With Mother’s Day upon us, we are all about mom. Beautiful, strong, selfless and nurturing are all ways we can describe her. However, in 2012, let’s add a few more words to that description list: connected, social and mobile. These three words represent a modern mom, based on the newly released Moms and Media 2012 report from Edison Research and Arbitron.
The report, which is drawn from the 20th Edison Research/Arbitron Internet and Multimedia Research series, showcases how moms are using technology and consuming various forms of media. The data shows us that moms have some strong characteristics and tendencies that continue to take shape as they become more invested with smartphones, social networking and just getting online in general.
In the Moms and Media 2012 report, we see that over a decade, moms’ time with the Internet has soared and she is logging well over 2.5 hours per day online. By comparison, in 2002 she clocked in only 53 minutes. Technology allows Mom to use the Internet for almost everything: shopping, banking, social networking and looking up information not only for her but for the family.
Moms confirm what we assume from their heavy usage: that the Internet is essential to their lives. 58% of moms in this year’s study said the Internet is “most essential,” which is a giant increase from where it was in 2002, a mere 17%.
While online, moms are using social media–specifically Facebook. In 2012, 72% of moms have a profile page on Facebook, which is up from the 62% in last year’s study. Moms are still discovering Facebook, so this number will likely continue to grow.
Not only are moms registered with social media sites like Facebook, they are using them often. Our research shows that 46% of social networking moms use those sites several times per day. This trend has been consistently on the rise, especially with the increased popularity of smartphones among this target group.
Moms continue to flock to the smartphone, outpacing Americans 12+ in ownership. More than three in five moms(61%) own a smartphone, compared to 44% of total Americans 12+. Smartphones are becoming a necessity for moms and they continue to be a driving force in the sales boom for these mobile devices.
The complete presentation slides for Moms and Media 2012 can be viewed below, or Download Moms and Media 2012 from Edison Research here.
How the study was conducted
A total of 2,020 persons were interviewed to investigate Americans’ use of digital platforms and new media. From January 20 to February 19, 2012, telephone interviews were conducted with respondents age 12 and older chosen at random from a national sample of Arbitron’s Fall 2011 survey diarykeepers and through random digit dialing (RDD) sampling in geographic areas where Arbitron diarykeepers were not available for the survey. Diarykeepers represent 45% of the completed interviews and RDD sampled respondents represent 55% of the completed interviews. The study includes a total of 500 cell phone interviews.
Smartphones and Moms are like peanut butter and jelly – they are good on their own, but together they are a perfect pairing. Moms now depend on smartphones and the devices are proving to be as vital as air and water for survival of a typical day. We know from our own data in the Moms and Media 2011 study and from other industry research that smartphone ownership among Moms is soaring. So I wasn’t so surprised when I was recently at two different events where the “mobile tech” dynamic was unmistakably in play.
My children are seven and four, so I’m regularly involved in the typical play group discussions and I know how powerful that “mom word-of-mouth” can be. However, these most recent interactions tapped into my inner researcher and I couldn’t help but mentally note what was happening.
In the first example, four moms, all with young children, were discussing the apps on their smartphones. When the conversation turned specifically to grocery shopping, one mom had us captivated when she talked about her positive experience with a shopping-from-home service offered by a grocery store. What is so telling about this anecdote is that by the end of the night, two of the other moms had already decided to give it try and had told two more people about it. Kudos to that grocery store, for this is exactly what marketers are told to do: get moms to talk about their product or service.
The other takeaway from that experience is that app download and usage is very relevant to moms, especially for utility. The eMarketer report, “Moms: Riding the Mobile Wave,” cites data indicating that moms are actually downloading more apps than non- moms. According to research conducted by Women at NBCU, moms who do download apps, download more of them than the average smartphone owner. Furthermore, moms with children 0 to 5 years old have the most apps, with 18.69 on average, compared to non-moms who average 17.8 apps.
