Three huge missed opportunities in Latin American

M&M: Global Media and Marketing Data, Insight and Analysis

Posted by: Bloggers’ Gallery        marketing

DECEMBER 2014

Brands operating in Latin America are failing to keep up with consumer media habits, writes Andrés Sandoval, digital sales director at LatAm and US Hispanic-focused media services firm US Media Consulting.

I ran across a shocking statistic recently: 0.01% of ad spend in Argentina goes on mobile.

Now, this is in a country with 13 million mobile internet users and which posted 1.1 million tablet sales in 2014. In addition, 78% of the mobile phones sold in Argentina in 2014 were smartphones, and a TNS/Google survey showed that20% of Argentine smartphone owners used their devices as part of their purchase process.

Of course, Argentina is just one example. Mobile is a significant missed opportunity for the rest of Latin America as well. Smartphone and tablet adoption rates are spiking in Mexico. Here are a few quick stats to underscore the point:

- 52 million Brazilians go online with their mobile phones
- 50% of Mexican digital users go online with smartphones
- 40% of Colombian mobile users go online with their phones
- M-commerce represents 18% of total e-commerce transactions in Mexico

- 54% of Latin Americans recently surveyed said they had made a purchase with their smartphone

Despite this, brands in Latin America are yet to significantly up their mobile spend.

Missed Opportunity #2: Social

eMarketer recently calculated that, in 2015, brands in Latin America will spend $2.52 per user on social network advertising, compared to the $46 per user in North America and $27 per user in Europe.

Yet, Latin America leads the world in social media engagement—nearly nine hours a month per user—with 227 million social network users overall in the region.

Beyond sheer market size, there are a range of tactics for leveraging social media in LatAm. One is retargeting on Facebook Exchange, which works blends the massive reach of this social network in the region with its burgeoning e-commerce market.

In case advertisers aren’t aware, it’s projected that, in 2014, e-commerce will post a 40% increase in Argentina, a 45% jump in Colombia, a 23% bump in Brazil and a 30% lift in Mexico. Basically, with this type of retargeting, a user who views products on an e-commerce site will see ads for the same product when they go into Facebook. We’ve seen huge gains for clients who we’ve helped with this.

Besides retargeting, other key ways to leverage social in LatAm include native advertising and social sponsorship. Native and content marketing offer a different way for brands to reach people with entertaining or helpful info that promotes their brand.

For its part, social sponsorship involves paying people with big social media followings to promote a brand. Taco Bell recently used social sponsorship to good effect in a recent campaign, and clearly the potential to replicate this successfully in Latin America is there.

Missed Opportunity #3: Programmatic

While projections call for a 600% increase in programmatic ad spend in Latin America in 2015, the reality is that the increase only looks impressive because so little was being invested before.

Data companies like Navegg — full disclosure, they are a partner of ours — have made great strides in identifying online habits for more than 100 million internet users. This means that brands can buy impressions programmatically that will be seen by the audience they’re after, based on the real online activities and purchase intents of that audience.

While the internet audience in LatAm now totals around 310 million, it’s still pretty significant to be able to reach one-third of them in such precise fashion.

As such, that projected 600% increase in programmatic ad spend in LatAm should actually be double or triple that, especially with the results we’ve seen brands get with our MediaDesk platform.

Quick plug aside, the fundamental issue is that programmatic itself allows brands to spend smarter when it comes to online advertising, and this in turn delivers the results as the people you want to reach are the ones that actually see your ad on the sites they regularly visit.

In addition, we’ve now launched mobile programmatic with MediaDesk, allowing advertisers to add more precision to their mobile campaigns and thus helping with two key areas in LatAm marketing with one powerful tool. If you’re unfamiliar with programmatic, you can find out more here.

Bottom Line

With all of the hype, it can be easy for industry professionals to dismiss mobile, social and programmatic as fads without substance.

But, as we’ve shown with the numbers, these three areas reflect the reality of the Latin American online audience: what they do and where they go. And brands that are not deepening their investment in these areas are losing out on major reach—and, more importantly—revenues.


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