Findings of new study on Latinas begs the question: How important is Spanish to all Latinas?

LatinaLista — With the rise in social media usage among Latinas, it’s no wonder that the ad industry is trying to dissect the Latina consumer.
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The latest attempt to put Latinas under the microscope comes from Pink Tank: Innovative thinking for Latinas. The folks at Pink Tank conducted the study Latinas and Social Media.
For their analysis, they chose eight online destinations and evaluated the conversations Latinas are having at these sites. Their choices ranged from Latina magazine to the blog site Vivir Latino to Shakira’s fan page to People en Español.
The sites definitely represent a diverse group of destinations which lead to some revealing results and puzzling ones too.
For example, the top five conversations that were most popular with Latinas at these sites included:
1. Conversations about citizenship, immigration
2. Conversations about stars (entertainment)
3. Conversations about being Latino in the U.S. (events, news, professional networking)
4. Conversations about sports (World Cup time)
5. Conversations about fashion and beauty

Our heritage reigns – It’s interesting that the call to our heritage is still extremely strong, regardless of the language we communicate in or how long we have been in the U.S.
Targeting Latinas with a wide variety of compelling messaging that celebrates our Latina heritage in the right way – whether product oriented, or moving a Latina to follow a cause or celebrity, appeals to them.

There’s no denying that any message involving Latino heritage attracts Latina readers but does it matter what language the message is in?

Language is powerful — Latinas promote themselves in English, Spanish, and Spanglish, but the Spanish language is extremely important to us. We love brands and causes that talk to us in Spanish or use the Spanish language intermittently.

Is that really true?
Spanish is important for those who don’t speak English and those who are bilingual can probably take it or leave it but for those 3rd and even 2nd generation Latinas who don’t speak Spanish the importance of using Spanish in any kind of messaging should be tempered with how much is used.
For those not fluent, any messaging that throws in enough words to make the target audience feel good about who they are triggers pride in the Latino heritage and a natural affinity to the message. Yet, throw too much Spanish in the messaging and advertisers have lost several generations of Latinas for whom Spanish is only the language of their grandparents.
While this survey identified the top conversations among Latinas, it would be interesting to note what language the bulk of those online conversations were in and if they could tell the ages of the Latinas conversing with one another.
Also, as someone who writes about immigration a lot, I know that for my 3rd generation Latina readers, immigration isn’t a main topic of conversation. They would be much more likely to be talking about Lady Gaga and her “meat dress” at the video music awards than the latest deportation news.
This survey, by virtue of looking at such a diverse group of online sites, takes the liberty of lumping all Latinas under one umbrella.
Latinas are much more complex than that and while it may be easier for advertisers to think all Latinas are the same, it’s to their advantage to know that assumption is not true — and getting less so every day.

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