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The Evolution of Media Consumption Amongst U.S. Hispanics and Its Effect on Law Firm Marketing

Nanato Media

For decades, the most important marketing mediums for law firms were television and radio. 

Of course, a few other options deserved attention, too. 

The sides of buses and the benches people sat on when waiting for them were always popular.

Obviously, billboards did really well in certain markets, too.

But nothing compared to getting in front of potential clients using TV and radio ads.

Then, the Internet came along, became widespread, and eventually led the way for social media and mobile devices.

Nowadays, these two formats reign supreme for law firm marketing, especially if you want to engage Hispanic prospects. This demographic has quickly transformed from one that was ideal for radio and TV to one that is perfect for social media and mobile marketing.

The sooner you understand why and adjust your methods accordingly, the faster you’ll grow your firm. 

What Law Firm Marketing for Hispanics Used to Look Like

Before we dive into what currently works best for marketing your law firm to Hispanics, let’s take a moment to understand why TV and radio used to be the easy choices.

Even though we believe these mediums are past their prime – and will prove as much in this article – we know that some of our clients wondered if they should still make room in their marketing budgets for them.

So, why were TV and radio so effective at engaging with Hispanic prospects in the past?

The easy answer is simply that, before the Internet, these were the two most popular electronic mediums for delivering entertainment and information. 

However, just likes TV and radio stole the spotlight from books and magazines, these two mediums are now losing users because of the Internet. 

Radio and television aren’t just dropping in popularity among Hispanics, either. They’re dropping among everybody because the Internet has largely made them obsolete.

The Downfall of Television

One of the most dramatic illustrations of this phenomenon is how TV networks have actually increased the number of commercials they showeven as viewers flee to YouTube and streaming services to avoid them.

Why?

Because this massive migration is giving networks no other option in order to make up for lost profits:

“As TV viewership declines and more consumers jump to streaming services like Netflix, media companies have only a couple of options to generate the advertising revenue that Wall Street expects: They can raise prices, run more commercials or do a little of both.”

That’s not exactly a recipe that inspires confidence, is it?

Not surprisingly, many experts have predicted that “the future of television” is in streaming services, where fewer, if any, ads are necessary to post profits.

After all, when’s the last time you’ve looked forward to ads?

[The Super Bowl doesn’t count]

Back in 2018, the writing was already on the wall – loud and clear. At the time, a Forbes article reported that TV ad spend was falling in the U.S.  while digital ad spend was climbing all the way to $107 billion:

“Last year, TV ad spending in the U.S. saw a first-time drop since 2009. With the double-digit growth of digital video, TV ad spend will continue to decline this year with TV’s share of total U.S. media ad spending dropping from 33.9% in 2017 to 31.6%.”

This was before Disney bought a controlling interest in Hulu, Disney Plus debuted, Apple TV+ launched, and a number of other streaming services made things even more difficult for TV stations.

The Imminent Death of Radio

It looks as though radio is guaranteed the same fate for the same reason. As a post on Digital Music News proclaimed, the evidence is undeniable, “Radio Is Dead in 10 years.”

…that was 3 years ago.

The summation of the article paints a stark picture:

“Young people have fled terrestrial radio.  The medium now brings in less revenue than streaming platforms.  People purchase smart speakers to listen to “’better music.’”

The article – which looks at a study performed by Larry Miller, Director of NYU’s Steinhardt Music Business Program – actually lists eight compelling reasons radio is on its last legs.

One that is particularly interesting is that car manufacturers have begun to abandon radio:

“…Miller notes that in-car media screens allow easier access to platforms like Spotify, Pandora, and iTunes.”

In the actual report itself, he explains:

“AM/FM controls are often found below this screen, rendering them less prominent and less accessible than in the past.”

It doesn’t bode well for radio that vehicles – one of the most common places for listening to radio – are beginning to phase out this technology.

Hispanics Are Fleeing TV and Radio 

Even though it’s clear that TV and radio are going the way of the dinosaurs, there still seems to be a lot of confusion over whether or not these mediums work well for engaging Hispanics. 

That’s because it’s true that this market once loved both. We still hear this a lot from clients who are hesitant about making the jump to social and mobile marketing. There seems to be a stubborn belief that Hispanics have somehow remained impervious to the evolution of media consumption in this country. Despite what literally everyone else is doing, they’re remaining loyal to outdated technology because…reasons?

To be fair, Hispanics were definitely among the last markets to switch over, although not by much. We’ll cover this topic more in just a moment, but advances in technology have ensured this switch is permanent. If you’re hanging on to the hope that your Hispanic market will return to their old listening habits, we have a bridge to sell you.

[Note: We don’t actually have a bridge for sale. That was a joke. We do offer a number of helpful marketing services for law firms, though. Those are real. We promise).

Anyway, as recently as 2018, Nielsen reported that radio was the leadingreach vehicle for both Hispanic and Black consumers.

For proponents of radio ads, this has come as welcomed news. They interpret it to mean that you can continue relying on this medium despite the fact that every other demographic is leaving it behind.

However, this Nielsen report reveals an important truth that is all-too-often ignored by those who still think radio is a great medium for engaging Hispanics:

“Black and Hispanic consumers are leading the way when it comes to interest in and adoption of both smart speakers and streaming services.”

For example, here’s how Hispanic adoption rates compare to those of the White population:

  • Percentage with smart speakers in the home:
    • Hispanic: 21%
    • White: 18%
  • Percentage interested in smart speakers:
    • Hispanic: 45%
    • White: 40%
  • Percentage using audio streaming services:
    • Hispanic: 58%
    • White: 36%
  • Percentage interested in audio streaming services:
    • Hispanic: 35%
    • White: 24%

As you can see, the Hispanic market loves listening to content, which is why radio adoption remains high compared to other demographics.

BUT it’s also why the Hispanic market is leading the way when it comes to adopting new technology for listening to content and, therefore, leaving radio behind. 

Even more important, U.S. Hispanics are fleeing TV at about the same rate:

According [to] the survey of more than 1,000 Hispanic consumers in the US, both English and Spanish-speaking, digital audio is on par with digital video in terms of Hispanics’ consumption. Indeed, an equal share (42%) of respondents said they spend at least 6 hours per week listening to digital audio and watching digital video. Overall, slightly more say they listen to digital audio on a weekly basis than say they watch digital video each week.

So, yes, Hispanics still watch TV and listen to the radio. 

Many of them may still use fax machines or watch the occasional VHS. That doesn’t mean either technology is worth your investment. 

Why Digital Media Has Become the Best Medium for Marketing to U.S. Hispanics  

If you had an unlimited budget, we’d probably recommend you put some of it into TV and radio. While you’re at it, you might as well pay door knockers to market your law firm. Hire one of those pilots to trail a banner with your number on it, too.

We’re guessing your budget has a limit, though. 

We’re also guessing you’d like to make the most of it.

That’s why we recommend focusing on digital media when allocating funds for marketing. This is good advice for any target market, but it turns out that Hispanic prospects are especially fond of digital media.

Just like we explored what used to work for this growing demographic, let’s now look at why digital media is the present and future of marketing to Hispanics in the U.S.

Hispanics Are the Youngest Ethnic Group in the Country

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of American Hispanics in 2017 was 58.9 million. By 2030, that number is expected to reach 72 million! That’s a lot of Americans, many of whom will someday need legal services.

But for the sake of this conversation, here’s why those numbers are really, REALLY important to your law firm: Hispanics currently represent the youngest ethnic group in the country with a median age of just 28.

That helps explain why this demographic has proven to be so comfortable adopting new technology. They’re simply made up of much younger people than other ethnicities and, as we all know, young people love technology.

Whereas an aging population may hurt your ability to market to other groups, that’s not the case with American Hispanics as they skew so much younger. Not only is their population skyrocketing in size, but the majority of people in this group are Millennials – a generation raised on Digital Age technology.

Hispanic Americans Love Using the Internet to Find What They Need

Given the information in that last section, it should come as no surprise that Hispanic Americans are very comfortable going online to find the solutions they want for their problems. 

eMarketer found as much when they recently did a survey that looked at the sources Hispanic Internet users turn to when exploring solutions. Here are the results:

  • Search Engines: 46%
  • Consumer Reviews: 36%
  • Social Networks: 32%
  • Product/Brand Sites: 28%
  • Mobile Apps: 21%
  • Price Comparison Websites: 21%
  • Discount Voucher/Coupon Sites: 17%
  • Question & Answer Sites: 17%
  • Video Sites: 16%
  • Forums/Message Boards: 13%

While search engines are still their favorite solution finders, it’s clear that Hispanic Americans are well aware of all their other options. Some of these aren’t realistic for your firm (e.g. discount sites, forums, etc.), but this ought to serve as a reminder that you should have a strategy for video marketing and social media, which we’ll cover in more detail momentarily. 

Furthermore, all of this information is more reason to sound the death knell for traditional media, at least as far as marketing your firm to Hispanics goes. This group has successfully transitioned to digital media, especially when it comes to searching for the solutions they need. They’re not waiting for your law firm’s television commercial or slowing down when they see your billboard anymore.

If they need a lawyer, they know where to look: online. 

Mobile Devices Are Extremely Affordable 

With that being said, it’s not just that Hispanics have embraced the Internet and all the ways it helps them find what they want.

It’s also that the technology required to do this has become significantly more affordable over the last 10 years.

Again, not great news for traditional media. The combination of Hispanic Americans being comfortable using the Internet and being able to afford the technology to access it means we’re probably seeing the last days of television commercials and radio ads for this market.

Still, let’s look at some numbers to see what has changed in recent years.

First, Hispanics use mobile devices more than other Americans:

“While non-Hispanics own more desktops, Hispanics have a higher rate of ownership of smartphones and tablets as opposed to non-Hispanics, according to a survey of 1,027 respondents for Specific Media and SMG Multicultural’s Millward Brown survey. Three quarters (77 percent) of the Hispanics surveyed owned a smartphone versus 70 percent of non-Hispanics and 54 percent owned a tablet as opposed to 49 percent of non-Hispanics.”

Those are pretty significant differences, too.

With the population of Hispanic Americans growing, expect that number to continue rising in the years to come, as well.

Second, it’s true that new smartphones have become more expensiveover the past few years, but it isn’t true that these $1,000 phones are purchased by the majority of users. As NPD reported at the end of 2019:

“…just under 10% of consumers are spending over $1,000 on their smartphones.”

As a result, manufacturers have responded by creating new mobile devices that cost less than their premium counterparts. More and more people have also turned to the refurbished mobile device market for budget-friendly options.

Still, this only tells half the story where Hispanic adoption rates are concerned. It’s not just that there are more affordable mobile devices on the market. It’s that these devices are lasting their users a lot longer, too.

Back in 2018, NPD released a report that showed people are keeping their smartphones longer than they used to for an average of 32 months. So, when considering if they can afford a device – and not necessarily a new one – users are factoring in that their investment may last them nearly three years. 

Finally, compare the price of owning a mobile device and a data plan to owning a TV with cable and the cost of in-home Internet. The former option is clearly the more affordable one, which is why we’re seeing such a sharp increase in Hispanic adoption while legacy media continues to wither as an effective marketing tool. 

Mobile Devices Allow for Independent Viewing

The ability to watch what they want – independent of what others around them are watching – is another key driver behind the adoption of mobile devices among Hispanic users.

That’s because 27% of American Hispanics live in multigenerational homes.

As you can imagine, different generations want to watch different things. This is only a problem, though, if the whole household is reliant on just one or two televisions.

Thanks to mobile devices, this is rarely the case anymore. Each household member can use their own mobile device to watch exactly what they want.

This is important because you may have two or three different Hispanic market segments under one roof, each of which may interact with your law firm on a different channel for a different reason.

It’s also worth pointing out how these multigenerational environments spread technology adoption throughout the Hispanic community. It’s not as though the younger generations simply sequester themselves with their devices. They’re also showing the older generations how to use them. According to the Nielsen report we just linked to:

“…the younger generations have much influence on older Hispanics. In fact, those 50 and older have become particularly tech savvy, as they over-index non-Hispanic Whites by 36% for agreeing they like to have a lot of electronic gadgets, and by 28% for agreeing they often discuss their knowledge of technology or electronic products with others.”

This is just one more reason the Hispanic population in this country is fantastic for your law firm’s online marketing strategy. 

Mobile Devices Lend Themselves to Cross-Screen Viewing

Another interesting concept that needs to be considered when exploring Hispanic media consumption is that of cross-screen viewing

Someone can have the TV on while still engaging with content on their mobile device. Chances are that you’ve done this before. You might check your phone between innings, during commercials, or simply when the action on-screen slows down.

It turns out that Hispanic users are more likely to do this than the rest of the population. 69% of them report using a mobile device while they watch TV. For non-Hispanic Americans, it’s only 53%.

This might help to explain why Hispanic Americans also spend way more time using their mobile devices to access the Internet every day (3 hours) compared to everyone else (1 hour, 55 minutes). 

Thanks to cross-screen viewing, Hispanic prospects can engage with your law firm’s marketing materials even if they’re already watching TV.

The Rise of Social Media

Finally, no discussion about Hispanic media consumption would be complete without touching on social media and, specifically, Facebook.

As we briefly mentioned earlier, your law firm needs a strategy for using social media to reach prospects, particularly if you plan on targeting the growing Hispanic market.

That’s because, to put it simply, Hispanics love Facebook:

“…Facebook is the number 1 go-to platform for US Hispanics’ communication and 71% of respondents use Facebook to connect with loved ones every day. Nearly half (48%) of US Hispanics’ Facebook friends are family members, compared to 36% for the total population, the research found.

