participating in the financial lifecycle.mobilebanking2 They save, invest and also consume. They have credit cards and bank accounts and their buying power is stronger than ever. This is an indication that targeting Hispanic millennials through the right digital channel and with the right message can signify a profitable strategy. This is not only a pitfall to avoid for regular brands but also for Banks and financial institutions. A study has shown that at least 69% of Hispanic millennials do banking online through mobile devices; this is about twice the trust that non-Hispanics put on digital banking. How to avoid this pitfall? Dare to create a conversion driven campaign where your AD can drive interaction with a conversion goal. You will realize that Hispanic Millennials are not afraid of following something they believe in.

Pitfall number 6 – We react and we are compulsive buyers. No way, Reviews and Reputation are everything to us.

We are in the era of information and Hispanic Millennials do their homework. You can have the best product in the market and the most original online ad in the Internet but, if your reputation does not precede you, then you are in trouble. 2/3 Hispanic Millennials browse for reviews, reputation and are even willing to go to the extent of going to stores to view products. How to avoid this pitfall: The organic way to avoiding this issue is to monitor mentions of your brand or product through social media channels and search engines. Google allows you to have alerts every time your name gets mentioned, so does Social Media Platforms. If you do see complaints, address them right away and make sure to engage with them. Customer experience is as important as product quality. Because there are companies out there that feed out of bad reputations, you might also have to invest some money in creating a controlled digital ecosystem that can take over the first page of Google.

Pitfall Number 7 – Telenovelas is the way to go. Huh? We don’t even watch TV on a TV


As “Hollywoody” as it is and as much as Colombians dislike it, Narcos on Netflix is a big Hit among Hispanic Millennials.

With the rapid growth of bandwidth availability in the United States, the big telecommunication companies had no other choice than adapting to what the market was dictating: TV is not meant to be seen only on a box, it is meant to be watched whenever and wherever. Hispanic Millennials hardly watch TV and have adapted to the trend of digital TV. They watch events, shows and soccer matches through their phones and tables. More over, they are big fans of online streaming media such as Netflix. Why? Because Hispanic Millennials are loyal to their shows which are available on demand through their mobile devices. How to avoid this pitfall? Dare to be creative and start targeting through digital streaming channels.

Pitfall Number 8 – Facebook is gone. So are you! Learn our Social Media channels and why we use them.

This is a bifurcated pitfall: On the one side, some companies make the wrong assumption that Hispanic Millennials do not use Social Media in a daily basis. Guess what? They do and even more so than the rest of the US population. On the other side, there is no doubt that Facebook has diluted among millennials, especially with the rise of other social Media platforms such as Snapchat, Tumblr, Reddit and Vine. Contrary to what a lot of digital marketers believe, Hispanic Millennials still use Facebook the most and I will take it a step further to mention that they are prone to purchase through social media more than the rest of the US population. The second most utilized channel is YouTube followed by Twitter. How to avoid this pitfall? Create a digital campaign that can market or remarket millennials through their main Social Media Channels: Facebook, YouTube & Twitter. Don’t focus mainly on passive goals such as likes; Hispanic Millennials have a higher engagement than the rest of the audience so aim at communicating a message that enables participation and invest money on engagement.

As most things in life, we can’t generalize and state that all these common mistakes apply to the entire market but I can safely say that times have changed and what used to work for Hispanics does not longer apply to Hispanic Millennials. Do your homework, engage a digital marketer that is part of the Hispanic millennial wave, and mix creativity with technology to cater to them through the right channels. If you are interested in learning some of our digital work in several national campaigns catered to Hispanic Millennials, feel free to contact us.

Some of the statistics mentioned in this journal come from the following online resources: