Why Discord Matters to Advertisers

Why Discord Matters to Advertisers

Social media Uncategorized

Discord is a free voice, video, and text chat app that’s used by people aged 13 and up to chat and essentially hang out. Initially launched in 2015 as a home for gamers, the app has since expanded its reach and now attracts users from gaming and non-gaming communities alike. To say it’s popular is something of an understatement: the app enjoys more than 150 million monthly active users as of July 2021. But it accepts no advertising.

Why should advertisers care about Discord? Read on to learn more.

What Is Discord?

Users have embraced Discord as a way to connect with friends on a daily basis. Available for Mac, PC, iPhone, and Android devices, the app facilitates talk around any number of topics, from homework to mental health to travel.

Discord is mostly used by small and active communities who like to connect regularly, and for these groups the app follows an invite-only protocol. But larger, more open communities also flourish on Discord; these larger communities can be public, and tend to focus on specific topics like gaming, the app’s original mandate. Minecraft, for example, draws a large following.

As Discord puts it, shared interests drive the conversation.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, an entire vocabulary exists to help users navigate the app: “servers” are the spaces created by communities or friend groups (as Business Insider describes it, servers are a less-formal version of the Slack app). Any user can initiate a new, free server, and invite their friends; individual servers promote their own topics and rules. Discord servers are subsequently organized into text and voice “channels,” which are typically devoted to specific topics. Users can post (type) messages on text channels; they can also upload files and share images. Voice channels allow users to communicate real-time through a voice or video call.

There are literally thousands of Discord servers, so whether your jam is cute cats or a game like Fortnite, a Discord server that reflects your interests probably already exists.

Why Discord Matters to Businesses

But there’s no advertising. So, why should businesses care?

In a word: presence. Even though Discord is an ad-free platform, brands can and do maintain a presence there. Think of Discord as a social-listening tool. As reported in Marketing Dive, Discord is a source for learning about emerging culture and trends. By following Discord, brands can figure out fresh was to become culturally relevant with their marketing.

What does that look like, exactly? Essentially, brands can create their own branded communities on Discord, places where they can interact head-on with their most loyal customers. These communities are a zone where brands and consumers connect over common interests — and there might be a perk or surprise in there for the customer, to boot.

Virtual events are popular on the app: consider the Q&A fashion retailer AllSaints hosted in May, in which the menswear designer gave users a peek into how its styles have changed over the years. Chipotle took a different tack, hosting a virtual job fair on Discord that allowed the fast-casual restaurant chain to announce a hike in wages (to $15 an hour), and gave current employees an opportunity to talk about benefits and career paths.

Of course, for some brands, the app’s gaming roots are a rich vein to mine. Consider teen retailer Hot Topic, which initiated a Discord server specifically targeting fans of Japanese anime. Hot Topic relies on its own presence to support anime fandom, which overlaps with Hot Topic’s own audience.

What Brands Should Do

What does all this mean for your brand? We recommend that you:

  • Keep in mind Discord’s audience. Are they your audience? In other words, does Discord promote a niche that represents common ground for your brand and a community of Discord users?
  • Do your homework and learn from how other brands are succeeding on Discord. Discord users seem to respond to authentic conversations and events on the app. How can you capitalize on this? Keep in mind the Hot Topic example: the retailer tapped into a theme already established as part of the Hot Topic brand — then ran with it. They didn’t pretend to be something they’re not or try to shoehorn themselves into a conversation that didn’t make sense.
  • Listen and watch closely for ideas to inform your advertising beyond Discord. What can you learn from the ways Discord connects with its audience?

Contact True Interactive

Interested in exploring Discord—or another chat app? Contact us. We can help you stake your claim.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Snapchat Is Attracting More Advertisers and Users

Why Snapchat Is Attracting More Advertisers and Users

Snapchat Social media

Snapchat’s turnaround in 2020 was no fluke. The company recently reported a monster quarter, reaching its highest year-over-year revenue and daily active user (DAU) growth rate in four years. It’s time for businesses to seriously consider Snapchat as part of their game plan for reaching Gen Z and Millennial audiences. Many are already, which is why Snapchat’s ad revenue keeps rising. Let’s take a closer look.

