When It Comes to Online Hispanics, the Internet Is Blue


It is no secret that the Latino vote will have a major impact on the 2012 presidential election. Given this reality, I thought it would be interesting to see how each presidential candidate is addressing Hispanics online. What I found was consistent with Hispanic’s preferences for the President of the United States: when comes to choosing the candidates’ websites, Hispanics online overwhelmingly prefer BarackObama.com over MittRomney.com.

Romney is playing catch-up online

While BarackObama.com en español has been around for some time, Mitt Romney launched a Spanish version of his website July 11. The site features a video of his son introducing him in Spanish (his son was a missionary in Chile) and information about his newly announced Hispanic steering committee. You can also read his bio, blog, info-graphics, videos and sign up to donate and volunteer in Spanish.

The president offers many of the same features. BarackObama.com follows Hispanic online best practices by including an “Español” link on the top right of his campaign website, while Governor Romney’s Spanish site can be accessed from the top left.

Overall, Spanish-speaking voters should be relatively pleased with the Spanish language experience on both websites. That said, neither of the websites are proactively engaging with online Spanish speakers via social or mobile channels. This is important to note because studies show that Hispanics are highly engaged social and mobile users. So it’s a lost opportunity for both candidates.

Hispanic traffic to BarackObama.com dwarfs that of MittRomney.com

Despite being equivalent from a Spanish content perspective, BarackObama.com has nearly as many Hispanic visitors as MittRomney.com has total visitors. According to comScore, in June 2012, 509,000 Hispanics visited BarackObama.com. By contrast of the 537,000 total visitors to MittRomney.com, only 44,000 were Hispanic. What’s more, Hispanic traffic to BarackObama.com has surged 90% since January of this year while MittRomney.com has seen a drop in Hispanic traffic of 40%.

It is true that Obama has an advantage because his Spanish site has been around longer than Romney’s so let’s put things in more relative terms. Today the U.S. Hispanic online market represents about 15% of the total U.S. market. Currently, 15% of BarackObama.com’s traffic is Hispanic, in line with the U.S. market, while only 8% of MittRomney.com’s traffic is Hispanics. This signals that the Governor has some catching up to do and should look at the demographics of his Hispanic site visitors for some ideas on where to focus.
Compared to Hispanic visitors to BarackObama.com, Hispanic visitors to Romney’s site represent a much smaller segment of the Hispanic population because they are more likely to:

• Be over 65 years of age
• Earn over $100,000
• Reside in the South Central US
• Prefer English

Hispanics who are young, less affluent, concentrated in major metro areas and bilingual represent a much bigger segment and reaching them online will be critical for MittRomney.com to bridge the gap with BarackObama.com in terms of Hispanic traffic.

Mitt Romney still has time to engage Hispanics online

Regardless of where he stands on the issues, Romney has a good opportunity to reach out to Hispanics online. His website features good information in Spanish, including videos and policy stands now it’s just a matter of marketing it to online Hispanics and I would start with social media and mobile tactics.

If Romney can successfully reach online Hispanics and they connect with his message, perhaps he can shift the Internet to red.

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