Latino Voices

Javier Garcia, General Manager Of Yahoo! U.S. Hispanics, Talks About Tackling Latino Market

Born and raised in Colombia, Javier Garcia has always been searching for opportunity. From the first time he left home to attend Wharton School of Business in Pennsylvania to the time he took a job in Kansas City, Garcia has worked hard to get to where he is today and it’s paying off.

Garcia joined the Yahoo as the head of editorial operations for Latin America six years ago and in about three years ago developed the market development solutions team, which grants solutions to advertisers. Garcia was then promoted to general manager of Yahoo U.S. Hispanic about a year ago. Having the Colombian as a leader, Yahoo has been able to expand the advertising solutions portfolio on Yahoo! en Español and has launched bi-cultural projects such as Shine Latina.

Recently, I sat down with Javier Garcia to talk about his success and how he’s been able to reach the U.S. Hispanic market. Take a look at our Q&A:

Q&A with Yahoo’s Javier Garcia

Q: What led you to focus on the U.S. Hispanic and Latin market particularly?

A: There was definitely an affinity due to my background, but I also saw an opportunity. When you look at the Hispanic market it’s a market that there’s still 80 percent penetration of internet, but they over index anything that has to do with anything online. Hispanics tend to engage more with video and they are overly social. One of every four babies in the next 50 years or so is going to be a Hispanic. It’s definitely a growth opportunity and I thought it was very interesting.

Q: What is Shine Latina?

A: Shine is our bi-cultural website focused on lifestyle and written in English, but angled to resonate with Hispanics. We’re not trying to alienate anyone, but if you are Latino you can relate a bit more intensely. There were more Hispanics going to Shine then going to Univision (a leading source for Latinos) for example . The strategy was not to create another bi-cultural site, but to bring in the audience that we already have in our channels and then to program it for Hispanics. That’s how it started. That connection is what makes Shine Latina shine.

Q: What would you say would be the biggest differences that you’ve noted between the U.S. Hispanic market, the U.S. market and the Latin American market?

A: When you compare the U.S. Hispanic market versus the U.S. general market, Hispanics tend to embrace and consume more, so they’re generally over index in a lot of things. They also behave a lot like the general market, but in general terms we see a more engaged type of audience. For example, Hispanics may be enjoying “American Idol,” but they also may be going to Yahoo! Colombia or Yahoo! Argentina for the latest news. So it’s like this mix that you really need to know how to program towards. I think Latin America is a little bit different. Internet consumption is a little bit low and it’s still driven a lot during office hours, like lunch breaks and definitely more focused towards their countries. So even though Hispanics can draw some stuff from Latin America, the trick is how do you program towards that diverse segment. The U.S. Hispanic market has the mix so it’s trickier. You need to come up with content that resonates with them, calls their attention. The trick is how do you find that angle on the particular event that reaches everyone. If we cover baseball, maybe one of the pieces that we write we focus it on a Latino player and not necessarily on the team.

Q: Have you seen any difference in how the U.S. market uses social media in comparison to the Latin market?

A: In general, Latinos are more social so they tend to share more, vote more, participate more so we see our indexation of that. In particular, with some programs we’ve seen more content sharing as well.

Q: What is the difference between Yahoo! Latin America, Yahoo! Español, and Yahoo! Hispanics?

A: Yahoo! Latin America is essentially the series of assets of sites we have in the region, like Yahoo! Colombia. Yahoo! Español is the hub for U.S. Hispanics, essentially it’s in Spanish, but the editorial teams’ angle is catered to Hispanics; first generation Hispanics that are interested. As far as Yahoo! Hispanics, it is directed toward second or third generation Hispanics born and raised in the U.S. who may or may not speak Spanish.

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It's megadiverse
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Colombia is one the few "megadiverse" countries in the world. It manages to house 10 percent of the world's biodiversity. And it ranks first in bird and orchid species diversity, and second in plants, butterflies, freshwater fishes and amphibians.

To put all of this in perspective, 68.7% of Colombia's surface is covered by natural ecosystems.
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It's also racially diverse
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Colombia is profoundly racially diverse, too. As of 2005, 10.4 percent of the country's population was Afro-Colombian and 3.4 percent was Amerindian, according to the CIA's World Fact Book.

Many of the country's afro communities reside along Colombia's coasts, near port cities that use to be hubs for slave trading in the Americas.
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It has world-renowned emeralds
AFP PHOTO/Guillermo LEGARIA
Colombia is known for exporting many things, but did you know the South American country is responsible for 60 percent of the world’s emeralds? That’s right, it’s likely that the green gem in your jewelry box originated from the emerald deposits of Muzo. Known for its deep green color and brilliance, Colombia’s emeralds are some of the most sought-after in the world.
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It has (almost) every climate under the sun
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While many know the country as a tropical paradise thanks to its location near the Equator, its rich ecosystems are possible due to its varied climate zones (rainforest, savanna, steppe, desert, mountain climate, etc.). Colombia’s temperatures vary based on elevations and rainfall.The country's capital, Bogotá, for example, is almost 9,000 feet above sea level and its average temperature is 57 °F.
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It has the best coffee in the world
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Ahh yes, if there’s one thing Colombia has always been synonymous with, it’s delicious freshly ground coffee. The “Eje Cafetero” (Colombian Coffee-Growers Axis), also known as the “Triángulo del Café”, located mainly within the Caldas, Risaralda, and Quindío departments is home to what many consider the best coffee in the world.

