MBPT Spotlight: Telemundo Research Says Marketers Should Use Hispanics As Their Brand Ambassadors

Telemundo’s newly unveiled study focuses on the media habits of Latino consumers. It also suggests that marketers should be looking beyond the idea of Hispanics as a target for ads and instead consider them potential marketing ambassadors for their brands.

Hispanics, according to the research, are not only heavy users of social media, but a majority also tend to talk to friends and family about the programming they watch, and share video clips.

Research also shows that the number of Hispanics living in the U.S. in 2014 is significantly higher than the currently attributed 55.8 million, when you consider intermarried couples and mixed households where there are non-Hispanics who are indoctrinated into Latino culture.

The research was commissioned by Telemundo parent NBCUniversal and is based on data collected by EthniFacts. It was released as part of an Advertising Week presentation on Monday.

The presentation highlighted some examples of how marketers are successfully reaching Hispanics on English-language television via commercials, both in Spanish and in English with Spanish sensibilities. One slide points out that in 2013, viewers watched 25 billion hours of English-language television and 18 billion hours of Spanish-language television, which offered up “43 billion hours of opportunity” for marketers to reach Hispanic viewers through both.

But the presentation also pointed out that bilingual Hispanics have a “passion” for Spanish-language ads. Based on commercials from the same brand in both Spanish and English, 24% of bilingual Hispanics preferred the Spanish ads, compared to 12% who like the English-language ads. As far as message recall, the Spanish ads were better recalled by 23%, compared to 11% for the English-language ads. And in terms of brand recall, 31% remembered the brand better based on Spanish-language ads compared to 17% who remembered the brand best after viewing English-language ads.

Jackie Hernandez, chief marketing officer of Hispanic Enterprises & Content at NBCU says the original plan was to gather the research for an ad sales study, but instead Telemundo decided to turn it into a full-blown marketing initiative. She said the initial presentation was more generic, but coming down the pike, Telemundo will be tying the data into the network and specific categories such as retail, consumer packaged goods, telecom, beauty and auto.

In terms of media consumption findings, the study found that Hispanics are 72% more likely to share video clips, pictures or links of shows, movies or events on social media, compared to non-Hispanics. Hispanics are also 67% more likely than non-Hispanics to watch a show, movie or event while simultaneously talking with friends. They are also 65% more likely to consider a show recommended on social media by a friend and 61% more likely than non-Hispanics to rate or post comments about the content of a show.

The social nature of the Spanish-language media consumers led to the term “Buzz, Binge, Live” which NBCU has trademarked. It details Hispanics’ tendency to learn about shows via social media, buzz about them and then binge-watch those shows to catch up before watching live.

One-third of Hispanics surveyed said that watching a show online first leads them back to watching live TV more than 50% of the time. This offers networks the opportunity to draw back viewers to live TV through the digital streaming of their shows.

Another finding of the study is that 70% of Hispanics say they frequently watch “what they want when they want it,” which also emphasizes the importance of digital content to complement live TV. And Hispanics are 9% more likely to watch in that manner, compared to non-Hispanics.

The study also makes an effort to dispel the term “bicultural” when describing Hispanics and offers a new term—“ambicultural.” Whereas bicultural implies a cultural split or division, ambicultural defines Hispanics who are comfortable being both 100% Latino and 100% American, or “200 percenters,” Hernandez says.

The study breaks out five segments of Hispanics—Traditionalists, Seekers, Alpha Ambis, Yearners and Americanos. Traditionalists make up 31% of the Hispanic population and they are the more hardcore Hispanics in terms of culture and the programming they watch. At the other end of the spectrum are Americanos, who make up 16% of the Hispanic population.

They both watch programming across languages, but the Traditionalists watch Spanish-language programming about 53% of the time during an average week, including primetime novelas, and English-language programming 47% of the time.

In the middle are Seekers, who make up 15% of the Hispanic population; Yearners, who make up 16%; and Alpha Ambis who make up 25%. Those three groups combined—or 56%—make up the Ambiculturals segment. The study found that 90% of Ambiculturals speak both English and Spanish at home to some degree.

The Seekers group includes Hispanics who are seeking to become a bit more Americanized. They watch Hispanic programming 51% of the time, and English-language 49%. The Yearner group consists of second- and third-generation Hispanics who want to find some more Hispanic culture. They are watching Hispanic TV 33% of the time and English-language TV 67% of the time. The Alpha Ambis, on the other hand, are completely bilingual and have assimilated with both cultures; they watch English-language TV 61% of the time and Spanish-language programming 39% of the time.

“What the research is saying is that there is a very large Hispanic identity even among consumers who are considered to be non-Hispanic,” says Hernandez. “And even among Ambicultural Hispanics, while Spanish-language ads may have better brand recall, English-language ads targeting them can also connect. As more marketers begin reaching out to the Hispanics either on Spanish-language media or through mainstream media, they are going to see great lifts in recall and likeability of their marketing efforts.”