Beginning in the last quarter of 2011, Facebook gave marketers using its self-service ad-buying platform the option to target Latinos in the U.S. solely based on their ethnicity. This marks the first time Facebook has allowed marketers a direct means of targeting ethnic groups.
Currently the only subset option in the “ethnic” tab are “Hispanics,” other ethnic groups are expected to follow.
In the past ad buyers targeting Latinos had to play a guessing game using a combination of zip codes, Census data and designated market areas (DMAs) with a high concentration of Latinos to deliver the ads. They have also targeted users who have ‘liked’ Facebook pages of Latino-focused brands such as Univision, Telemundo, and CNN en Español.
Facebook has added a Hispanic targeting option to its self-service ad-buying platform. Marketers who create an ad and then select the broad category targeting option - as opposed to precise interest levels - will see an “Ethnic” tab. Currently the only subset option is “Hispanic,” which can be added to the targeting mix with a click on its check box.
The feature reveals that Facebook has 7.7 million Hispanic users 18 and above in the U.S., while there are 8.4 million when including all ages. (According to the 2010 Census, there were 50.5 million Hispanics in the United States, making up 16.3 percent of the total population.)
Menlo Park, CA-based Facebook told ClickZ in an email that the feature went live sometime during the last half of 2011, but didn’t disclose a more precise timeline. Gustavo Rezzetti is chief strategy and engagement officer at Grupos Gallegos and a ClickZ columnist who focuses on Latino marketing. Razetti said his team first noticed the Hispanic targeting feature on Facebook last month.
“We are not aware of how Facebook is identifying who is Hispanic,” Razetti said. “If it’s based on the language of the Facebook app only, that could be misleading.”
Like Rezzetti, Captura Group founder Lee Vann said he first heard about the new targeting feature last month, and he figures it was likely implemented sometime during the last three months of 2011. Vann’s Hispanic-focused online marketing services company has worked with media buyer MindShare to purchase direct Facebook ads (rather than self-service ones) zeroing in on American Hispanics. The efforts were for brands such as Unilever and Allstate, he said.
The conservative group Hispanic Leadership Network (HLN) tested the targeting tool after the recent controversial “chimichanga” tweet made by an Obama re-election campaign manager. In the past, the group was targeting Facebook users who liked Latino politicians or pages like “Hispanics for Mitt Romney.”
“Now HLN can ‘with one stroke hit the exact market,’” an HLN rep told ClickZ.com. “We want to galvanize support around this issue and build our user base.”