In my other “a-ha” moment, I was at a party that took place in a restaurant. At one point I noticed five (!) children all ranging in age from 4 to 7 years old, playing on mom’s smartphone. I have seen this many times in individual cases but it was very eye-opening to see them all simultaneously, nonchalantly playing on the phones. This was clearly a regular occurrence for all of these kids and their parents. In the 2011 study “21st Century Mobile Moms Report” from Babycenter, it was noted that 52% of moms have ten or more apps downloaded and about 25% of those apps were for her kids.
It is evident that the dependence on smartphones will continue, and as the mobile technology advances to make more apps available, smartphone ownership among moms will likely rise even faster. Moms need apps almost as much as they need shoes…almost.
…At least, according to this article in the Boston Herald, which cites data from our Moms and Media: 2011 study about Moms and their social media usage. The article goes on to note the following:
“It’s undeniable that moms are shaping how people of all ages are using Facebook — moving away from the site’s early voyeuristic tendencies and toward relationship-building and information-sharing. As moms’ numbers on Facebook continue to grow, so will their impact. And you can bet it will be bigger than making sure we don’t drop any F-bombs in our status updates.”
With busy lifestyles and evolving technology geared toward everything mobile, getting a message to Mom via traditional means is becoming dated and often futile. We know from our Moms and Media: 2011 study that Moms are heavy Internet users, spending more than 2.5 hours online per day. Logically, getting to them on the Internet is the first step. However, the standard ads and typical banners are likely to get overlooked, especially on an already crowded site.
Even if she does respond to that ad, it is not necessarily going to leave a distinct impression on Mom. After all, she’s not looking for the sales pitch; she’s looking for the experience, something special to pass along – in other words, something she can share. YouTube seems to have this on its radar and is making an effort to bring in more big name advertisers, according this recent piece on nytimes.com.
Of course, conversion of advertising dollars from traditional sources to online videos will be an uphill battle. Moms, however, could be likely to embrace more modern strategies – especially when they are streamlined into an Internet experience that makes them laugh, cry or even gasp. Moms respond to that interaction – and will forward video content to a friend if it’s creative and worthy enough.
The Moms and Media: 2011 data shows that Moms do use online video (particularly YouTube) and this seems to be a rising trend, based on our tracking information. Moms are already highly familiar with this outlet, giving a boost to its advertising chances, and are, in fact, using it regularly. In our study, nearly one-third of Moms with Internet access said they had watched video programming on YouTube in the last week, and almost half noted doing so in the last month.
Another supporting factor that may help online video advertising take off with Moms is that they are not watching commercials on their DVRs. Our research supports what the nytimes.com article noted about DVR watchers fast forwarding through commercials – in fact, Moms are especially guilty of this: 82% of moms who often use DVRs said they fast forward almost every time they watch time-shifted programming on their DVR.
Moms And Media: 2011 is a new report derived from the Edison Research/Arbitron Internet and Multimedia Research Series. This study examines the media habits of this highly sought after demographic group – where they are ahead of the curve, and where they lag. Since we have tracked this data since 1998, the report examines at key trends and how those behaviors have changed over time. The report also compares Moms to Dads, as well as to the general population, with a focus on what makes Moms and their behaviors associated with both online and offline media consumption unique.
Key findings include:
Moms have come to depend on the Internet for everyday life as their most “essential” medium.
Moms spend more time online daily than the general population, crossing the 2.5 hour threshold in 2011.
Moms are highly active on Facebook, with 62% of American mothers having a profile on the popular social networking service.
Smartphone ownership among Moms has exploded in two years, with 36% reporting smartphone ownership (compared to 31% for the general population).
How the study was conducted
A total of 2,020 persons were interviewed to investigate Americans’ use of digital platforms and new media. From January 4 to February 2, 2011, telephone interviews were conducted with respondents age 12 and older chosen at random from a national sample of Arbitron’s Fall 2010 survey diarykeepers and through random digit dialing (RDD) sampling in geographic areas where Arbitron diarykeepers were not available for the survey. Diarykeepers represent 46% of the completed interviews and RDD sampled respondents represent 54% of the completed interviews. The study includes a total of 480 cell phone interviews.