Implementing your Search Strategy for the Latino Market, Part 2

In part 1 of Implementing your Search Strategy for the Latino Market, we covered some ways to implement essential planning strategies from the production side. In this final installment, we will look at some marketing strategies for your site, and offer a resource list to promote your content in Latino Web sites, vertical search services, and Latino ad and social networks.

A special report from the Search Engine Strategies Latino conference, June 18-19, 2007, in Miami, Florida.

Promotion: Submitting Your Latino-optimized Content

Region-Specific Search Engines

Google has the largest search share in most Latin American countries, with Yahoo and MSN typically in the runners-up positions. After Google, Marcello Santiago of MediaClick recommends targeting region-specific search engines, which can be more popular than some of the global brand search engines and a better way to reach your regional audience. For example, Santiago says that in Brazil, the regional search engine UOL Busca is more popular than both Yahoo and MSN.

"Region-specific search engines can also be considerably more popular and targeted when dealing with vertical search, such as shopping, local, maps, and especially mobile," he says.

Latino News Wires

Hispanic PR Wire (partnered with Business Wire) and Marketwire are the top news distribution services for targeting Latino media and search engines. Both offer industry and regional categorization, plus Spanish and Portuguese language translation services. PRWeb is limited by comparison, featuring just a "Hispanic" industry target/category.

Latino Podcast Directories

With the exception of Apple's iTunes Latino released last November, the major podcast directories don't yet have a true category reserved for "Hispanic/Latino." That being said, there are some podcast directories that do show a fair amount of Latino podcasts that appear in their own search results under "latino" and "hispanic." Places where you should submit your own Latino-oriented podcasts include:

  • Yahoo Podcasts
  • PodcastDirectory.com – Hispanic Podcasts
  • DigitalPodcast.com

Podcasts themselves can be excellent sources of content partnerships. See which podcasts show up at the top of podcast directory search results and are relevant to your own site and/or business, and contact these podcast producers with content offers – such as a episodic feature, interviews, or even doing a show sponsorship with your own "contextual advertising" as an intro, bumper, or closing feature.

Latin American Video Search Engines

YouTube is the top video search site in the U.S., and naturally is the top video search site with U.S. Hispanics and Latin Americans as well. (In some Latin American countries like Brazil, YouTube even gathers higher traffic than the major universal search sites like Yahoo and MSN.) Options for submitting your own video content targeted at Latinos include:

  • For the Spanish speaking audience with both US Hispanics and Latin America – Spanish YouTube
  • For the Portuguese-speaking Latin American audience – Brazil YouTube

Latin American shopping search

  • Among the global search brands, MSN's international shopping actually has a leg up over competitors Google and Yahoo. MSN features regional shopping search sites for both Mexico ("MSN Compras") and Brazil.
  • For shopping-exclusive search sites, PriceGrabber stands out with its US Spanish, Mexico, and Brazil versions – all under the name "PrecioMania."
  • For Latin American shopping search sites. One notable is Livra, which includes regional shopping sites for Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. Among Brazil-exclusive shopping search sites, check out Mercado Livre, as recommended by Marcelo Santiago of MediaClick.

Latino Social Network Services

As described in Wikipedia, a social network service focuses on the building and verifying of online social networks for communities of people who share interests and activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. They are primarily Web-based and provide a collection of various ways for users to interact, such as chat, messaging, e-mail, video, voice chat, file sharing, blogging, discussion groups, and so on.

Social network services are also referred to as social content networks, or SCNs. Search marketers can best utilize SCNs by doing the following:

  • Actively participate in SCNs, with both helpful information and inquiries (Q&A), assistance, and commentary.
  • Encourage follow-up content from others – a.k.a. "buzz" – in the SCN community on your own content and brand, including contributing to the buzz of others.
  • Get lots of links from other sites considered relevant to your target market.

Rafael Jiménez, general manager of the advertising and publisher group for Yahoo Hispanic Americas, says one of the most popular online communities in the regional Latino culture (with over 20 million Latino users), that search engine marketers should definitely target, is the Q&A site Yahoo Answers, which features US Spanish, Mexico, and Brazil versions.

For those possessing Spanish language aptitude, Christian Van Der Henst, CEO of Maestros Del Web, recommends participating in any of the following popular regional and country-specific SCNs:

  • MySpace in EspaÑol, Mexico, and Latin America
  • Subela.net (US and multiple Latin America countries with the highest internet penetration.)
  • rankeAr.com
  • meneame
  • tuteame
  • MiGente

Van Der Henst also suggests creating and maintaining blogs in your target demographic and region, along with commenting on and offering contributions (and advertising) for the more popular and customer-specific. Some good Spanish language blog networks include:

  • blogalaxia.com
  • weblogssl.com

Latino "Link Contractors"

Are you considering commissioning Latinos and owners of Web sites popular with the Latino market to talk about you and link to your own Web site? If so, Van Der Henst also suggests checking out these vendor sites:

  • Review Me – allows you to purchase a review of your product or service directly from a target blog.
  • Text Link Ads – offers both English and Spanish languages sites for buying links for your own Web site.
  • Linkicidad – link purchasing for Spanish-language exclusive sites.

