U.S. Hispanics are increasingly going digital to get their information, especially when it comes to the government. In fact, Hispanics are 16% more likely to visit government websites than the general population, according to a recent study conducted with Hitwise. And almost half of Spanish-language searches are done on mobile devices. That's a 145% growth from 2011. Here we explore how this audience is using digital to connect to the U.S. government and how government agencies can ensure visibility and relevancy across devices.

Published
January 2014
Topics

More than ever, U.S. Hispanics are going digital for just about everything. This includes their interactions with the government, with more than 70 million visits to government websites by U.S. Hispanics every month.1 To better understand how Hispanics are using digital to get government information, we partnered with Experian Consumer Insights, using custom Hitwise search data over a 12-week period. We also analyzed Google query data to uncover major trends in U.S. Hispanic behavior and Spanish-language searches.

Our research uncovered three takeaways that government can use to amplify its communications efforts to U.S. Hispanics—whether to inspire positive change, educate on meaningful issues or encourage immediate action.

U.S. Hispanics go directly to the source

Hispanics are 16% more likely to access government information.2 But why? When it comes to government issues, Hispanics want to go to the source.3 In fact, Google query data showed there has been a 45% growth in government search queries in Spanish since 2011.4 Searches related to health and benefits, citizenship and immigration, and military lead the way,5 with one in three searches related to health or a government benefit.6

Searches by U.S. Hispanics

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Source: Hitwise/Google Hispanic Custom Research, October 2013

Spanish-language searches soar on mobile

Mobile is a must for reaching U.S. Hispanics. Currently, half of all Spanish-language searches are on mobile devices,7 and there has been 145% growth in government search queries in Spanish on mobile devices since 2011,8 with the majority of Spanish-language health-care-€“related searches conducted on mobile devices.9

Spanish-language health care-related search volume

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Source: Google Internal Data. All Devices. YoY = (10/12-9/13)(10/11-9/12)

Engagement across devices

With half of Spanish-language searches coming from mobile devices, it’s essential for government agencies to be there when Hispanics are raising their hands. Ensure visibility in top positions in search, especially mobile search, where organic results show up much further down the page. Use video, social and display to engage this audience as well. YouTube reaches 89% of Hispanics online.10 They, in turn, engage with video content by sharing, commenting, uploading and even following a brand channel.

And it’€™s also important to be relevant. Hispanics want to go directly to the source, especially when it comes to important government issues. Make sure you are targeting and reaching them in the places they are online, and make your mobile experience a good one for these highly mobile users. Account for language preferences. There is a wide range for this audience—those who speak mostly English and some Spanish, those who are bilingual, and those who speak only a little or no English. It is a common misconception that USH-targeted campaigns show Spanish ads for Spanish-language searches. A best practice is to reach U.S. Hispanics however they may search—whether in English or Spanish.

Being relevant also means providing a good mobile experience—one that caters to information gathering or engagement. With three of five Hispanics going online primarily through a mobile device,11 government agencies must ensure they are reaching the audience wherever they are looking for information.

SOURCES
[1] Hitwise/Google Custom Research, October 2013
[2] Hitwise/Google Custom Research, October 2013
[3] Healthcare In-Depth Interviews, Edge Research, October 2013
[4] Google Internal Data. All Devices. YoY = (10/12-9/13)/(10/10-9/11)
[5] Hitwise/Google Custom Research, October 2013
[6] Hitwise/Google Custom Research, October 2013
[7] Google Internal Data.
[8] Google Internal Data. All Devices. YoY = (10/12-€“9/13)/(10/10-9/11)
[9] Google Internal Data. All Devices. YoY = (10/12-9/13)/(10/10-9/11)
[10] comScore Video Metrix, September 2013

[11] Pew Research Center, May 2013