Mr. Cardona, on the other hand, believes advertising opportunities on the Web are limitless. “This is a dynamic medium. It’s not like TV, where you only have so many choices. On the Internet, you have an infinite number of Web sites to go to. This is real time. There are so many options available to the advertisers.”
Although Mr. Cardona thinks Hispanic Web sites have lowered their advertising rates on account of the skepticism advertisers bring to the Web, Mr. Bryan believes Hispanic Web sites offer lower ad rates because some media buyers simply assume minority markets should be discounted. He says many advertisers want more research on the Hispanic market before they will advertise on a Hispanic site.
“There are a lot of positives to research,” says Mr. Bryan, a former sales executive with Katz Spanish Media. “You have the ability to go into a level playing field and battle it out for your share of the dollars. Many times those dollars have never been in the Hispanic market. The hardest part is trying to increase that dollar value.”
According to AdZone, the top 10 advertisers on U.S. Hispanic Web sites in January included WesternUnion.com, fiera.com, AOL.com FREE, Latino.com, Gap.com, and Teenpregnancy.org (see table). Yet Mr. Korzenny believes that in the long run, Fortune 500 companies will keep advertising dollars flowing to U.S. Hispanic Web sites. “Univision.com has interesting marketing programs. They have partnered with companies such as Gateway. By doing this kind of affiliation they have a really good chance to reach the consumer,” he says.
StarMedia Networks, which targets Spanish- and Portuguese-speakers in the United States and Latin America, has captured the interest and money of big corporate advertisers. Seventy-five percent of the company’s advertisers are Fortune 500 companies.
The majority of StarMedia’s revenues, estimated at $62.7 million in 2000, comes from online advertising. The company has formal strategic marketing partnerships with the likes of L’Oréal and Pepsi-Cola International.
Adrianna Kampfner, StarMedia’s senior vice-president of sales and business development, says such partnerships are key to survival, especially since many dot-coms are spending less on Internet advertising. Granted, landing these Fortune 500 deals isn’t easy – it’s all about educating potential advertisers and selling them on brand loyalty.
“In terms of competing with traditional media, it’s really about changing the way you connect to your desired consumer,” Ms. Kampfner says. “Instead of thinking of the Internet as a separate budget, why not include the Internet in your total budget? … We’re trying to show companies how to do that better.”
Ms. Kampfner emphasizes that U.S. Hispanic Web sites need to look outside the country to keep playing in the online advertising game. Online ad spending in Latin America will grow to $260 million this year from $121 million in 2000, according to Massachusetts-based Forrester Research. Latin American Internet advertising revenues are expected to jump to $1.2 billion in 2005, according to Jupiter Communications, a New York-based research and consulting firm.
Mr. Bryan of HispanicAd.com predicts that the U.S. Hispanic Web-site market won’t claim huge audience numbers until 2003. Hispanic Web sites have a long way to go before they see big ad dollars, he says, and which sites will survive until then is uncertain.
“You have to have a lot of staying power here,” Mr. Bryan declares. “The Internet is not for the weak at heart at this stage.”
He predicts that the survivors’ list will include StarMedia, Terra Lycos, and Univision.com. He adds that advertising agencies will take a look at some specific vertical niche sites, such as those geared toward women, sports, and automobiles.
The ability to create repeat users will help a site gain more ad dollars. But he warns that most Internet sites lose 80 percent of their users on the first visit because the information the visitors sought was unavailable or hard to find.
“The [sites] that are successful in retaining new users are able to turn that relationship into a benefit for the advertisers,” Mr. Bryan continues. “That’s where you get into branding.” The difference between advertising and branding starts with a loyal user base, something StarMedia has developed. The portal has an estimated audience of 40 percent to 50 percent of the Internet users in more than 20 countries.
What’s StarMedia’s formula? For one thing, it doesn’t rely just on ad banners. “For us, a click on a banner is nothing more than a doorway,” says Ms. Kampfner. “And doorways should be connected to a more comprehensive goal and strategy [for the advertiser].”
Top 10 U.S. Hispanic Web Sites*
Rank / Site / Impressions / Est. Revenues†
1. / Latino.com / 45,375,400 / $816,800
2. / Starmedia.com/shopping / 67,925,100 / $679,300
3. / Zonai.com/ 26,054,100 / $651,400
4. / Quepasa.com / 34,048,000 / $510,700
5. / Lamusica.com / 42,539,600 / $510,500
6. / Macromedia.com / 5,316,700 / $425,300
7. / Starmedia.com/buscador / 22,199,300 / $399,600
8. / Terra.com / 11,343,800 / $397,000
9. / Zonafinanciera.com / 14,633,300 / $365,800
10. / Todos.com / 16,291,500 / $325,800
TOTAL / 285,726,800 / $5,082,800
*Data for the month of January 2001
†Revenues based on rate-card price
Top 10 Brands on U.S. Hispanic Web Sites*
Rank / Brand / Impressions / Est. Expenditures†
1. / WesternUnion.com / 20,991,300 / $616,300
2. / Fiera.com / 18,124,600 / $453,100
3. / Aol.com FREE / 36,762,600 / $441,200
4. / Latino.com / 10,614,300 / $421,200
5. / Gap.com / 39,349,700 / $393,500
6. / TeenPregnancy.org / 22,053,900 / $382,100
7. / Quepasa.com / 16,663,100 / $341,000
8. / 123.com español / 16,992,000 / $326,200
9. / Alminuto.com / 15,203,400 / $304,100
10. / Bankrate.com / 15,202,100 / $304,000
TOTAL / 211,957,000 / $3,982,700
*Data for the month of January 2001
†Expenditures based on rate-card price