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MSN Latino Grows Market

Looking at the recent partnerships of top Hispanic portals and popular offline entities -- such as AOL Latino and Ford Motors, and Yahoo! en Español and Fox Sports, one cannot help but wonder what the third leading Hispanic portal, MSN Latino, is up to.

MSN Latino, the Hispanic arm of Microsoft's MSN, has multiple partnerships with offline and online properties. For example, MSN Latino offers the latest sports information in Spanish through an exclusive partnership with ESPN Deportes, one of the leading online sports content providers. MSN Latino also offers a Spanish-language job search service provided by CareerBuilder. In addition, the site offers a very popular dating service propelled by Match.com, where Spanish-speakers can find friends or romantic prospects.

Michael Iantosca, national sales manager for MSN Latino, says, "MSN Latino combines Microsoft's state-of-the art technology and best-in-class online services from MSN with top-notch content from partners. Through MSN Latino, Spanish-speaking consumers in the United States can enjoy their favorite online communications services such as the popular Spanish versions of MSN Hotmail, MSN Messenger and MSN Search, as well as leading relevant content specifically focused towards U.S. Hispanic consumers."

MSN Latino also prides itself on attracting lucrative advertisers who want to reach English- and Spanish-speaking audiences in the United States on the only network that reaches a global audience of more than 350 million monthly users. Advertisers on MSN Latino currently include the U.S. Army, General Motors, Toyota Motor Corporation, Verizon Wireless and Chrysler.

Iantosca says, "At MSN, we work with advertisers on a complete media solution. We enable advertisers to reach both English- and Spanish-speaking audiences in the U.S. with best of breed content and services such as Hotmail, MSN Messenger and Search."

MSN Latino gets more than 422,000 unique users a month. It complements MSN's offerings by providing U.S. Hispanics with more focused and relevant editorial content and culturally-sensitive products and services. It also delivers MSN technology in Spanish and access to world-class content such as ESPN Deportes and global chats with entertainment stars like Madonna and Jennifer Lopez.

Iantosca believes MSN Latino's success is due to the fact that several people on the MSN Latino programming team are Hispanics and are tuned into the interests of the community.

"MSN's overall global vision, no matter what language, is to connect consumers to the people and information that matters most in their lives. MSN Latino helps bring U.S. Spanish-speakers closer to the people and information that matter most in their lives," he says.

So what does Iantosca think about all the recent and abundant media attention about the online Hispanic demographic?

"MSN has been committed to delivering online content and services to Hispanics for several years since acquiring Yupi.com in 2001 so we think the latest increase in media attention is very exciting," Iantosca says. "There are several facts that explain the recent attention to this audience. The incredible growth of the U.S. Hispanic population is currently growing at six times the rate of the general population. Per the U.S. Census, the U.S. Hispanic population is now larger than the population of Canada. Hispanics' consumption habits and enormous buying power will continue to present a huge opportunity for advertisers to provide relevant products that will meet consumer needs. Therefore, we believe advertisers will continue to increase their budgets year-to-year as they have. Last year, 20 of the top 25 advertisers increased their ad spending and spending power of U.S. Hispanics is estimated at $500 billion annually."

AOL Latino, Yahoo! en Español and MSN Latino and their offline partnerships are perfect examples of the increasing synergies in offline and online marketing to the Hispanic demographic. When marketing to any demographic, marketers must understand that the best way to attract customers and increase customer loyalty is to integrate both offline and online marketing efforts, like these three leading portals do.

Elizabeth M. Lloyd is the director of corporate marketing, an online customer acquisition company based in Silicon Valley. Previously, Elizabeth was the director of marketing for opt-in email provider, NetCreations, in New York City. Prior to NetCreations, Elizabeth was responsible for the PR department of ValueClick, Inc.

Elizabeth M. Lloyd is Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer of 9Global, Inc. (www.9global.com), an international online marketing company focused on lead generation and customer acquisition. Elizabeth´s work on international online marketing...

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