Marketing to Moms Online: Digital Habits & Behaviors

They’re Younger Than You Think

The average American mom has her child at 25, meaning that new moms were born in 1987 and attended high school in the early ’00s. Most moms of toddlers are millennials – digital natives who grew up gaming on their Playstations, IMing, texting and surfing the web. Don’t treat them as technophobes – they’re the polar opposite. They won’t balk at handing their child an iPad, and will likely game on the tablet as often as their kid does. 95% of them are internet users, 76% are on social networks, and one of three US moms owns a smartphone. Those that do, spend more time on it per day than magazines, TV or radio. They’re young and they’re plugged in.

Make Their Hectic Lives Easier

What always surfaces in our interviews and surveys with moms is how unbelievably hectic their lives are at any given moment. They’re constantly juggling and multitasking, trying to make it through the day as best they can. They can’t be captives to a long video or complex game – make it simple and powerful. Focus on the quick wins. Focus on small but significant improvements to their busy lives. The crux of Champlify, our mobile app for Chobani Champions, was to add quick, fun, enriching activities to parents’ and kids’ daily routines. Three times a week, families were given a fun activity simple enough that it could be done in any location at any time – with a digital trophy awarded upon completion. With Champlify, it was all about the quick, easy wins.

Digital Co-viewing: Same Content, Different Meanings

Designing online experiences for young kids usually means they’re going to be sitting in their parents’ laps as they engage with them. Use the opportunity to design experiences built for co-viewing: make it whimsical and kid-friendly, but full of content that parents find useful too. Often the same content will be entertaining or relevant in different ways to a child and their parent. (See: Pixar movies.) When designing Dora the Explorer’s Beyond the Backpack, we needed to inform parents about the importance of kindergarten preparedness while educating the child with math and reading games. In order to keep the site engaging at every step for both audiences, we balanced each section’s content so that parents had something to read while children had something to play.

Help Them Get Offline

Despite the fact that they’re digitally-savvy, a common mom complaint we’ve heard is that their children spend too much time staring at screens. Can your site, ad, app or other digital experience entice kids to have offline fun? When we rebuilt Crayola.com we asked ourselves – in an age when kids are spending so much time online, can we use a screen to foster creativity offline? Unlike most sites, the purpose of Crayola.com is not to keep visitors on the site for a long time. In fact, the site is a tool for driving product usage, so we made it very simple for users to get inspired, go offline and start creating. Activities and tools for offline behavior receive priority in the navigation and in our design decisions.

Use Every Screen

We know that we can no longer afford to limit our digital experiences to the desktop, but nowhere is this more evident than when marketing to moms. Again, the numbers speak volumes. Moms spend an average of 6.1 hours daily on their smartphones, 62% of them use shopping aps and 46% took action after seeing mobile ads. A third of moms own a connected device that isn’t a smartphone, and 97% of those that owned tablets made a purchase on them in the last month. When designing digital experiences, create them for multiple screens. When creating digital products, consider a mobile-first approach, or at least a multiplatform approach. Moms are constantly moving between screens – your content should be moving with them.

For more on the digital habits and behaviors of moms, check out this excellent Nielsen report and this viralheat post.

[Some of these thoughts were originally published in Water Cooler Talk: Moms are the "It" Demographic, but Misunderstood]

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