Self-Referencing Drives Social Media Ad Conversion Among U.S. Hispanics

February 19, 2019 Author: Mario X. Carrasco

Latino consumers are younger than the general population, according to Pew Research Center, more digitally connected, according to Think Now Research, and lead the pack in social media usage.

According to the 2018 Multicultural Digital Report, at 8:00 p.m. every night, for example, a whopping 70% of Latinos in the $75K-plus income bracket are on social media. This compares to just 55% of non-Hispanic whites in the same earnings segment.

Hispanics, along with Asians (each 69%), lead all ethnic groups in daily Facebook usage. Latinos are also top subscribers on Instagram (45%) and Snapchat (34%). And they outperform other groups in using Instant Messenger (62%) and in streaming music (47%).

But when targeting Hispanics, companies’ use and effectiveness of social media marketing initiatives could be much higher. Today, just 14.3% of digital ad spending targets Hispanics—even though they represent 18.1% of the population. In contrast, 65.9% of digital spending is aimed at non-Hispanic whites, which account for 60.7% of the populace.

One reason for this incongruity is that marketers do not always effectively communicate with this valuable ethnic group. Regardless of preferred language or assimilation level, Hispanics of all generations embrace certain cultural values. When presented with culturally relevant marketing content, Latinos consciously or unconsciously self-reference.

The Value Of Self-Referencing

In the psychology world, self-referencing is defined as people’s ability to better remember information when that information is linked to the “self”—or the habits, values and lifestyle--that an individual is familiar with. In marketing, the concept is similar. Results include heightened ad recall and more favorable reception of ads.

Self-referencing is particularly effective in marketing to Hispanics. Take the case of Nike. When ThinkNow tested two digital ads on the SnapShot platform, 43% of Hispanics who watched the self-referencing ad reported that this “ad was made for me” versus only 29% of non-Hispanic whites. An even more impactful metric was the 10 point lift that occurred with product affinity when self-referencing was used. Fifty-four percent of Hispanics who watched the self-referencing ad agreed with the statement “I like this product” versus only 44% of non-Hispanic whites.

Parallel Growth

Both the Hispanic population and the group’s interest in social media should continue to grow. From 2010 to 2019, the U.S. Hispanic population increased 12.8%. Through 2023, growth is expected to be around 6.1%.

Most growth is coming from U.S. Hispanic births, not immigration. This makes younger Hispanics particularly important. Among Hispanics ages 18 to 34, 60% enjoy sharing content on social media, 49% like expressing their views through social media, 41% trust what people say regarding brands via social media and 41% seek friends’ advice through social media when making purchasing decisions. These numbers are higher than for all other adult age groups.

What Does This All Mean?

Most small businesses understand the significance of social media, a medium that represented 50% of all ad sales in 2018 and is projected to comprise 69% by 2023. Equally significant is knowing how to connect with the target consumer.

In an omnichannel market that continues to grow increasingly complex and competitive, brands must identify and measure the power of each insight as it relates to their business and target each customer segment based on its economic (topline) contribution. Self-referencing lets the Hispanic consumer know your brand is speaking directly to them.

This blog post was originally published on Engage: Hispanics