Editor’s Note: Lisa Brown, Market Solutions Director at Sharethrough, contributed research to this article.
Moms aren't what they used to be, and marketers are having to play catch-up.
The average new mom today is 25 years old—a Millennial. As Millennials have come of age, their value to brand advertisers has grown considerably.
Millennial Moms are a particularly prized target. The scale of this segment — 9 million in the US alone – is enormous. And as the primary decision-makers in their households, Millennial Moms have a massive amount of purchasing power, spending $170 billion in 2014, according to BabyCenter, the leading web and mobile resource for pregnant women and new moms.
For comparison, all of Gen X combined only accounts for $125 billion in annual spending.
And it's not just the size and wealth of this demographic that matters. Like all Millennials, Millennial Moms are incredibly influential online.
Millennial Moms are notoriously difficult for brands to connect with.
According to the latest BabyCenter report, Millennial Moms are more connected, with 90% owning a smartphone, 57% owning a tablet, and 53% owning both. Millennial Moms spend more time online (8.3 hours per day versus 7.4 for Xers), and, other research shows, are more likely to post to social media, retweeting 44% more than other moms and 35% more likely to “like or recommend” products.
Marketers have been slow to adjust to the times.
Like other highly-connected segments (business decision-makers, for instance), Millennial Moms are notoriously difficult for brands to connect with.
They are spending less time consuming traditional media, like TV, and more time with non-traditional platforms like Snapchat. And marketers have been slow to adjust to the times.
Millennial Moms are just as likely to notice digital ads as TV ads (44% versus 43% for TV), yet TV still commands 37% of overall ad spend, versus just 15% on mobile. Meanwhile brands face stagnating sales and stunted growth as they struggle to win the loyalty of a new crop of caretakers.
At Sharethrough, we've seen brands successfully transition to a content strategy that focuses on Millennials, one that emphasizes relevant, valuable content over tone-deaf taglines.
These are the five trends brand marketers need to know about Millennial Mom behavior to better understand and communicate with this highly-valuable, highly-elusive demographic.
1. Millennial Moms Are Cross-Device
Like many Millennials, Millennial Moms are never without their smartphones, including when they’re interacting with other types of media. Fifty-five percent of Millennial Moms use their smartphone while watching TV, and a quarter of tablet users watch TV while using their device. These moms spend time across multiple devices and feel very comfortable switching between devices. When Millennial Moms get inspiration from their laptops, they are more likely to continue their research on their smartphones. Even though Millennial Moms use multiple devices to inspire, research, and influence, they all converge at the end of the purchase funnel.
2. Millennial Moms Are On Social Media
Social media helps Millennial Moms stay connected to the outside world. Of the 35+ hours Millennial Moms spend online, over half of that (17 hours) is spent on social networks. In fact, the moment they become moms, their social media habits shift toward more interaction with Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. In addition to these social networks, Millennial Moms are highly engaged with parenting communities according to comScore and blogs such as CafeMom, BabyCenter and PopSugar.
3. Millennial Moms Need Relevant Ads
Millennial Moms don't think brands understand them. Almost 60% say they want brands to understand what matters to them as a parent. This is a huge hurdle that brands need to clear if they're going to speak to moms.
So what will get their attention?
Relevance. According to the latest BabyCenter report, Millennial Moms want high-quality content that is authentic, relevant, and transparent. That’s what will inspire trust and lead to long-term loyalty. Give young moms ads that are relevant to their life-stage or their children's life-stages, and 62% of them will take notice. Relevance also extends to a brand's choice of imagery. This generation of moms connects with imagery and finds that imagery centered on the family or the baby captures more of her attention.
4. Millennial Moms Appreciate Expert Advice
Young moms seek out content to help them learn or achieve something related to parenting. Sometimes it's professionally curated advice from experts. 65% of Millennial Moms seek out expert advice from other moms while 20% seek out advice via online forums or blogs.
But Millennial Moms also put their trust in each other. The majority of Millennial Moms trust their peers over "experts" for parenting advice.
As far as content marketing goes, tips and tricks are the number one type of content young moms look for, followed closely by product reviews.
5. Millennial Moms Love Recipes
Millennials are sometimes referred to as the "foodie generation." Seventy-six percent of Millennials say they like to cook and 89 percent want to get better at cooking. Millennial Moms lean toward special occasion cooking and spend less time on everyday cooking. These moms are looking for inspiration, primarily in the form of video. Sixty-eight percent of Millennial Moms watch videos while cooking and two-thirds of them will purchase food products that are featured in cooking videos.
As their cooking habits have changed, so too have their grocery shopping habits. Millennial Moms shop for groceries as they need them, which leads to the development of tactics that are focused on convenience. Brands should look to inspire moms through recipes on various cooking sites and social media outlets, wherever she's searching for cooking ideas. There is even an opportunity to capture Millennial Moms in stores while they are shopping. Fifty-one percent of Millennial Moms will search for recipes while they are shopping in store.