Snapchat Reports Stunning Quarterly Growth

Snapchat’s growth for the second quarter of 2021 was nothing less than stunning. Its revenues increased to $982 million, a 116 percent increase compared to the prior year. That growth was accompanied by an increase in DAUs, an important metric because more people using Snapchat means a growing audience for advertisers. DAUs were 293 million for Q2 2021, an increase of 55 million, or 23 percent year over year. DAUs increased sequentially and year over year on both iOS (Apple) and Android (Google) platforms.

Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snapchat’s owner, Snap, said in a statement, “Our second quarter results reflect the broad-based strength of our business, as we grew both revenue and daily active users at the highest rates we have achieved in the past four years. We are pleased by the progress our team is making with the development of our augmented reality platform, and we are energized by the many opportunities to grow our community and business around the world.”

Why Is Snapchat Is Growing

Spiegel noted that Snapchat is succeeding for three reasons: a growth in augmented reality (AR) features, new content, and new advertising features. Examples of all three:

New AR Features
  • Connected Lenses, enabling Snapchatters in different locations to interact with each other through AR.
  • Several try-on capabilities with Lens Studio 4.0, including multi-person 3D body mesh, advanced cloth simulation, and a new visual effects editor for more realistic Lenses.

These are significant because AR has always been an important competitive differentiator for Snapchat, as we noted on our blog recently. Medium recently commented, “One of the reasons that Snapchat is able to carve out its own niche in the increasingly combative social media arena is its singular focus on AR-powered visual communication, which differentiates Snapchat from its competitors.”

Source: Snap investor presentation

Indeed, businesses have capitalized on Snapchat’s embrace of AR and are doing so as they gear up for the 2021 holiday shopping season. In a recent webinar, Snapchat shared example of Ugg boots, which is part of Deckers Brands. A spokesperson from Deckers Brands said that Deckers used AR in Snapchat for their holiday campaigns in 2020 to allow customers to use Ugg filters to “try on” their boots. This year, Deckers will probably do something similar with apparel, since Ugg is expanding its products into all kinds of apparel. (Deckers is no stranger to Snapchat. In this 2020 investor call, Snapchat describes how Ugg has successfully applied Snapchat’s dynamic ads feature.)

New Content
  • Eight new and renewed Snap Originals, including Swae Meets World, a documentary featuring American musician Swae Lee as he prepares to launch a solo album.
  • A record 177 new international Discover Channels, including 36 in the UK and 24 in India, one of which is a partnership with Sony Pictures Network to launch five Shows.

These developments arrived on top of Spotlight, which is Snapchat’s feature for monetizing individual creator content, launched in November 2020. New content features geared toward businesses and individual creators alike are important because they provide advertising sponsorship opportunities for brands and the growing creator economy.

Source: Snap investor presentation

New Advertising Features
  • Public Profiles for businesses, which allows any business to create a profile on Snapchat showcasing their Lenses, Highlights, Stories, and shoppable products.
  • An integration with Salesforce, allowing brands to leverage their first-party data to reach Snapchatters with relevant ads.
  • The Creator Marketplace (within self-serve Ads Manager), connecting advertisers with certified Lens Creators and facilitating the AR development process.

The Salesforce integration is especially noteworthy. With Google phasing out support for third-party cookies on the world’s most popular browser, Chrome, businesses are under more pressure to figure out how to maximize the value of their first-party data. Snapchat is sensing and responding to this need.

The news media reacted positively to Snapchat’s strong quarter. The “Yes, but can they do it again?” tone that characterized coverage of Snapchat’s positive results in 2020 subsided. For example, Meghan Bobrowsky of The Wall Street Journal portrayed Snapchat as a feisty and innovative company successfully fighting back at is copycat rivals.

She wrote, “The company, best known for disappearing photos and messages on its Snapchat app that is popular with teens and young adults, has impressed investors with its growth during the pandemic, outpacing much larger rivals. It has introduced new features to appeal to businesses beyond traditional social-media advertising, including a push into augmented reality.”

What Advertisers Should Do

We believe advertisers should take a closer look at Snapchat. Start with the creation of a Snapchat Public Profile (similar to a Facebook page) to understand how to interact with Snapchat’s audience. And understand how the Snapchat audience interacts with content. According to Snapchat, its user base, which skews toward Gen Z and younger Millennial generations, has these characteristics in common:

  • 150 percent more likely than non-Snapchatters to prefer to communicate with pictures over words.
  • Snapchatters are three times more likely than non-Snapchatters to say they are using AR more than they did last year to try on products.
  • The Snapchat Generation is 1.4 times more likely than non-Snapchatters to gravitate to immersive video and mobile games, including AR experiences.

