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Going smart on the Latin American market? Mobile trends and the future of e-advertising

Latin America is often known for its idyllic landscapes and wide cultural diversity. However, a number of cultural and economic changes are causing online businesses to focus on this unique region. This continent is experiencing continuous and sustainable economic growth expanding by 3.1% in 2012 and outperforming the global growth of 2.2%1. Moreover, accessing online content on mobile devices have seen a significant rise, with countries such as Mexico advancing mobile ad spend by 74.8% reaching an impressive $68.5 million in 2013.

As this continent goes from strength to strength, companies are increasingly looking to incorporate Latin America into their international online strategy- and rightly so. In this blog post, Oban Multilingual shares insights on the emerging trends of mobile e-advertisement in Latin America and its meaning for both current and prospective businesses.

Smartphone trends
By far, the most exciting developments in Latin America relate to smartphone devices and the mobile ad-market. Smartphone users in this region are expected to increase by 43.6% in 2013, totaling 111.6 million2. Denoting that online advertising will move towards a smartphone/tablet dominated future. The following statistics highlight this, showing a positive correlation towards the online usage of these devices:

Mobile ads on smartphones and tablets increased by 9% and 7% between 2012 and the third quarter of 20133 

Meanwhile, ad impression sales on feature phones decreased by at least 16% compared to 20124 

38% of Latin American consumers have a positive attitude towards mobile ads compared to 11% of Europeans and 19% North Americans5

mobile ads latin america

(Source: eMarketer, Nov. 2013)

The impact of online cultural differences
Stretching almost 3.7% of the Earth’s surface, the regions of Latin America are a melting pot of cultural diversity. Understanding these local subtleties is vital for differentiating campaigns and targeting the right keywords. For example, identical words used to explain a product, could vary in meaning from country to country. The word “torta”, for instance, means cake in Peru, but sandwich in Mexico. Similarly, the word “taco” is a type of food in Mexico, but could mean a traffic jam in Chile. Moreover, did you know that there are two official languages other than Spanish in Bolivia; Quechua and Aimara? Or that Argentina has a considerably more liberal attitude towards same sex marriage than El Salvador6? The list could go on indefinitely.

Applying local cultural insights into your online campaigns is the most powerful tool when it comes to capturing online markets and driving traffic to your site. Without such knowledge you run the risk of losing your target audience or worst still disseminating irrelevant ad copy that’s off brand.

Round up
It is evident that the mobile ad-market in Latin America is rapidly expanding. Although embryonic, opportunities to advertise to new online audiences are more than promising. The continent is dominated by a unique cultural landscape that requires businesses to pay special attention to local customs and meanings. Remember to:

Optimise online channels for mobile devices, in order to generate more traffic to your website and maintain an on brand presence 

Adapt your online campaigns to the linguistic demands of each market, keeping in mind that the same message can carry significantly different meanings

Utilise consumers positive attitude towards mobile ads and increase expenditure on localised platforms deemed relevant to your offering

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1 IMF: Is the Growth Momentum in Latin America Sustainable?
2 eMarketer: Feature Phone Ads Hold Strong in Latin America
3 eMarketer: Feature Phone Ads Hold Strong in Latin America
4 eMarketer: Feature Phone Ads Hold Strong in Latin America
5 MMA: Brands are underestimating mobile opportunities in Latin America
6 Pew Research: The Global Divide on Homosexuality