Google Goes After U.S. Hispanic Market

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Google has created a "specialist team" to focus on the U.S. Latino market, reports MediaPost. John Farrell, general manager of Google Mexico, said Google decided one and a half years ago that the U.S. Latino market had become too big to ignore. "There are 46 million U.S. Hispanics, 30 million of who are on online," he told MediaPost. "They have about a trillion dollars in purchasing power, making it a customer segment marketers can't ignore."

Google organized a forum in New York on Thursday with more than 200 technology vendors and leaders to discuss how to connect with Latinos in a culturally relevant way. During the meeting, Google revealed figures from a report on the use of the Internet and new technologies by Latinos.

About 86 percent of Latinos have high-speed Internet connections at home, and 78 percent use the Internet as their primary source of information, above TV and friends and family, according to Mark Lopez, head of Google's new U.S. Hispanic unit. Email, product reviews, and shopping are their main online activities. Search is the primary online source of information, with Seven out of 10 using search engines multiple times daily.

Latinos text at greater rates than the general public, 64 percent vs. 56 percent; download music, 22 percent vs. 15 percent; play games, 19 percent vs. 15 percent; and access social networks, 12 percent vs. 10 percent, according to Scarborough Research.

"It's true that we Latinos have a broader family nucleus and group of friends and perhaps that's why we make more use of the social alternatives offered by the Web," Lopez said.

He noted that while firms devote between 10 and 15 percent of their advertising budgets to the Internet, those who direct their sales to the Hispanic market only allocate 5 percent of their ad budgets to the Web.

According to the study, Latinos are 58 percent more likely to click on digital ads than other Americans.

Farrell says Google plans to expand into other ethnic groups, too, including Asian and African Americans.