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Marketers are looking more closely at platforms such as mobile, social media, and location-based applications to reach multicultural audiences, and are turning their focus away from websites and online ads, finds the [download page] Association of National Advertisers (ANA) in an October 2012 report. While those latter platforms are still the most used, roughly two-thirds are now using social media (up 8% points from 2010) and mobile marketing (up 5% points), and location-based app adoption has jumped 30% points, from just 2% to 32%. Also seeing rapid growth in take-up over the past 2 years are wikis (up 21% points to 32%), webinars (up 20% points to 45%), and blogs (up 17% points to 44%).

That increased use of blogs may be aimed primarily at Hispanic audiences. In an April 2012 report, Nielsen revealed that Hispanics are highly engaged with blogs, being 17% more likely than the average American online adult to build or update a personal blog. According to Nielsen’s figures, unique Hispanic visitors (from home and work computers) to WordPress in February 2012 numbered 2.5 million, up 27% year-over-year, while unique visitors to Tumblr numbered 2.3 million, a dramatic 85% year-over-year increase. In fact, Nielsen notes that among the top social networks in the US, Tumblr has the highest concentration of Hispanic visitors.

Microblogging site Twitter also experienced a 32% jump in Hispanic unique visitors, to 3.4 million. This year, 45% of multicultural marketers told the ANA they are using Twitter, up from 35% in 2010.

Newer Media Trialed at Expense of Traditional Budgets

Details from the ANA’s “2012 Multicultural Marketing and Newer Media Survey” indicate that newer media platforms are being most often funded by shifting dollars from the traditional (general market) media and marketing communications budget, with 56% of respondents saying this is the case. Half as many say they are funding these newer platforms through incremental budgets, while 22% say the funds are being shifted from the multicultural media and marketing communications budget.

Still, efforts to shift funding to new platforms sometimes need to overcome internal resistance: almost half of respondents said that when they are adopting or considering adopting newer media platforms, they are concerned with a reluctance to move funds from “tried and true” practices of the past. That’s up from just one-third expressing such a concern in 2010.

It bears noting that in the report, “newer media platforms” appears to be a catch-all term for digital channels, as it includes more mature digital channels such as websites, banner ads, and email, among others.

Hispanics Most-Targeted; Big Spenders Go After Less Popular Audiences

Asked which specific multicultural customer segments they are targeting with newer media platforms, 88% of the marketers said that they target Hispanics, while 54% target African-Americans, 37% target Asians, and 11% the LBGT community.

Interestingly, these responses diverge by company type and budgets. B2B companies, for example, are more likely than B2C respondents to target Asians (50% vs. 34%). Sticking with the Asian demographic, companies with annual revenues of more than $10 billion are also more likely to target this audience than companies with annual revenues less than $10 billion (46% vs. 35%). And among companies with advertising budgets of more than $100 million, 56% are targeting Asian audiences, compared to 30% of those companies with smaller ad budgets.

In fact, marketers that have more than $100 million in ad budgets to play with are more likely than the average to target African Americans (78% vs. 54%), Asians (56% vs. 37%), and the LGBT community (22% vs. 11%).

Other Findings:

  • 63% of multicultural marketers are using in-language websites to reach multicultural customers. That’s actually down a percentage point from 2010.
  • 69% have a dedicated internal team for multicultural initiatives. 52% use external multicultural agencies for multicultural initiatives, while 40% use an external general agency for such initiatives.

About the Data: The ANA report describes its methodology as follows:

“This report covers the findings from an online survey conducted by the ANA during June and July of 2012. The objective of this survey was to understand how marketers are reaching out to their multicultural customer segments via newer media platforms (e.g., social media and mobile campaigns). In total, 106 client-side marketers are represented in the survey. Participants included members of the ANA survey community who are periodically surveyed on a range of timely, industry-related topics as well as targeted ANA members with multicultural marketing interests. Respondents to this survey have 14 years of experience in marketing, on average…

Please note that comparisons between the 2012 and 2010 Multicultural Marketing and Newer Media surveys should be directional; the survey bases differ in size (base of 106 in 2012 versus 64 in 2010) and scope (2010 base had a heavier concentration of respondents with job titles directly related to multicultural marketing).”

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