Targeting Latin American and U.S. Hispanics is a Safe Bet: SES Latino

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MIAMI - If you are a marketer and not targeting Latin Americans and U.S. Hispanics with your search engine marketing campaign, you are neglecting a large section of the search market.

This was the topic July 10 at a session called "The Opportunity: Tapping into U.S. Hispanics and Latin Americans via Search" at the Search Engine Strategies Conference and Expo Latino '06.

"Argentina, Brazil and Mexico are the largest portions of the Latin American market, as 72 percent of users searching online reside in these countries," said Gaston Taratuta, president of Internet Media Services, Miami.

Brazil has an average 650 million searches per month, Mexico 250 million and Argentina 100 million, further emphasizing opportunity within this market, Mr. Taratuta said.

But Latin America is not the only market that advertisers should be targeting.

Hispanics within the United States are a great market as well. These 44 million individuals have annual purchasing power of $575 billion.

"There is a lot of growth potential for the Hispanic market in the U.S. [as the] population continues to grow 5.4 percent annually," said Eduardo Valades, president of Mexico-based iHispanic Marketing Group.

He also said that search is the No. 2 reason that Hispanics in the United States and in Latin America use the Internet. The No. 1 reason was to check e-mail.

A senior Google Mexico executive and fellow panelist underscored search's role in the buying process.

"Search is pervasive in Latin America," said Gonzalo Alonso, general director of Google Mexico. "The decision to buy is made online and this is true for Latin Americans and Hispanics in the U.S."

Mr. Alonzo also said that advertising through search allows advertisers to know their consumers and what they are thinking.

"[Internet] user growth is likely to continue to grow at a double-digit pace and penetration is likely to expand towards 2 billion in the next 10 years," said Peter Celeste, regional general manager for the Americas at Yahoo Search Marketing.

"Yahoo Telemundo reaches about 75 percent, or 12.5 million U. S. Hispanics, each month, opening the doors for marketers to target this particular audience effectively," Mr. Celeste said. "In addition, the population is projected to go up by 30 percent in the next few years."

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