If your brand already rocks Instagram with visual content, chances are you are well positioned to succeed on Snapchat!

Contact True Interactive

Is Snapchat a good partner for your brand’s reach? Contact us. We can advise. Learn more about our expertise with social media platforms here.

For More Insight

How Snapchat Keeps Innovating with Augmented Reality,” Bella Schneider.

Snapchat Spotlight: Advertiser Q&A,” Max Petrungaro.

Why Snapchat Keeps Growing,” Bella Schneider.

Why Twitter Spaces Matters to Brands

Why Twitter Spaces Matters to Brands

Social media

Social audio is here. In an era of social isolation brought on by the constraints of Covid-19 living, the sound of the human voice has become a profound balm. And the resultant success of live audio apps like Clubhouse has inspired other platforms to create their own alternatives to voice-based connection. Twitter’s take on the audio phenomenon? Spaces.

What Is Twitter Spaces?

Described by Twitter as “a small experiment focused on the intimacy of the human voice,” Spaces is similar to Clubhouse in that it allows users to create their own audio chat rooms and be part of rooms created by others. Conversation topics run the gamut, covering everything from popular culture to tech.

How does Spaces distinguish itself? It could be argued that some differences are purely semantics: users join “Spaces” rather than “Rooms,” for example. But Spaces has also emphasized the fact that anyone and everyone can join the app, a contrast to Clubhouse’s invite-only model. In a given Space, hosts make the choice of who to invite to a conversation. Each Space allows up to 11 people (including the host) to participate in the chat; the number of listeners allowed is unlimited.

At the moment, Spaces remains in beta mode, but Spaces is expected to open up for general use soon.

Why Twitter Spaces Matters

Twitter Spaces matters because it’s part of a larger trend: the rise of social audio. When a big player like Twitter leaps into the field with its own contribution, that’s a sign a movement has legs—that social audio is being viewed as more than a passing fad. In fact, social audio has been steadily gaining traction for a while now: according to a Nielsen report, audience use of streaming audio jumped from 50 percent to 64 percent between the first quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020. Then Covid-19 happened, and social distancing. Voice-based connection became even more welcome.

Twitter Spaces is important for another reason: it could threaten Clubhouse as the reigning king of social audio. Consider Twitter’s slate of new resources, like direct payment service SuperFollows, that might be particularly attractive to business owners. SuperFollows makes it possible for Twitter users to charge to view special tweet content, and also serves as a way for users to sell books, how-to videos, and other media. As noted in CMSWire, “These features can be combined to entice people with a consolidated platform that favors Spaces over Clubhouse for their own business.”

How Might Brands Get Involved?

Because social audio platforms are a relatively new phenomenon, the opportunities for brand involvement are still evolving. But it’s already clear that apps like Twitter Spaces create a favorable place to:

  • Gain audience feedback on your brand. The digital format reaches a wider audience, even as the audio component facilitates a genuine back-and-forth exchange.
  • Host discussions on topics relevant to your industry. Using apps like Twitter Spaces, you might invite a group of people to conversations that position you as a thought leader. (It’s also worth noting that creating a Space is easier and more cost-effective than organizing an in-person gathering.)
  • Network with other experts in your industry. By participating in conversations germane to your industry, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with other experts, in so doing enjoying an opportunity to share information and generate leads.

What Brands Should Do

Like any new app, Twitter Spaces reminds brands of what they can do to maximize digital potential. We recommend that you:

  • Treat Twitter Spaces as a focus group to learn from.
  • Get your own people involved in the platform—creating their own conversations and also understanding what topics are trending in other Spaces. (While Spaces is in beta mode, people cannot create conversations unless they have access to Spaces, but they can listen to them. However, Spaces will open up for general use soon.)
  • Take this opportunity to get your Twitter house in order. Make sure you are engaging on Twitter and building your brand there. Your involvement in Spaces will likely draw attention to your own Twitter account. Make sure your Twitter is ready for increased attention.

In short, be ready for when brands can really play on Twitter Spaces!

Contact True Interactive

Interested in social audio but not sure where to start? Contact us. We can help.

