Yahoo and broadcaster Telemundo are expected to announce a deal to merge their Spanish language U.S. websites, the Wall Street Journal reported today. Company executives of both said it was a "test bed" for future deals involving the two companies, according to the report. So what does this mean for average Joe (or Jane) website owner and webmaster? A lot, a whole lot actually. In short, it's time to recognize the importance of marketing outside of your cultural paradigm.
Culturally relevant online marketing plans are becoming critical for online enterprises of all types as the U.S. population becomes increasingly diverse and the buying power of the U.S. Hispanic market becomes more significant. There were 15.7 million Hispanic internet users in the United States in 2005, according to eMarketer, rising to 16.7 million in 2006. The number of users is expected to grow by 33 percent over the next five years, reaching 20.9 million in 2010.
The Hispanic online population is young - 58% are under 35, according to eMarketer. It is estimated that by 2010, Hispanic Internet users under 35 will reach 12.1 million. As it is in the general Internet population, the under-35 crowd is highly sought after and more likely to use mobile technology, participate in blogging and visit social networking sites. Even more staggering, one-third of all Hispanic people in the U.S. will be under 18 by 2010.
There is yet another dimension to this important demographic. Many in the Hispanic youth population live in multiple cultural environments. They share traditional interests passed through their parents and grandparents, and they share interests with the general U.S. youth population - iPods, Sidekicks, mobile phone technology, music sharing and sites such as MySpace, to name a few. The U.S. Hispanic youth population speaks Spanish, English and a mixture of both. This will affect content, search keywords and optimization of sites all across the Web.
This is clearly an important and rapidly growing Internet population. The onus will be on marketers, online retailers and website owners to optimize their sites and services to reach this powerful group and stay ahead of the game.
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