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While Silicon Valley is unquestionably still the major hub for social media innovation in the world, there’s no debating the fact that other nations – especially those in Latin America – are now emerging as worthy challengers. For example, the latest eMarketer study on digital ad spending shows that Latin America is now the fastest-growing region in the world in terms of digital ad growth. Nations such as Colombia, Chile and Brazil are now growing at a faster rate than China when it comes to digital advertising, and six of the top 10 fastest-growing nations are located in Latin America. So what does all this mean for digital marketers?
Get ready to pivot to digital in the post-COVID era
Perhaps the biggest takeaway lesson from the report is that it’s time to double down on digital advertising, no matter where you are in the world. Instead of spending money on TV and print ads, it’s time to buy Facebook ads and Google search ads. Across Latin America, advertisers are now pivoting to digital at a record rate. In Latin America, digital ad spending has doubled over the past five years, from $4.18 billion in 2015 to $9.33 billion in 2019. That’s a phenomenal rate of growth. Since six of the top 10 nations in the world in terms of digital ad spending growth rates are now located in Latin America, it’s not just a case of a single nation leading the way – there is now a very deep concentration of digital ad spending power across the region, from Mexico to Peru.
And, if anything, the COVID-19 pandemic is even accelerating this shift from traditional advertising to digital advertising. People are staying home, working remotely, and spending more time than ever online as they remain indoors. So, of course, it makes sense to migrate ad spending to digital. Already, digital advertising accounts for 40 percent of the ad market in Latin America, and it’s easy to see that if the pandemic persists throughout 2020, we could see a real tipping point in which digital ad spending soon accounts for more than half of all ad spending.
Get to know the emerging trends in the Latin American market
In terms of tracking what’s new in Latin America, it’s worth keeping an eye on a market that has the greatest relevance for your business or organization. In the majority of cases, of course, that market will be Mexico. So, take a deep dive into the Mexican digital market to see what Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Google are doing there. This doesn’t have to be intimidating or difficult – if you like sports, for example, pick a top Mexican soccer (i.e. football) team like Cruz Azul in Mexico City to see what types of social sharing buttons they have on their website, and what type of content or promotions they are pushing out on those platforms.
In addition, the report also noted that the huge growth in Latin American digital ad spending also was accompanied by a huge surge in retail e-commerce sales growth. So where are these Latino Internet consumers buying, and what types of ads appeal to them? In Mexico, the usage of WhatsApp is off-the-charts across all age groups, so coming up with a WhatsApp strategy for mobile could be a game-changer if you are trying to court these customers and expand your online sales.
The new China
The example of China is instructive. The rise to power of China in the digital world over the past five years gave us a good number of innovative upstarts like Weibo, WeChat, Tencent and TikTok. The one Chinese company that everyone is talking about right now, of course, is TikTok. Even if your branding strategy doesn’t involve TikTok directly, you can still see some major trends here – like the rise to power of young social media influencers and the shortening of video content to 15-second clips. So what’s the TikTok of Latin America? And how will it impact your business?
It’s hard to ignore what’s happening in Latin America right now in terms of social media. Once known for social protests and economic volatility (and great soccer teams!), the region is now emerging as a digital media hotspot. Just as the rise of China had a huge impact on the evolution of social media and the types of debates we are having in the digital space (such as those over privacy and censorship), the rise of Latin America as a new digital media hotspot will likely have a similar impact on how Silicon Valley’s biggest tech giants continue to evolve and change.