In Targeting the Lucrative Hispanic Market on Mobile, Location Data Is Key

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Earlier this month, Specific Media & SMG released a multicultural survey that explored how Hispanic Americans consume media. There were many interesting findings in this report, but they all added up to one key takeaway: companies that are not working to actively target this demographic are missing out on a highly engaged, largely positive, consumer subgroup.

We know from this study and others that Hispanic Americans are highly engaged with their mobile devices, so it follows that one of the best ways to reach them is through mobile marketing. But “mobile” is a broad umbrella and most marketers are still struggling with the question of how to identify Hispanic consumers. One of the best strategies is to leverage location-based data.

Historically, location has been viewed as a tool for brick-and-mortar advertisers to get their customers through the door. But the landscape is shifting and location is now much more than proximity geofencing around a physical store. Location is evolving as a tool and now it’s  something that can benefit the brand advertisers for whom location was formerly not a priority.

Think of location as a stream of information a person creates as she lives, works, and plays in the real world. We take our phones with us everywhere we go, and we use our apps throughout the day. Like cookies in the desktop world, location creates a record of the places a consumer visits.  And from that information, we can infer different audience segments she fits into. The places consumers visit in the real world tell much more about them than the apps they download. Brand marketers are now taking advantage of the new mobile data streams to connect with their audiences much more effectively.

Returning to our Hispanic targeting example, we know that in the past, brands seeking to reach a Hispanic audience were typically limited to serving  ads on apps that catered to a Hispanic audience — but those kinds of apps are few and far between and the user profile for an app can be very unreliable. Targeting through location, however, gives marketers the ability to identify specific neighborhoods (not zip codes) with high Hispanic populations. From there, marketers can identify residents of that neighborhood and target them not just when they are home, but when they’re on the go.  Constant testing to optimize these campaigns will lead marketers to a “sweet spot” for Hispanic density—seeing if ads succeed more in a neighborhood that is 75% Hispanic versus one that is 50% Hispanic. And we don’t just have to target people because of the neighborhoods in which they live — we can also reach consumers who shop in specific types of stores, such as Hispanic-owned or oriented markets or restaurants. The behavioral indicators are great tools to identify a consumer’s demographic.

Once confident that the right consumers are being reached, it becomes easy to dynamically alter the creative in a campaign, providing text in Spanish rather than English, for instance, or featuring a notable Latina actress versus a Caucasian one.  The effect of this improved targeting?  Better user experience for the consumer and better performance for the brand.

Hispanic consumers are a significant mobile audience, and as brand advertisers increasingly shift marketing budgets to the mobile channel, they need to identify and connect with their audiences in a reliable way.  Mobile location data allows them to do exactly that, with more confidence that their campaigns are hitting the target.  So it’s time to think beyond using location to simply capture consumers within a geofence, and instead using location to capture a brand marketer’s true audience.

Loren_HillbergLoren Hillberg is President and GM of Thinknear. Prior to assuming the role of Thinknear president, Loren served for almost six years as a VP and general counsel at Telenav — Thinknear’s parent company — leading the mobile consumer business.