By Rosa Mendoza, President and CEO, ALLvanza

We’ve all seen the moving ad campaigns on a company’s or industry’s diversity, inclusion, and equity (DE) efforts. But these efforts stop at the front door.

When it comes to actually making the full suite of products and services available to Latinos who speak Spanish, most companies fall short of the mark. They may advertise to the Latino market, but the numbers demonstrate that they do so only in English.

Although Latinos account for 19 percent of the total U.S. population and contribute an estimated $1.7 trillion every year to the U.S. economy, American companies spend less than two percent on Spanish language advertising.[1] This, even though a full third of the U.S. Latino population speaks primarily Spanish, and half of all Latinos get information from both English and Spanish language sources. Some industries conspicuously under-advertise in Spanish: consumer banking and insurance, for example.

When it comes to our financial well-being, Latinos are underbanked or unbanked entirely, yet big banks continue to ignore Spanish in their advertising. In 2019, 12.2 percent of Hispanic households were found to be unbanked, compared to only 2.5 percent of white households.[4] The Hispanic community should have access to information on key products and services that can change our financial future. We know that Latino-owned businesses tend to undercapitalize, have personal capital invested in businesses, and have less options to receive capital from financial institutions—largely because our families and entrepreneurs are unaware that they exist—making it difficult, or nearly impossible, for Hispanics to build generational wealth and find financial opportunities.

Not only are Latinos experiencing barriers to financial literacy, but we are also less insured than any other group in the United States, with only 50 percent having insurance coverage—25 percentage points lower than white Americans.[5] Similarly, nearly one-fourth of working-age Latinos, and 9.5 percent of those under 18, lacked health coverage in 2020.[6] Insurance companies should be targeting Latino consumers to increase their coverage, however, the opposite is happening. In 2021, less than one percent of the total ad spend of three of the American Council of Life Insurers’ (ACLI) major companies was spent on Spanish advertising, despite ACLI’s proposed commitment to diversity and inclusion.[7]

The lack of inclusive advertising is not a new disparity—it dates back decades. In 1999, the FCC published the results of a survey that showed minority formatted radio stations earned an average of 63 percent less revenue than non-minority formatted stations. And since 2016, the aggregate spend on D&I networks (Spanish-language and Black networks) has declined in almost every major category, with over one-third of consumer product companies not spending on Spanish-language networks at all.[8]

Besides the direct benefits that Spanish advertising has on Latinos’ well-being, companies will also reap benefits from investing in Spanish advertising and expanding their target audience. The data shows that advertisers who invest in Spanish-language advertising receive a higher return and resonate better with their audience.[9] On average, the Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) for high diverse and inclusive investment brands was over two times larger than that of low D&I investment brands.[10] The ROAS for companies that invest heavily in advertising on Spanish-language networks is 70 percent higher than for those that do not.[11] And finally, Spanish advertising works more efficiently for Latino consumers, as studies show that English-dominant Latinos have emotional ties to the Spanish language.[12]

It is obvious—Latinos are the fastest growing market segment for brands, advertisers, and candidates. If your company is not already investing in Spanish advertising, I am sure they will be in the next few years. Get ahead of the curve.

[1] Nielsen, The ROI of Inclusivity.

[2] Kantar Advertising Insights, TV & Radio Spend by Language 2021.

[3] CDC, Hispanic or Latino People and Type 2 Diabetes.

[4] CNBC, More than 12% of Hispanic households don’t have a bank account. Here’s why that can cost big bucks.

[5] Axios, Uninsured rates among Latinos rise.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Kantar Advertising Insights, TV & Radio Spend by Language 2021.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Hispanic Marketing Council, Demographics & Hispanic Data.

[10] Nielsen, The ROI of Inclusivity.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Simmons, Advertising in Spanish Matters, Even Among English-Dominant Hispanics.