As we work to plan and implement more than 2,000 campaigns a year in Latin America, we often see certain strategic stumbling blocks pop up on a regular basis. To help media and marketing professionals avoid these media buying mistakes in Latin America, we decided to highlight the most common ones.
#1 One Size Fits All
Often campaigns aimed at Latin America tend to treat it as a monolithic area. However, despite the broad commonalities, adjustments for certain markets are crucial. First, media consumption is different in different countries, so the budgets need to be weighted accordingly.
#2 Not Customizing Creative
As incredible as it may sound, some clients will run English-language creative in Latin American campaigns. Obviously, language is crucial for creative to connect. We also see clients running creative that doesn’t connect culturally. For example, Mexicans may not respond well to creative developed for the Southern Cone, and vice versa. Brands need to factor in the differences in both regional accents and terminology, because a radio spot that works well in Uruguay may not do well in Puerto Rico, for example. An additional investment in development will pay off in response, whereas not customizing creative can lead to low response or embarrassing copy. Finally, brands need to keep in mind that mistakes that ended up under the radar 20 years can get around a lot faster via social media.
#3 Low Investment in Internet Ad Spend
There is a tendency among some brands to think that TV is the medium with the best reach in Latin America and the highest consumption. While there’s no doubt that free TV has a penetration rate above 90% in many Latin American markets, there are now 300 million Internet users in Latin America, which is 50% penetration (the region’s total population is 598 million). By 2017 there will be nearly 400 million Internet users in Latin America.
In addition, the Internet is rivaling free TV in media consumption in several Latam markets. For example, more than half of Mexicans watch TV between 2 and 4 hours a day, 60 to 120 hours per month. But Mexican Internet users spend 5 hours a day online—150 hours per month. Peruvian Internet users spend 2 hours and 40 minutes a day online, while Peruvians in general watch 3 hours and 20 minutes of free TV every day. A study of Colombian TV consumption showed an average of 4 hours per day for those between 5 and 17, 120 hours per month, compared to a Google study that showed that Colombians spend 4 hours a day on the Internet—also 120 hours per month.
#4 Running a Social Media Campaign without a Clear Plan
While there’s no doubt that social media can deliver strong and tangible results, clients often request social media campaigns without clear objectives or even expectations. Or they set objectives that social media is not designed to deliver. This happens because brands are naturally looking for new ways to drive sales and social media certainly has that potential, especially when you consider that 5 of the top 10 countries in social media use are in Latin America. However, without establishing goals, having a clear expectation, and having a clear action plan, it’s likely that brands won’t get the results they’re after.
In addition, social media is a conversation, yet we sometimes see that brands are not prepared to handle the interaction between them and their clients. Before any social media effort, advertisers must truly understand the value of a like or a follower as an engaged consumer, or even a social advocate; this will change the way they perceive social media as a vehicle to drive brand loyalty —and consequently—sales. It is somewhat easy to generate likes or followers, but without a clear strategy on what to do with them, including using the right metrics to evaluate results, the benefits of social media are limited.
#5 Buying Cheap Instead of Buying Smart
Sometimes clients will choose a particular media vehicle because it’s cheaper, thinking it will be more efficient. While it’s always good to spend wisely, the cheapest medium isn’t always the most effective. As such, clients can end up saving money on the buy on a cost per unit basis, but still not achieving their goals, because they are not reaching the audience they want, or because the target’s consumption of that medium is low compared to other media types, or simply because that placement is simply not within the best context to generate interaction or engagement. Advertisers must always keep in mind that they are buying audiences and not media. It’s amazing that still to this day a lot of marketers remain obsessed with cost-based metrics (CPM, CPC, CTR, CPV). We need to start looking at metrics that help us understand where consumers are in the sales funnel. Cheap does not mean valuable.
#6 No Benchmarks or the Wrong Benchmarks
While it may be hard to believe, sometimes we are told that the goal of an online campaign is to “increase traffic”, but what’s not explained is what current traffic is and how much of an increase the client wants. In fact, we’ve even had instances in which even the client doesn’t know what their current traffic is. This same thing can also happen with “awareness”, where many clients set goals based on increasing awareness, however, sometimes they don’t even know what their current awareness is, or have a plan in place to measure it before and after the campaign.
So do your homework and establish real and measurable KPIs. That way, you won’t set yourself up for failure.
#7 Bigger is Not Always Better
For online campaigns, we’ve had instances in which clients look at comScore rankings in the area they want and tell us to buy the top 5, period. However, these big sites with the deep reach don’t always produce the best results. Why? It could be that the sites’ content doesn’t connect with enough of the target audience or that the ad space is crowded because of the sites’ size and popularity, meaning that the client’s ads get lost in the shuffle. Or maybe the target audience that visits the big sites aren’t necessarily all that engaged.
On the other hand, you could run ads on an aggregate of smaller sites with highly engaged users and deliver both the volume and response a client wants. Obviously, this varies, but the point is to consider the best solution to reach the target audience based on available data and not equate reach with response.
To find out more about how we can help you avoid media buying mistakes in Latin America and optimize your results with a campaign in any form of media, please contact us.