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54% of US Hispanics are Bilingual. Can Your Brand Speak to Them?

Briana Mendez, Senior Sales Marketing Manager, AudiencesJun 13, 2023

The bilingual experience starts at a young age for many Hispanic Americans, shaping their culture and identity. Learn how language fluidity defines this audience and gain some best practices for reaching them.

For advertisers, reaching Hispanic audiences is table stakes. The US Hispanic and Latino populations is 62M strong, increasing 23% compared to the previous decade.1 Clearly, it’s an audience that cannot (and will not) be ignored—not with its $1.9T in spending power.2 So, the only thing up for debate is whether or not brands know how to speak to this powerful, growing demographic. In English? In Spanish? 

Bilingualism is no longer an either/or. It is a diverse spectrum, connecting with culture every step of the way. Over half (54%) of the US Hispanic population is somewhere on the bilingual spectrum.3 We partnered with Alma for the Hispanic Bilingual Study to learn more about how language fluidity defines this audience. And we uncovered some best practices to help brands reach them with authentic, relevant messages.

54% of Hispanic Americans are Bilingual

Starting Out with Spanish

For many Hispanics, the bilingual experience started when they were young. Hispanics have historically introduced their children to languages sequentially, with 48% learning Spanish first and only 17% learning English first. Over three in four bilingual Hispanics learned Spanish when they were under three years old. And 69% grew up in Spanish-speaking households.3

Parents are able to bond with their children by passing down the language and culture and creating experiences that connect them to their heritage. For instance, when a baby cries, a Hispanic mother might quickly start talking or singing a lullaby in Spanish. This early exposure creates a deep-rooted emotional connection to the language that stays with them for the rest of their lives.

Spanish is often the first language for bilingual Hispanics

Tying Them to Heritage and Identity

Spanish is more than a means of communication for bilingual Hispanics—it’s a vital link to their identity and heritage. Compared to the total Hispanic population, bilingual Hispanics over index (141) for agreeing they identify very closely with Latino culture, with 87% saying speaking Spanish is an important part of their culture. And 79% say speaking Spanish is an important part of their identity.3

“My parents brought us to the US at a young age and instilled in us the importance of honoring our culture and language.” – Latina, age 35-39

Spanish is more than a means of communication for bilingual Hispanics

Connecting Them to Family and Friends

Spanish is a way for bilingual Hispanics to feel connected to their family. It’s the go-to language for speaking with loved ones, with 83% saying that speaking Spanish keeps them connected to their family. And 71% help their friends and family translate from English to Spanish and vice versa​.3

“Speaking Spanish has made it easier for my family. As my mother mainly speaks Spanish and understands little English, I am proud I can speak and understand both so I can help her.” – Male Latino, age 35-39

Most bilingual Hispanics communicate in both languages

Carrying on the Tradition

Nearly all bilingual Hispanics (97%) are currently passing down their language and culture or plan to pass them down.3 As they become parents, they’re taking a balanced approach to keeping traditions alive, finding and adapting methods to raise their children as bilingual from the start. One of these methods is translanguaging, where parents allow their kids to move easily between languages (for example, using Spanish at home and English outside of the home). 

passing down the hispanic bilingual experience

Best Practices for Speaking to Bilingual Hispanic Audiences

For bilingual Hispanic Americans, Spanish is deeply ingrained in their cultures and identities, connecting them to their family, friends, and heritage. It’s the sound of home, calling on their earliest memories and experiences, and inspiring them to keep traditions alive. But the Spanish language alone isn’t necessarily the way to reach them. They’re also an integral part of English-speaking society. Their fluency and fluidity allows bilingual Hispanics to seamlessly navigate their worlds.

So, what does that mean for brands? Let’s get into some best practices for crafting authentic messages for bilingual Hispanic audiences.

One Size Does NOT Fit All

It's crucial to recognize that the bilingual Hispanic audience is diverse, with varying preferences and experiences. So, to make a real impact, leverage unique targeting and creative approaches to connect with Hispanics across the spectrum. 

SXM Media Targeting Options

Contextual Targeting:

  • Latin Genre Targeting – Reach listeners as they enjoy their favorite Latin artists and songs on Pandora and SoundCloud.

  • Language Targeting – Target Spanish language content across our audio network.

  • Shows & Networks Targeting – Align with select culturally relevant podcasts.

Audience Targeting options:

  • MC Affinity-Latin Intensive Targeting – Reach listeners who spend 50% or more of their time with Spanish-intensive content on Pandora and SoundCloud.

  • MC Affinity-Latin Enthusiasts Targeting – Reach listeners who spend 20-49% of their time with Spanish-intensive content.

  • Hispanic Audience Predictive Targeting – Target comScore Hispanic predictive segments across the SiriusXM Podcast Network.

Language is a Tactic, not a Strategy

When connecting with your bilingual Hispanic audience, language should be a tactic, not the entire strategy. Language is just one piece of the puzzle, and it's essential to consider other aspects of the audience's culture and experiences to create a truly resonant message. Simply translating an idea from English to Spanish is not enough; it's essential to consider the cultural experiences and relatable narratives that will resonate with the bilingual audience. ​

The key here is to go beyond language and tap into the real experiences that resonate with the bilingual Hispanic audience. By digging into cultural truths, you can genuinely connect with your audience, no matter the language.

Craft In-language Copy with Care

When it comes to crafting in-language copy, be mindful and intentional. Language is powerful, and when used right, it can create a strong connection with your audience. Though 62% of bilingual Hispanics prefer bilingual ads on streaming platforms and 59% on podcasts, it’s important to be thoughtful when mixing languages.3

There should be a strategic rationale behind why certain words are used in Spanish versus English and vice versa. Focus on creating copy that flows naturally, like a conversation between friends. And remember, a dash of spice can be enough. Sometimes a few Spanish words are all you need to create a resonant and authentic bilingual ad.

Authenticity should always be the goal, no matter who you’re talking to. And we can help you reach any audience with the right message. Let’s talk.


1. 2020 U.S. Census

2. Edison Research The Latino Podcast Listener Report 2022

3. SXM Media Bilingual Study Oct 2022: SXM Media and Alma leveraged Soundboard, SXM Media’s proprietary online research community, reaching a sample of 500 Bilingual Hispanic listeners (those who speak both English and Spanish) ages 18+. The data was weighted by gender and age. Respondents had the opportunity to complete the survey in either English or Spanish.

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