CHICAGO and McLEAN, VA, April 27, 2007–As brands compete for the coveted Latino consumer in the United States, some are just beginning to explore the emerging digital space as a new medium to deliver their messaging. But are U.S. Hispanics really online? Researchers yesterday at the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies 22nd semi-annual conference confirmed that 13.9 million Hispanic adults are indeed online and of those 8.5 million have broadband. But, even more impressive and important to marketers is how Hispanics are interacting online, the frequency and time spent online, and the types of activities Latinos are engaging in while connected.

According to Forrester Research, whose Tamara Barber spoke at the event, the use of social network sites such as My Space among Latinos increased by 200 percent from 2005 to 2006, and music and video downloads are on the rise as well. Activities with an entertainment focus requiring a broadband connection such as streaming audio or video are popular with Latinos. From mobile phones and laptops, to MP3 players and PDAs, Hispanics are connecting and being entertained just about everywhere. (Hispanic Technographics Consumer Technology And Marketing Phone Survey, Q1 2007, and Forrester´s Hispanic American Technology Adoption Study Fall 2005 Phone Survey, Forrester Research).

Data presented by Adriana Waterston, vice president of marketing and business development for Horowitz Associates, a market research company, confirms that Hispanics with broadband access are indeed heavily vested in broadband-enabled information, communications and entertainment activities.

"In our newest study, "Making the Connection: Consumer Broadband Lifestyles," we interviewed broadband users about their television consumption, broadband use and general lifestyles and attitudes. Formal segmentation revealed six segments–Non-Tech Utilitarians Web Moms, Sports–Gotta Have It, The Broadband Workforce, Mavens and Mavericks, and Connected Multiculturals," Waterston said.

"When we ran the data among only Hispanics, we found that over 60% of Hispanics fall in the three heavy user groups: The Broadband Workforce, Mavens and Mavericks, and The Connected Multiculturals. Indeed, almost one third of Hispanics fell into The Connected Multiculturals, the segment characterized by highest overall usage of broadband for most activities, including for watching video content online, and that have the highest ownership of portable devices. Moreover, Latinos are more likely than the average broadband user when comparing usage such as shopping online or downloading a movie to their iPod."

Hispanic marketers acknowledge they may have a little catching up to do in targeting this large and growing segment of the population online and AHAA Chairman Carl Kravetz, chairman/chief strategic officer of cruz/kravetz:IDEAS agrees. "Until now, we really haven´t had the data to back up the online Hispanic presence," Kravetz said. "But now, with research groups collecting data consistently to gauge not only how many Latinos are using the Internet but how they are engaging with new media and new devices, our Hispanic agencies can begin to target online consumers effectively. The next step is to further define the online Hispanic market in terms of demographics–age, language preference, and acculturation–as well as attitudes and behaviors around language, cultural relevance and the Internet."

Statistics indicate that the average age of Hispanics online is 37 and that they spend an average of 33.9 hours online each week. In Waterston´s panel presentation she explained that Horowitz interviewed all types of Hispanics but found that once they were connected, or had access, what they did online was pretty similar despite language preference or acculturation. "Broadband is a great equalizer in terms of the Hispanic market," Waterston said.

Hispanic ad agencies must now take the information researchers are providing and develop the best methods to reach consumers in the digital environment. Money is being diverted to new media marketing initiatives as digital innovation catches fire but Marcy Greenberger, associate media director for Tapestry says, "It is up to us to stay on top of trends, inform our clients and educate our teams to reach consumers effectively and understand where our consumers are online." Determining the right mix to connect people, technology and brands isn´t easy, but Hispanic marketers agree they must lead the effort.

About AHAA :
The Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA) is the national organization of firms that specialize in marketing to the nation´s 42 million Hispanic consumers, the most rapidly growing segment of the American population. AHAA promotes the strength of the Hispanic marketing and advertising industry to the private and public sectors. AHAA agencies offer a unique blend of cultural understanding, market intelligence, proven experience and professionalism that deliver Hispanic market success for clients. AHAA agencies help organizations gain market share, increase revenue and grow profits by building the bridges and delivering the messages to reach America´s Hispanic consumers, who together have an estimated buying power of more than $800 billion. Visit www.ahaa.org for more information.

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