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Mums and Digital Media

Mums and Digital Media

Friday, August 09, 2013
Amy Rybczynski

I had my second child back in February, and constantly marvel at how my parenting perspective has changed in the years since my first baby was born.  New parent jitters have been replaced with a calm(er) confidence, new gadgets have made things simpler, and some previously important things have simply fallen by the wayside now that two small humans monopolize my non-work time.  One other change in the five years since my first baby was born is my increased involvement in social media and the blogosphere.  I joined Facebook, got a Twitter account, and have discovered countless parenting blogs.  I can get advice, discover new products, and find out I’m not alone in dealing with my latest parenting challenge, all from the comfort of my couch.  Social media has certainly been an enlightening addition to my parenting arsenal.

Turns out I’m not alone.  A recent eMarketer report found that Canadian mums are the most social consumers in the country.  While some digital pursuits (i.e., online shopping and smartphones) have been a little slower to catch on in Canada, Canadian mums are leading the charge to greater online involvement.  The “Canadian Digital Mum 2012 Report” from Mum Central Consulting (MCC) notes that 86% of Canadian mum internet users go online every day.  Nearly 60% visit social networking sites daily and more than three-quarters do so in a given week.  More than half of mums are actively participating on those social networking sites each week by updating their profile and commenting on other users’ activity.  In addition, in any given month, more than 50% of connected mums are reading online forums, and a third are reading blogs, with at least a quarter of mums commenting or participating on those types of sites.  All told, Canadian moms spend 18% more time online than the average Canadian female social media user (more than 10 hours monthly) (according to comScore).  Given the endless demands on mums’ time, that’s a pretty significant indicator of the importance of the medium in their lives.

Not surprisingly, mums are also shopping online.  I know from personal experience that it’s often easier research and buy products online when my kids are in bed to than it is to drag both of them out and hope they’re patient while I peruse the racks.  According to the MCC study, more than two-thirds of Canadian mum internet users have researched items like media, clothing, baby/kids items, and travel online.  The percent of purchasers in those categories varies between 34% and 55%, but in all four of those categories, the percent of mums purchasing is at least half of those researching.

The MCC study also looked into which digital media mums trusted most.  Trust in online sources, like social network comments, and brand pages and advertising on social networks, grew significantly between 2011 and 2012, while trust in traditional media (radio, print and television) dropped or remained steady.  Nearly two-thirds of mums say they trust friends’ social media posts, which accounts for 10% more than any other medium studied.  The report also noted that 57% of online mums report reading reviews in a given month, so it is quite evident that mums are regularly referencing online sources in order to make purchasing decisions.

As a mum based in the U.S., I’m pretty confident these findings would be pretty similar south of the border as well.  The emergence of social networking and other ways of digitally connecting to the world around us has changed motherhood significantly.  Any advertisers that haven’t turned their attention to this key demographic need to take note of this study and recognize the importance of modern mums to the digital landscape…and their bottom line.

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Amy Rybczynski
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