Clubhouse: An Exclusive New App Powered by Audio Chat

Clubhouse: An Exclusive New App Powered by Audio Chat

Mobile Social media

Oprah Winfrey is a fan. So is Drake. But the new social media app Clubhouse, developed by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth, is not just for celebrities. Why does Clubhouse matter to brands invested in digital? Read on to learn more.

What Is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse, an audio app that facilitates live conversation, is self-described as “a new type of social product based on voice [that] allows people everywhere to talk, tell stories, develop ideas, deepen friendships, and meet interesting new people around the world.” Conversations are not recorded or saved; when a Clubhouse cyber “room” ends, the conversation is done and gone. Participants can opt to just listen in, or they can spontaneously host their own rooms. And the topics under discussion are eclectic, ranging from talks about music to chats about film, beauty, culture, tech, and more.

Clubhouse is distinguished by the fact that it is an audio-only app. There is no feature for private messaging, and there are no written comments. It’s a conversation that just happens to take place online.

What Is the Clubhouse Experience Like?

As Michael Stelzner describes in Social Media Examiner, when you enter a room you hear the conversation going on. Participants can “raise their hand” (using the raised hand emoji) to participate, and might subsequently be invited “on stage” to join the discussion. Those who contribute to the conversation may even become moderators, which allows them to call others up on stage.

Some users find Clubhouse to be like a podcast: something they can listen to while doing other things. Some liken it to a panel discussion. The rooms cover a wide range of topics, something like AOL chat rooms from back in the day. Depending on your interests, you will find rooms devoted to, say, investment strategies for Bitcoin or daily habits for high performers, film talk, writing sessions, mindfulness tips, and much more.

Like any interactive experience, certain protocols are observed and expected. The understanding is that participants will mute themselves until they are called upon, or until they have something germane to add to the dialog. Moderators control the conversation, and rooms can run for hours.

Who’s in the Club?

The app brings a wide range of individuals—and interests—to the table. Celebs like Kevin Hart, Oprah, and Drake are already on board, drawn by the relative privacy the app affords. The app is currently invite-only; each participant is granted limited invites to extend, though the more active a participant is on the platform, the more invites they are able to share. Stelzner recommends downloading the app and setting up your account, then . . . waiting patiently. As he notes, “Someone who knows you might be notified in-app automatically and grant you access.”

Why Clubhouse Matters

Stelzner has asked other Clubhouse members to highlight reasons the app keeps drawing them back (he notes that “[n]early everyone I interviewed was a creator, marketer, or business owner”). Among the responses:

  • It’s viral. When someone you follow goes onstage, the app sends you a notification. You can click on the notification and immediately join the room as a passive listener.
  • You don’t have to be ready for your glam shot. There’s no camera; it’s just your avatar and your voice. So you can join the conversation with that shaggy Covid hair, or even while you are running errands.
  • It helps build business connections. Think the conversations that start at business conferences; this is the same thing, but online.
  • It’s a place to test ideas. Got an idea for a podcast? Clubhouse is a forum to throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks.

What We Recommend

Clubhouse, currently in beta, is only available to iPhone users; the invite-only protocol also limits availability. That said, according to wfmynews2.com, “Clubhouse claims it will eventually open up for everyone, but is attempting to ensure it takes the proper steps in doing so. They also want to make sure they can incorporate features that will be able to handle large chat rooms.”

In the meantime, the app’s very existence is a reminder of the myriad ways brands can plug into culture, understand the trends, and stay connected, even as the pandemic continues to minimize in-person contact. Clubhouse demonstrates yet another way to engage—and the importance of staying current and thinking outside the box—not just during Covid, but beyond.

What can be learned here? We suggest that you:

  • Stay abreast of the opportunities apps offer to connect with a new, diverse audience.
  • Don’t forget the power of audio in digital.
  • Understand the power of crowdsourcing new ideas or feedback on your brand.
  • Get involved. Download the app and request membership individually. Then start exploring the app in your role as your company’s brand ambassador. Network with experts in other industries. Never underestimate the value of learning from diverse startups, CEOs, tech giants—whether on an app like Clubhouse, or in other venues.

Contact True Interactive

To succeed with online advertising, contact True Interactive. Read about some of our client work here.