Facebook and Facebook Messenger are also used as an alternative to calling cards to reach people both in and outside the US: 60% of US Hispanics use Facebook Messenger to talk with friends and family outside the US.”

Whereas Facebook has proven to be a fun, entertaining way for most Americans to share with their friends and family, the social media platform has functioned more as a utility for a large number of Hispanics.

Many have become Internet-savvy solely so they can use Facebook as an affordable means of staying close with loved ones around the country or even loved ones in completely different countries.

Of course, Facebook may provide the incentive, but once Hispanics become comfortable using mobile devices to navigate the World Wide Web, it’s not hard to see why TV and radio get left behind.

The Key to Marketing to Hispanics – Regardless of the Medium

By now, it might seem like digital media is a fail-safe option for targeting Hispanic prospects. Given the adoption rate and how enthusiastically Hispanic Americans use technology, it would be pretty difficult to waste money on digital ads, right?

Wrong.

Very, very wrong.

The truth of the matter is that, yes, a lot of our clients come to us once they realize the well is running dry for radio and TV ads.

At the same time, we hear from plentyof prospects who have invested in digital marketing but haven’t seen impressive results from Hispanic prospects.

This is why understanding the Hispanic population and what makes it different from any other in the country is crucial to a successful ROI. 

Among other things, Hispanic clients want to give their business to companies that have proven they understand their culture. They feel far more comfortable with these kinds of companies. You can probably assume that goes double for law firms, as comfort level is always important to people who are looking to hire an attorney.

The good news is that it’s relatively easy to show Hispanic prospects that you respect their unique needs: use Spanish in your marketing materials.

This is true even if you’re targeting Nueva Latinas and Ambi-Cultural Hispanics who tend to be bilingual or even favor English. Using Spanish in your marketing is seen as a sign of respect, a gesture that you’re making the extra effort to single them out as a unique segment of the American population. 

So, using Spanish is a great first step to winning the Hispanic market, but are you using it correctly? 

Do you use the wording and expressions that the Hispanic niche in your market is using? 

Do Hispanics see your ads and feel related or think that you just used Google translate? 

If your answers of the questions above are negative, you need help. Also, don’t forget about Latinoamericana and Hispano groups. They are out there and need legal help, too. You have to make it easy for them to identify with your law firm

Of course, many Nueva Latinas and Ambi-Cultural Hispanics may also be looking for legal help on behalf of a family member who only speaks Spanish. If they see that your marketing materials aren’t in Spanish or feel that their relatives would not be able to culturally relate with your law firm, they’ll probably go looking for a different firm.

Neglect this distinction at your own risk.

In fact, we can almost guarantee that if you’re targeting the Hispanic community and not seeing positive results, it’s because you’re only using English, using Spanish the wrong way, and/or you’re not culturally identifying with this market. That’s why, at Nanato Media, we don’t just translate, we trans-create your law firm’s message from one language to another.

Should Law Firms “Cut the Cord” When Marketing to U.S. Hispanics?

Despite everything we’ve just covered, we’re not recommending you completely cut radio and television from your law firm’s marketing budget.

However, if you are currently running TV and/or radio ads, we would highly recommend that you review the kinds of ROIs you’ve seen over the past few years. If you’ve noticed your returns are steadily dropping, it might be time to consider that it’s not because you need to change up your ads. Instead, it might be time to change up your medium.

At the very least, start planning an exit strategy for putting more of your money into digital. For all the reasons we’ve covered in this piece, television and radio are on their way out.

If you aren’t currently running TV or radio ads for your law firm, we’d recommend you don’t start. Unless you know that your particular segment of the Hispanic population is especially engaged by either medium in your local market, we don’t think it’s worth the investment. By the time you spend enough money to actually create ads, run them, and make any necessary modifications, you’ll probably find you could have achieved the same results for a lot less by investing in digital marketing for your law firm. 

Keep in mind that, even if radio and television remain relevant for another 10 years, they’ll never be able to offer the kinds of hyper-specific targeting that social media ads do. You can consistently improve your ROI by zeroing in more and more on the exact Hispanic buyer persona you want for your market. 

OTT (over-the-top) content – the kinds that stream right to smart devices – provides similar opportunities. As opposed to traditional television content, OTT allows for granular segmentation of your targeted buyers. So, if you want to continue advertising during television shows, OTT represents your best option for seeing returns.

Let the Experts Engage Your Hispanic Market 

That said, as easy as digital media has made it to run ads that engage your specific market, we know that most law firms already have enough to do.

If you’d like to increase your Hispanic clientele and the ROI of your marketing dollars, we’d love to help.

At Nanato Media, we excel at creating digital marketing strategies for law firms that want to engage the Hispanic market. Contact us today to learn all about how our services can help your firm grow. 

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