It is especially important to consider the quality of your links for improving your performance in the Latin American search engines. Some tips given by the speakers:

  • Get links from Spanish sites using local domains.
  • Have Spanish language sites link directly to Spanish language content on your site.
  • If you are buying links, make sure they're from Latin American sites.

Latino Search Engine Advertising Selections

Search marketers must know the service capabilities of the global-brand search engine vendors servicing Latino regional markets. Paul Saffrey, managing director of SilverDisc Chile, says you should compare search engines advertising geo-targeting capabilities for Latino markets, since not all of the features and reach that are already provided in their U.S. version may carry over to Latin America or with U.S. Hispanic segments.

At SES Latino, Brad Geddes of LocalLaunch presented a comparison chart of the Latino-targeting capabilities between Google AdWords, MSN adCenter, and Yahoo Search Marketing. When measuring by breadth of features – including Spanish language capabilities (allowing Spanish keywords, Spanish Ads, mixing and matching) along with targeting capabilities (foreign countries, language, demographic, dayparting, and region-specific IPs), in both features and reach, Google appears as the best overall choice.

Google's advantages include:

  • Geo-targeting of regions and cities in both Latin America and highly populated Hispanic areas inside the U.S.
  • Pre-selecting keywords to see a list of Google Network sites that match Latino-oriented topics
  • Multiple demographic selection. (Very handy for segmenting the 34-and-younger age demographic, which comprises about 72 percent of all U.S. Hispanic searchers.)

This is not to say these items are exclusive to Google. Yahoo, by comparison of features and reach, comes in a close second, and already has announced expansion plans in the Latino market for later this year. MSN's adCenter lags considerably, as it does not allow for any Spanish language keywords or ads.

But what if you're looking to tap into ad network opportunities where the focus is exclusively on the Latin American and U.S. Latino market? Then check out Directa Click.Fox , the largest online ad network in all of Latin America with its own exclusive content network of 35 sites such as mundofox. Natgeo.tv, utilisima.com, and canalfx.tv.

Go "Contextual" with Latino Search Advertising

Several speakers agreed that when it comes to reaching the largest available Latino audience online, contextual advertising will bring in far more impressions than just keyword search alone can.

MartÍn Maslo, founder & CEO of Resultics, offers this advice: "Use smartly contextual networks and site targeting to reach large audiences at low costs. The content network you can reach with SEM campaigns in Latin America is huge. But you have to take care to choose the right set of keywords, and treat them as different campaigns... Each area has a local opportunity. Different methods work better in different areas. Look for low CPC's in one country compared to others."

Sarah Carberry, multicultural development manager for Google, shared that Google has many partners in their contextual search space with AdWords campaigns that have high Latino traffic, including MySpace, MySpace Espanol, and plenty of US and international Spanish and Spanish language sites.

Essential Latino Search Campaign Tips

  • Localization. (aka, "regionalization.") "Latin America has a complex local market," says Maslo. "Specifically design your campaigns for the local market, including the local media." Matt Williams, VP of Prominent Placement, concurs by saying you should create country-specific, regionally-targeted, even demographically targeted, Latino-oriented campaigns. Lucas Morea, CEO of LatinEdge, agrees: "You want to see the users interact with your brand in a constant way. The more localized you go, the more custom you have to be." Carberry also recommends search marketers select Google Maps (in the Google AdWords program) for localized, geo-targeted advertising to U.S. regions and cities with high Hispanic populations.
  • Acculturation. "Each Hispanic group has its own set of values and traditions and you can take advantage of this to engage them," says Alvarez.
  • Seasonality. Matt Williams, VP of Prominent Placement, says to follow important dates in local countries, which you can target by using acculturation models. Some examples given by Williams on what to follow include: Seasonal weather differences between southern and northern hemispheres, business cycles, elections, sporting events, festivals, and holidays.

Tracking and Measuring your Latino Optimized Search Campaign

While tracking Latino campaigns definitely adds to the overall amount of analytics work, Williams own work experiences with Latino campaigns didn't lead to any difference in approach from his company's U.S.-regional and English language campaigns.

"The only real difference for us is increased quantity of what to track and try to make smart decisions about," says Williams. "In a few cases, we'll have to take some time when we see a new phrase or term show in the log files. Since none of us speak Spanish or Portuguese, we have to break out the dictionary to see if it's something related to our campaign and if we need to incorporate it." Williams recommendation is to segment your performance models, and figure out how they react and engage in all environments.

Conclusion

  • Do a Spanish language search campaign at a targeted audience(s).
  • For the most relevant searches, combine geographically targeted keywords with Spanish keywords.
  • Don't rely on just translation, use acculturation.
  • Localization and seasonality.
  • Focus on the younger market.
  • Tap into international Web sites and social community networks.

Grant Crowell is the Senior Project Director for Grantastic Designs, and a contributor to the Search Engine Watch Blog, focusing on video search topics. Grant also serves as a video production and optimization consultant, and produces documentary video content for Walking Eagle Productions.

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