Why Pinterest Matters to Advertisers

Why Pinterest Matters to Advertisers

Social media

During a tough pandemic year, the image-sharing and social media service Pinterest rebounded mightily. According to cnbc.com, shares of Pinterest surged in trading late in October, closing up nearly 27 percent after a third quarter in which total revenues jumped to $443 million. That’s an increase of 58 percent year over year. Why is Pinterest growing, and what sets Pinterest apart from some of the other big advertising apps? What can you do to capitalize on what Pinterest has to offer? Read on to learn more.

Why Is Pinterest Growing?

As reported by The New York Times, widespread shelter-in-place during the pandemic has meant that expenses like travel, restaurant dining, and even clothing shopping have dropped considerably for most people. Some consumers have channeled money that might, in a different year, have gone towards an exotic vacation into purchases that help make their homes a cozy sanctuary during an uncertain time: updated furniture, for example, or new dishware. Enter Pinterest, which has become an important site for people to share ideas with one another about everything from recipes to decorating. As Emarketer analyst Andrew Lipsman notes, Pinterest is “especially well positioned for the moment.” That’s because users are looking to Pinterest for inspiration during a time when the idea of “nesting” seems more attractive than ever.

What Sets Pinterest Apart?

That connection with audience is one of the things that makes Pinterest especially interesting to advertisers. As CFA Andres Cardenal notes here, Pinterest’s business model lends itself to a symbiotic relationship between consumers and advertisers. When Pinterest users “pin” images they like to specific boards (much like someone tacking a physical artifact of a favorite recipe or vacation destination to a cork board in their office cubicle), Pinterest’s algorithm takes note and suggests new pins based on the user’s interest. (Think the coworker who might notice your Grand Canyon virtual Zoom background, and recommend checking out the hiking at Yellowstone.) Some of Pinterest’s suggestions can take the form of advertising, and as Cardenal points out, a useful ad that “gets” a user is a very different animal from invasive advertising. He also notes, “Pinterest is focused on inspiring and uplifting content, which sets it apart from the big social media platforms.” And during a chaotic year, the power of inspiration and uplift cannot be underestimated.

Another reason Pinterest is popular is because it is highly visual. We live in a visual age! As far back as 2014, Business Insider reported that people were uploading 1.8 billion images to platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat every day. Recent stats shared by the Omnicore digital marketing agency indicate that as of 2020, on Instagram alone, 995 photos are uploaded every second. And people respond to images: as HubSpot noted earlier this year, Tweets with images earn 150 percent more retweets than tweets without; Facebook posts with images enjoy 2.3 times more engagement than those without; and articles with an image every 75 to 100 words get double the social media shares compared to articles incorporating fewer images. Bottom line: content with visuals gets shared and liked more than content that lacks visuals. There is no turning back.

Finally, Pinterest is interesting to advertisers because it’s a hub for cultural trends. As noted in yahoo!finance, Pinterest and its advertisers take trend-watching seriously. Witness the Pinterest 100, the platform’s annual report that showcases emerging trends around the world. Pinterest is a goldmine for understanding not only what is popular, but what’s coming next. And if, as a brand, you understand the trends, you can learn where your particular “in” is. You’ll stay relevant.

What You Can Do

Advertisers can benefit from Pinterest’s uplifting connect with its users, visual nature, and understanding of what’s cool. We recommend that you:

  • Dig deeper into Pinterest’s user base. Understand who they are. As reported by Omnicore, 69 percent of Pinterest users are between the ages of 18 and 49. These are folks with a lot of earning power—more so than younger teens, say, who might more likely be found on TikTok or Snapchat. Pinners are also more likely to be women: 71 percent, according to the Omnicore stats. How does your messaging resonate with this audience?
  • Get to know Pinterest advertising options, such as:
    • Promoted Pins appear in the search results and home feed as regular pins do, but they are boosted and targeted to deliver more reach. Users can pin them to boards, comment on them, and share them. Note that after a Promoted Pin is shared once by a Pinner, the “Promoted” label disappears, with repins considered “earned media.”
    • Promoted Carousels feature two to five images that users can swipe through. This can be a useful format for brands who wish to showcase multiple products or features.

Contact True Interactive

Can Pinterest help you connect with your audience in new and exciting ways? Contact us to learn more.

