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Hispanic Marketing

Pros and Cons of Advertising on Spanish Language Radio


In the digital age as advertising options proliferate through websites, search engines, social media and more, the older, traditional methods of reaching potential customers might slip from view. But for some market segments, those traditional methods retain their appeal. One strong example is reaching the Spanish-speaking community through Spanish language radio.

As you consider your company's attempts to penetrate the Spanish-speaking market, reviewing the pros and cons of Spanish language radio remains a valuable exercise.

Pros of Spanish Language Radio

You'll find several advantages to advertising on Spanish language radio:

Little Competition

Most markets, even major metropolitan areas, have only one or two Spanish language stations. This means the stations are not fragmenting the market as they would be with English language stations, where you must choose from top 40, talk, country, hip-hop and more, hoping to hit the right demographic.

Heavy Usage

A larger percentage of residents who prefer to hear programming in Spanish also work in occupations where they listen to the radio throughout the day, such as construction workers, hotel service, kitchen staff, house cleaners, etc. These listeners are more likely to hear your message multiple times throughout the day, rather than just during drive time, meaning the message is more likely to stick.

Strong ROI

According to a 2014 study from Nielsen Catalina Solutions, radio advertising still provides a return of $6 for every $1 spent, and Hispanic listeners are even more likely to respond positively to radio advertising than the average, giving you an even higher ROI. Retail advertisers in particular fared well in the Nielsen study as their sales increased up to 23 times based on their radio advertising. Radio advertising also generated a quick return as listeners were most likely to purchase a product within one day of hearing about it on the radio.

Loyal Customer Base

Hispanic customers in general are more loyal customers as they stick with brands they like and become brand ambassadors by sharing their opinions with family and friends. Each Spanish-speaking customer you reach through your radio advertising then creates additional customers.

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Cons of Spanish Language Radio

You'll still experience some disadvantages of radio advertising to the Spanish-speaking community, so you will want to not put all your eggs in that basket.

Limited Exposure

As with any radio advertising, you need to rely upon the customers hearing your message. Even then the radio is playing, listeners are focused on other tasks and may not catch your message. You need heavy exposure for your message to penetrate listeners' consciousness and sway their buying habits.


Radio gives you access to only one sense – sound – so you lose the impact of visuals that you'll receive from television or online advertising. Hispanics in the US are bilingual (some more so than others).  Multilingual people often rely on more visual cues over auditory ones to understand a message.

Fragmenting Market

Though mentioned above that most markets contain few Spanish language stations, more options are available to Spanish speakers through the Internet and their phones. Listeners can choose from Internet services such as Pandora or even listen to favorite stations from their country of origin.

Changing Demographics

Younger generations from Spanish-speaking households have learned English and been exposed to other cultural options, so are less likely to be committed to listening to a local, Spanish-language radio station. They also are likely to be less trusting of the messages they hear on the radio than their parents' generation.

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As you consider how best to reach out to the Spanish-speaking market, a thorough assessment of all your options is vital to receive the best return on investment. Bridges Strategies has experience in working through all of these media and can help you determine the best course for your company.

Contact us today to conduct a complete evaluation of your outreach efforts to the Spanish-speaking community.

About the Author

Ashley Quintana, M.S., B.A.

Ashley Quintana is the co-founder and managing partner at Bridges Strategies. A graduate of Oklahoma State University's media management master's program, Ashley co-founded Bridges Strategies with a $10,000 investment. Two years later, the bootstrapped company grossed almost one million dollars and grew to a team of eight. In her role, she develops, leads and executes digital marketing strategies for the company's growing client base.