iMedia Connection

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Last year, eMarketer and Baby Center, a network of interactive properties geared to the mom demo, teamed up to study how moms were using smartphones. The report found that 60 percent of moms were smartphone users, compared to just half of the general population. More importantly, moms were actually using the capabilities of their smartphones at a higher rate.

"Mothers were significantly more likely to access games, social media, and health information, and somewhat more likely to check the weather, listen to music, or shop via mobile," eMarketer reported.

Of course, that information begs the question, which apps do moms really love? We found 10 examples that really speak to the mom set. Some are mom-specific, while others may surprise you. Some are branded and some aren't. Either way, if you're a mobile marketer and you're not thinking about the mom demographic, it's time to start, and these examples will help you nurture that big idea.

Kraft iFood Assistant

Kraft's "iFood Assistant" has long been a favorite among mobile moms. But the app's popularity isn't surprising. For the most part, Kraft made a functional product that helps busy moms organize their shopping list and plan weeknight meals. That part was a no-brainer, and Kraft knocked it out of the park.

Target for iPad

Virtually all of the big box stores have mobile apps, and a lot them are aimed at moms. But "Target for iPad" is especially noteworthy because it closes the loop so well. Using a dedicated mobile experience, Target allows moms to claim ads sent to their mobile devices, add the item to their shopping list, and check out (without using cash). Taking mobile one step further, Target also rewards moms for using the brand's mobile channels by regularly throwing out mobile-only deals.

Starbucks

To start, Starbucks just plain makes life easier with a mobile payment system that turns a mom's smartphone into her wallet. That's a feature any mobile user can enjoy at a Starbucks store, but the app also works at Starbucks kiosks located at Safeway and Target stores, allowing moms to construct -- and pay for -- the beverage of their choice while doing their household shopping. The app also allows moms to store their favorite drinks, making it even easier to make that purchase. And to reward users for using the app over and over again, Starbucks has a loyalty program that offers free drinks for those who accumulate enough points. Lastly, the app is also a good resource for nutritional information on all the food and beverages sold at Starbucks, making it easier for busy moms to keep an eye on what their family eats and drinks.

Hashtag Mom

Here's how the app works: Using Foursquare's location-based service, the app allows kids to check in anywhere with the message "#mom." After that, mom gets either a call or text -- her choice! -- to let her know that her child is safe.

For brand marketers looking to use mobile to connect with moms, this relatively simple, straightforward app is a case study in utility. Reportedly, the app was built as a "fun side project" to help the developers who made it wrap their heads around the Twilio/Foursquare APIs that power it. But it just as easily could have been built by asking a group of moms what their top five concerns were about their teenage kids and then building a solution to address that enduring question: Where are my kids?

Doodle Kids

Sometimes the best apps for a busy mom is the one that can keep her kids entertained and engaged while she's doing one of the million other things she needs to do. While there are a lot of kid-friendly apps that offer mindless entertainment, "Doodle Kids," a bare bones color drawing program, has a couple of unique things going for it.

But at its core, "Doodle Kids" is instructive for any brand trying to connect with mobile apps because it proves that you don't necessarily have to be flashy to be a hit. Instead, "Doodle Kids" does one thing really well -- it lets you draw. That's it. The app works because it has a laser-like focus on its core function, and doesn't try to be all things to all users. And from a mom's perspective, that makes "Doodle Kids" incredibly simple to vet.

Baby Connect

In a nutshell, the app allows moms to track things like food, drink, diapers, sleep, mood, activities, and temperature. That information can be used to chart a baby's development over time, and the app can generate a range of reports and charts for the geekiest moms. But the app is also a valuable tool for working moms because it allows caregivers to post the information, which is then published to a feed moms can access from the office. The app also stores important contact information relating to the child, so that doctors, grandparents, and anyone else a mom might need to reach in an emergency is available at the press of a button. And if things are going well, the app also allows caregivers to share things like photos and updates of the baby in real time.

Mint

What  makes Mint such a winner? First, the app takes only about five minutes to set up. That's huge for moms on the go. Second, the app is capable of centralizing all of your financial information (banking, investments, credit cards, and budgets) onto a single platform. But there's a third factor working in the app's favor -- it has gotten amazing coverage from publications that include CNET, The New York Times, ABC News, and Money. That's impressive, and obviously it speaks to the app's functionality.

Bravado

Bravado makes nursing bras, so it isn't surprising -- or a reach -- for the brand to have a mobile app that helps moms find locations that are friendly for breastfeeding. In fact, it's a perfect example of an app being totally on brand. But three things really set "Your Breastfeeding Friendly Locator" apart and make it a hit with moms.

First, the app serves an obvious need. Second, the app's content is driven by moms, for moms: Locations are selected and rated by the user community. Finally, Bravado really understands outreach to mom bloggers. While the brand regularly gets a lot of love from the mom blogosphere, the company also makes an effort to connect with those bloggers through its own website.

Hipstamatic

The app, which sells for $1.99, gives photos a pleasing, nostalgic style that resonates with today's moms because it elevates a seemingly thoughtless shot into something worth preserving. But the app also succeeds with moms because it makes it easy to share those photos online -- something that's a constant for any parent today. Because moms are much more likely to want to make some photos even more special by printing them, "Hipstamatic" wins again with a feature that easily lets users order physical copies of their photos.

PBS Kids

The free app features thousands of clips from popular PBS shows, and according to one mom blogger, it's easy for kids of all ages to navigate. Even better, the clips are tailored to bite-sized pieces of content so kids can consume them in short bursts while their moms are running errands. In fact, it's little wonder that the app is regularly part of informative local stories on how moms can keep kids occupied -- and learning -- on long road trips.

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