Facebook Harnesses the Power of Visual Storytelling

Facebook Harnesses the Power of Visual Storytelling

Facebook

Facebook has demonstrated time and again an uncanny ability to tap into popular interests. Most recently, the social behemoth, which continues to strengthen itself by launching new features and by making acquisitions, demonstrates why visual storytelling can be a powerful ally to brands and an important tool in their marketing toolbox. Read on to learn more:

Acquisition of GIPHY

Facebook’s interest in visual storytelling compelled it to buy Instagram back in 2012, and the company has never looked back. Its recent agreement to buy GIPHY, the popular platform of sharable animated images, or GIFs, and integrate it with Instagram, continues the trend. In an announcement made May 15, 2020, Instagram’s Vice President of Product Vishal Shah spoke to the reported $400 million GIPHY acquisition by saying the move will give users the opportunity to “find just the right way to express themselves.” A GIF, or Graphics Interchange Format, is a form of visual storytelling, of course. Like popular multimedia platform Snapchat, which has challenged users to be as entertaining as possible in 10 seconds or less, GIFs allow people to express themselves in a punchy, visual format.

Think about the applications here: Shah’s comment about personal expression applies to businesses, too. In fact, as Adweek points out, companies are already creating GIFs as “snackable” videos that consumers will feel inspired to share.

Look no further than PepsiCo, which in February rolled out thousands of GIFs (created using GIPHY) to promote Bubly, their new sparkling water brand. The GIFs, hundreds of which feature actor Neil Patrick Harris, were devised so that consumers looking to express that they’re “annoyed,” say, or that they feel like “dancing,” may happen upon one of the Bubly GIF ads and share it (whether they are aware it’s an ad or not). Bubly also partnered with Michael Bublé to create a series of clever GIFs.

The secret to GIFs is that they concisely express a mood that’s relatable, authentic, and shareable, as opposed to demonstrating a full narrative arc, as is done in the familiar ad format.

Getting Personal with Avatars

In the vein of encouraging people to express themselves, Facebook has also recently rolled out its Avatar feature for U.S. users (the feature was launched in other countries last year). As CNN reports, Facebook users can now personalize their responses with a cartoon avatar that looks like them, rather than relying solely on the now-familiar stable of emojis like the thumbs up or sad face. “With so many emotions and expressions to choose from, avatars let you react and engage more authentically with family and friends across the app,” Fidji Simo, the head of Facebook’s app, said in a post.

Again, the relevance doesn’t just apply to individuals. A January 2020 Digiday article discusses how companies are using avatars to engage with consumers. Brands like Cheetos, for example, have empowered users to interact with avatars created using the Genies app, allowing consumers to choose from design “wheels” of options to dress their avatars in Cheetos-inspired garb. Gucci, New Balance, and the NBA have also used Genies avatars in their marketing strategies.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Genies maintains their own avatar talent agency, and celebrities including Jennifer Lopez have their own official Genies, which companies can “hire” for their campaigns. Notably, it’s not just the high-powered brands that are working with avatars. As Digiday points out, avatars are also being tapped by smaller companies seeking cost-effective brand awareness campaigns with a custom feel.

Why Visual Storytelling Matters

The wisdom of Facebook’s embrace of visual storytelling is backed by statistics. According to Brain Rules, relevant images help us remember 65 percent of content, even days later. Most people are visual learners, as Digital Arts online points out. And Generation Z, also called the “visual-driven generation” because of their fondness for digital tools, is the largest population cohort in the United States. Born in the 2000s, this group is aging into a powerful demographic: surveys indicate that Gen Z is likely to make up 40 percent of all consumers in 2020.

In short, brands interested in meeting consumers where they are at are wise to appreciate the significance of visual storytelling.

Embracing Visual Storytelling

We urge all brands to embrace visual storytelling, and we’ve blogged often about how to do so:

  • Instagram is an essential platform to tell your brand’s story, as we note here.
  • Facebook livestreaming is gaining popularity in lieu of companies holding live events, as we discuss here.

Contact True Interactive

Bottom line: visual storytelling is hot! Take advantage of it now. And remember: we can help.

How to Connect with U.S. Hispanics through Online Advertising

How to Connect with U.S. Hispanics through Online Advertising

Advertising

As the U.S. Hispanic population continues to gain spending clout, many brands are responding with multi-cultural advertising, specifically geared to the Hispanic population and including online advertising in Spanish. Reaching out to a Hispanic audience requires an understanding of both language and cultural nuances. Businesses need to do their homework carefully to connect with Hispanics in authentic ways. If you are one of those businesses, here are some tips to consider:

1 Make sure you understand nuances of language, such as idioms or vocabulary that vary by audience

The U.S. Hispanic population is diverse, as discussed in this article from the Pew Research Center. While in cities like Houston, more than two in three Hispanics are of Mexican descent, other origin groups predominate elsewhere. Puerto Ricans are the largest Hispanic group in the Orlando, Florida, metro area, for example. As in English, there are words and phrases that vary by region or country and can signal where a speaker is from. The Spanish spoken in Spain is different from that in Mexico, Puerto Rico, or Venezuela.

