Moms are joining social networks en-masse. If you're a mom, or married to one like I am, you've probably noticed a lot more activity with moms on Facebook in the past six months. I was even friended by my own mom last week. Of course not wanting to rely entirely on my own circle of family and friends, I dug into the numbers a bit to see if the data supported what was a reality for me. It does.
According to comScore, year-over-year growth of women 25-54 with children in the household has gone up nearly 50 percent on Facebook since November of 2007. Café Mom, a social network for moms, has seen equally impressive growth, albeit from a smaller base of 34 percent. Further, MySpace continues to gain strength among online moms, and while MySpace's 4 percent growth was slower than rival Facebook's, MySpace still attracts more moms on a monthly basis overall. Of course, there are also several smaller social nets dedicated to women and moms, like SisterWoman, that are likely to have experienced similar growth over the past year. A 2008 study from MindShare estimated the number of moms on social networks to be around 33 million, and that number has only gone up since then.
As the sheer number of moms on social nets climbs, so does the amount of time spent on these sites overall. The average MySpace mom spends more than 12 hours on the site per week, according to a recent MySpace study. Interestingly, the same medium that women are spending more time with is the one that 75 percent of moms voted saved them time, according to the same MindShare study. And beyond saving them time, moms selected the internet as their second favorite pastime behind reading.
So what are all these moms doing on social nets? Social networking sites, along with the internet, TV, and radio, are the "daily use" media for moms. In fact, MySpace moms are more active in online and social media than they are in watching TV.
When do they find all this time? Late evening (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.) is when most moms are on MySpace. This is also a time when moms are most active with other media, indicating a high degree of simultaneous media usage. MySpace moms in particular report engaging in 1.85 other media activities while surfing. This makes perfect sense, of course; the kids are finally in bed, and the focus shifts back to mom's external interests again. From an advertiser's perspective, this knowledge can be used to influence the tone and messaging of a campaign by tapping into that "me time" mantra made so famous by Oprah and her legions of spiritual guides.
A recent report by Café Mom and Razorfish provides additional insight into various segments of moms and their digital activities. MySpace moms with younger kids, for instance, are more likely to visit social networks mid-morning, perhaps during their children's nap time. This is a perfect opportunity to daypart target those moms with younger children. But keep in mind the value that moms place on this coveted interlude, and ensure your communications are consistent with their expectations.
Those expectations might include using this time to catch up with friends. In fact, 78 percent of MySpace moms report first joining for this very purpose. Moms are also cultivating new friendships online through applications like Circle of Moms. This Facebook tool allows moms to connect with other moms based on common interests -- like using cloth diapers or raising twins -- through a discussion board, polls, photo galleries, and other interactive features. Circle of Moms currently boasts more than 2 million active monthly users and nearly 11,000 fans.
Despite the proliferation of social applications that cater to mom-related activities and kids, moms are, of course, much more than just mothers. Their core interests -- whether they are current events, fashion and style, cooking, music, or business -- are still a part of who they are outside of being a mom. And the brands that cater to those interests can find great success with moms on social sites.
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