Fun Fact: The figure of Juan Valdez that represents the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia is not based off a real person. The fictional poncho-wearing character widely referenced abroad (remember that scene from “Bruce Almighty”?) is simply used to represent Colombian coffee farmers.
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It's home to the river that ran away from paradise
The world is full of amazing rivers and lakes, but how many are as colorful as Caño Cristales? It's commonly referred to as "the river that ran away to paradise." Why? Because from September to November, the water level dips, and the moss on top of rocks begins to change and bloom in a variety of beautiful colors.
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Se habla español...y muy bien
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While the Spanish language may have its roots in the motherland of Spain, Spanish is considered to be particularly well-spoken in Colombia.

In 2007, Víctor García de la Concha, the director of la Real Academia de la Lengua Español, the official royal institution overseeing the Spanish language praised the country's Spanish while speaking to Caracol Radio.
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It's growing as a fashion hub
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“La ciudad de la eterna primavera” (the city of the eternal Spring) says plenty about the beauty of Colombia’s second biggest city, Medellín. Once known as the home of the ruthless drug lord Pablo Escobar, its thriving textile industry has helped shed its past reputation and replace it with a growing fashion industry. Medellín hosts two important annual fashion-related events: Colombia Moda and Colombiatex.
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It's a country that values rest
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Only bested by Argentina, Colombia has the second highest number of national holidays in the world. With 18 public holidays and an average of 15 paid vacation days, it’s clear that this South American country values rest. In comparison, according to ABC, the U.S. only has 10 public holidays.

Most Colombians take advantage of the long weekends, also known as “puentes festivos,” to travel within the country with friends and family.
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It prioritizes a healthy lifestyle
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Since 1974, on Sundays and national holidays the country’s capital closes its usually congested main roads to give Bogotá’s residents a chance to walk, run, bike, skate and skip with its ciclovía. In other words, from 7 AM to 2 PM Colombian families and tourists can use the over 75 miles of asphalt as their playground.
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It's filled with amazing food
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All that Ajíaco, Sancocho, Bandeja Paisa, Mojarra might be the real reason Colombians need the ciclovías to exercise on the weekends. With delicious typical stews hailing from different corners of the country, Colombians hardly lack gastronomic splendor. For more delicious food reason, click here.
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It's home to salsa Caleña
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“¡Oiga, Mire, Vea....vengase a Cali para que vea!”

Colombia’s third most populous city, Cali, is sometimes called La Capital de la Salsa (World’s Salsa Capital). With significant differences from other styles of salsa, “Salsa Caleña” is known for its quick footwork with a mostly still upperbody. But Colombians do more than dance Salsa, the country is most well known for both its Cumbia and Vallenato genres.
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It was Gabo's birthplace
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Nobel Laureate and novelist Gabriel García Márquez was perhaps the most well-known figure in Colombian literature. Author of “One Hundred Years of Solitude" (1967) and "Love in the Time of Cholera" (1985), his works have not only been critically acclaimed but have made “Gabo” an icon within the Magic Realism genre.
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It's where the legend of El Dorado originates
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If you’ve ever heard of the Legend of El Dorado, then you know of Colombia’s pre-Columbine history. The original narrative told the story of the Muisca people who used gold not as a symbol of material wealth but as a sacred metal for religious offerings. The legend describes the famed El Dorado ceremony which welcomed the new cacique (chief). Covered in gold dust, the chief would travel atop a raft. Later he would dive into the lake with his offerings as bystanders cheered.

Bogotá’s International Airport “El Dorado” was named after the ceremony, and gold artifacts, like the Muisca Raft, can be found in the capital city’s Museo del Oro (Gold Museum).
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La Selección Colombia is full of love and talent
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Colombians rarely miss a chance to socialize over a good soccer match thanks to their common love of fútbol. Whether it’s celebrating a La Selección Colombia win or coming together after a defeat, Colombian wear their yellow, blue, and red with pride.

James Rodriguez and los Cafeteros showed the world their growing power and dance moves at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Rodriguez took home the Golden Boot for most goals scored in the tournament and also won Best Goal of the Tournament.
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It's given the world beloved megastars
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Despite all of the country’s qualities perhaps what shines the brightest internationally are its stars. The country has produced everyone from the charitable Juanes and Shakira to the hilariously sexy Sofía Vergara. And don't forget about the musically talented Fonseca, Carlos Vives, J Balvín and Maluma. There's no shortage of stars in Colombia.
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It's made the art world fall in love with the chubby
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For all those chubby-loving art fiends, Colombian artist Fernando Botero’s work is nothing short of innovative. His figurative style “Boterismo” is characterized by portraying subjects in exaggerated volumes. His works are known to depict chubby women, men, children, animals, and even still-life in daily life with a sense of humor. Botero has also taken classics, like Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, and given them his own unique touch.
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It has more festivals than you know what do with
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It's not enough to have astonishing biodiversity and ethnic diversity, you need to celebrate it. Colombia has the world's biggest theater festival (Festival Iberoamericano), salsa festival and flower parade. It also has the second biggest carnival in the world!
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It's made a hell of a comeback
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TIME magazine said it best when they featured the Colombian president on the cover of their international edition in April 2012, and praised the country as thus: "From nearly failed state to emerging global player -- in less than a decade."

Colombia's economy has been growing over the years and despite some setbacks, the country currently has one of Latin America's most stable economies.

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