For example, “glasses” in Mexico are “lentes”; in Spain they are “gafas.” And while some Mexican Spanish is similar to the English—e.g., “computadora” means “computer”—the Spanish words can be very different in other countries. In Spain, “ordenador” is the Spanish word for “computer.” Brands looking to create video/aural content to reach Hispanic audiences should also be aware of pronunciation differences. When a z or appears before an i or e in a word, the sounds translates to an s in Mexican Spanish. But it’s a th in Spain.

Idioms and slang also differ. “Camión” means “truck” in much of Latin America, but in Mexico it’s also slang for formal and informal route buses. And while “padre” means “father,” in Mexican slang it can also mean “cool.” Perhaps most important, some Spanish words have taken on awkward alternate meanings that could prove embarrassing if used by advertisers. Know the slang.

Bottom line: knowing Spanish is one thing, but knowing how to tailor an ad to accommodate cultural difference is another challenge. To successfully localize your ads and ensure your message is clear, make sure you’re using the same language as the speakers in your target market.

2 Consider the entire journey

Creating a seamless user experience is the key to effective advertising. An ad in Spanish doesn’t help much if the audience clicks through to a landing page that fails to accommodate Spanish, or a customer service rep who does not speak Spanish. Just as imagery needs to remain consistent across all consumer touchpoints, language needs to remain constant in a user experience. If your audience has a positive experience with your brand—one that makes them feel more at ease and able to find clear information—your brand will benefit.

How does a brand create this experience? Look no further than McDonald’s, which provides a good example of how to manage the customer journey in Spanish. People searching for a “McDonald’s near me” in Spanish might get an ad from McDonald’s that shows up in Spanish, as shown below:

If you click on one of the products featured in the ad — say “Ensalada de Pollo & Tocino”—you are taken to a McDonald’s landing page that allows you to change the language to Spanish.

McDonald’s understands that an advertisement is part of a connected experience, and each element of the experience needs to work in lockstep with the other. They also understand this: if the audience has a positive experience with a brand—one that makes them feel more at ease and able to find clear information—the brand will benefit.

3 Be culturally relevant

Find things that connect culturally with your Hispanic audience. According to a 2018 Monitor Study conducted by Kantar Consulting, which analyzed the state of the U.S. consumer marketplace, Hispanic cultural and community identity is at an all-time high. In a Forbes discussion of the study, Isaac Mizrahi notes, “Hispanics lead and over-index all other ethnic segments in cultural connection elements such as family, history, food, language, recipes and music.” That’s huge, as is the revelation that 59 percent of Hispanics think their cultural background strongly influences their buying decisions.

Fifty-nine percent of Hispanics also indicate that they seek brands that recognize and celebrate their culture’s unique traditions. The emphasis here should be on unique: just as language can vary by Hispanic region or country of origin (point 1, above), so can, for example, holidays. Carnival is celebrated in Brazil. Independence Day and Day of the Dead are important to Mexicans. Informed advertisers understand this.

And as Maria Amor, VP of Havas Formulatin, points out in PRWeek, family is a key aspect of Hispanic culture. Hispanic millennials have stronger family ties than many of their non-Hispanic peers, for example, and brands that want to connect in a meaningful way with a Hispanic audience need to understand this.

In short, know your audience and reach out in a way that is relevant to them.

4 Don’t set it and forget it

You might be tempted to use tools such as Google Ads to create campaigns that automatically translate English to Spanish. These tools can help you, but they should not replace people. The flaw in many auto-translate programs is that they use a direct word translation, without considering the context or regional variations of the translated words. There’s no nuance. This can lead to confusion at best, and be seriously off-putting at worst, ultimately preventing an audience from connecting with your brand. Human judgment is key to navigating nuances in culture and regional idioms.

Contact True Interactive

Eager to learn more about digitally connecting with a Hispanic audience? Contact us. We can help.

Photo by Ana Rojas on Unsplash