As we near the end of 2021, we wanted to take a few moments to look back at the influences we’ve seen shaping Hispanic marketing, and the trends we’re seeing moving forward into a new year. While we’ve seen a greater focus on multicultural marketing take shape over the past few years, brands are still missing opportunities to make a true impact on the Hispanic market. In fact, according to the Hispanic Marketing Council, only 6% of the marketing industry’s investment is spent on the Hispanic community. 

We recently collaborated with AdAge to tackle the question: What is the future of Hispanic marketing?

Hispanic marketing has changed—even over the past few years

In a rapidly evolving world, marketers (and especially marketers focused on multicultural marketing) need to stay dynamic. The way consumers interact with and perceive media is always changing, and the key to driving successful multicultural marketing campaigns in the long-term is to change along with your target audience. 

As a multicultural marketing agency, that’s exactly why we conduct extensive Hispanic market research. We believe that our research is truly foundational to the success of our strategies and our clients. And in our most recent Hispanic Explorer Series™, we noticed a few key changes in Hispanic marketing brands should take note of going into this next year. 

What Media is Trusted by Hispanic Audiences

The first trend we noticed is consumer trust—and where it’s placed. In our latest research study, Refuel Agency found a significant increase in Hispanic consumer’s trust of print media since 2017. Our results show that Hispanic newspaper readership remained constant at 52% but newspaper trust has increased by 40% compared to 2017. Authenticity and traditional values are important to this audience, and that means supporting their local community and Hispanic-owned businesses. Print, because of its in-community nature, can do that exceptionally well. In contrast, trust for social media and websites went down in the past four years.

Shifting Media Landscape

And the second trend that stood out are the shifts in the digital landscape in general. Digital marketing and advertising are evolving more rapidly today with changes in capabilities, restrictions, and user privacy. Top media buying platforms have implemented new ethnicity targeting restrictions and more stringent messaging policies that have significantly changed the landscape, forcing brands to rethink and modify their current digital media strategies. As multicultural audiences are a niche focus for Refuel Agency, we stay on top of these changes and identify new ways to effectively reach and engage these audiences. 

Read next: Advertising to the U.S. LatinX Community: What’s Working and What Still Needs Work

Culture speaks louder than words

Many brands assume that to advertise to Hispanic audiences, your ads need to be in Spanish. However, we found from our research that this actually isn’t true. While Hispanic audiences do tend to have strong ties to their language and over half speak Spanish at home, advertisements don’t need to be in Spanish to make an impact. 

Our research found that the winning factor for advertisements targeting Hispanic audiences is not language, but rather, culture. According to Refuel’s Hispanic Explorer Series™ 2021, Hispanic audiences pay equal attention to ads in English and in Spanish—but they respond more to ads that reflect their culture. The takeaway? Your target audience wants to see themselves reflected in your advertisements—and isn’t that always the case? Make an impact with your Hispanic advertising campaigns by truly understanding and speaking to your target audience. 

That’s why at Refuel, we consider “multicultural” marketing to really be talking about community-based marketing. “Culture” remains a topic of conversation. Brands must not only communicate with cultural relevance, but their ethos must also be in alignment or risk being flagged as disingenuous. Conversations must be honest and genuine. Today it goes beyond the culture and is also about the community. In addition to cultural background, consumer experiences, beliefs and behaviors are molded by the state of their current home environments. The variances in communities even within the same states can be vast. Uniquely embedding the brands into the mindset of a community is essential to success.

The key to Hispanic marketing? Agility and targeting. 

If there’s one thing we know about Hispanic marketing, it’s that Hispanic advertising is not one-size-fits-all. Brands need to remain agile and cross-target by age, demographic, geography, and more. 

Our research shows that media strategy and spending is nuanced and should take into consideration age groups, ethnicity and other factors. For instance, according to Refuel’s Hispanic Explorer Series 2021™, 25 to 54-year-old Hispanics are more likely to engage with “traditional” media like print and radio than the general population. In addition to how the Hispanic audience differs from the total US population, we also look at the variance in behaviors within the Hispanic audience—and we are seeing variability in media consumption across each market. Knowing how to engage with each is key to building a multichannel media plan.  

It must also be a natural fit for the advertiser. Coming into the community for a short campaign is not going to build the trust that’s needed and may reflect negatively on the brand or advertiser. It is important to connect on a local community level and support Spanish owned businesses. An easy way to start is to include media properties that are Hispanic owned and operated in the mix.

So, targeted advertising is key, especially with Hispanic audiences. Our research found Hispanic shopping habits are different from the general market. For instance, according to Refuel’s Hispanic Explorer Series 2021™, Hispanic consumers are 30% more likely to visit local grocery stores than the general population and twice as likely to visit local convenience stores. Over half of Hispanic consumers speak Spanish at home, and 56% are more likely to pay more attention to an ad that reflects their culture.

In conclusion: advertising to Hispanic audiences is more important than ever for your brand. Hispanic audiences want to see their culture accurately represented in your advertisements, because it means you understand them and they will be more likely to trust your brand. And finally, targeting is key when it comes to advertising to Hispanic audiences. Are you ready to get your Hispanic social media advertising campaigns off the ground? At Refuel Agency, we’ve been crafting strategic Hispanic advertising campaigns for over 30 years, and we’re invested in ensuring your campaigns make an impact. Contact us today to get started.