El Mercado: Marketing Insights That Can Help You Reach Your Hispanic Students

               As the Hispanic share of the American population continues to grow, it is important to invest time and resources to understanding their academic and career goals and meeting their needs. In Miami, we have two of the largest Hispanic serving institutions in the country – Florida International University and Miami-Dade College. Yet the way we serve Hispanic students may be different in some ways from how Texas A&M may serve their Hispanic students.

Overall Population Facts

               Hispanics are 50% of the total population growth in the US. While the overall share of Hispanics continues to grow, the rate of immigration has decreased. Many Hispanic have been naturalized citizens for over 10 years (78%) or are 2nd generation citizens. About 79% of Latinos living in the country are U.S. citizens. Over 70% of Latinos over age 5 speak English proficiently.

               The population makeup varies tremendously in different metropolitan areas. In Miami, our largest group is Cuban-American; Orlando’s largest is Puerto Rican, D.C’s is Salvadoran-American, and L.A’s is Mexican-American. It is important to understand the differences culturally and the unique perspectives of the different groups in your city.  As a small example, in my hometown of Miami, our Cuban students often have increased pressure from their parents to pursue careers in medicine, influenced by the unique history of Cuba.


Latin America is mostly collectivist, meaning that the group needs are as or more important than the needs of the individual. Family is important and can have impacts on the students’ educational experiences and decisions. Parents may be more involved and students may prefer to go to institutions closer to their families.

Education statistics

In fact, nearly half of Latino college students — 48 percent — go to community college, higher than any other race or ethnic group, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.

Here are the most common majors among Hispanics:

Marketing Stats


Less money is spent on ad spend toward Hispanic audiences in proportion to the populations size. Additionally, a disproportionate amount of spending dollars is spent on TV ads as opposed to digital. Marketers should look more into digitally targeting Hispanic Americans.

Hispanic users spend almost 10.5 hours per week using the internet on their smartphones, compared to the overall average of 8.4. Hispanics outpace all ethnic groups in mobile data service consumption including music and picture downloads.

Hispanic millennials are more likely to interact with brands on social media.

Almost 50% of Hispanic millennials said they had talked about a brand online with others or used a brand’s hashtag, compared to 17% of non-Hispanics. 

The US Hispanic market is trendy.

US Hispanics like to be the first to share with their friends (30 percent vs 13 percent), are more than twice as likely to follow trends than non-Hispanics (41 percent vs 18 percent), and enjoy trying new products first (31 percent vs 14 percent).

Latinos are more loyal to companies that communicate in Spanish.

They also respond well to Hispanic spokespersons in advertisements.

Just like any student, Hispanic-American students respond best when they feel heard and understood. So let’s invest some time and resources into bridging the gaps so that all of our students can benefit as they learn from each other in quality institutions.

Click here for ways that institutions have already shown their commitment to their Hispanic students. How is your school serving your Hispanic students?