Babies are not the only business at BabyCenter, the largest online resource for expectant and new parents around the world. Moms are also high on the list, and BabyCenter is constantly studying their digital behaviors. Mike Fogarty focuses on driving revenue and growth in 22 global markets. He spoke with eMarketer about how motherhood affects moms’ use of their mobile phone.
eMarketer: How are moms using mobile today?
Michael Fogarty: It’s very clear that moms are using mobile in different ways from the general women’s mobile segment because motherhood instigates mobile usage. We learned that 53% of moms actually purchased a smartphone as a result of becoming a mom.
Increasingly, moms are using mobile to manage their lives. So it’s easy to see why moms are 18% more likely to have a smartphone than the general population. It’s much more than a phone—it’s everything from her calendar, her scheduler, her text messenger, her way to keep up with the nanny, her recipe finder, her GPS, etc.
We understand how time pressed mom is, and we understand the way she uses mobile throughout the day. Mobile usage peaks in the morning and again during the baby’s naptime in the middle of the day. We have a great sound bite: “Naptime is the new primetime.” Then she combines mobile with traditional media like TV at the end of the day. The way that the mobile is used throughout the day informs a lot of our strategy about how to develop and execute to engage her throughout the day.
eMarketer: Does having a baby change how women use their mobile phone?
Fogarty: Very much. In our spring survey, we asked, “What are the most important features on your phone, before and after becoming a mom?” Before, the three most important features were the contacts and address book, text messaging and email. After she becomes a mom, the top three features are the camera, the video camera and apps.
But other things change, too: 62% of moms change the brands they buy when they become moms. And 73% change their purchase criteria for apparel and beauty products. For example, the Victoria’s Secret brand goes from relatively high on the list to right down in the basement—it doesn’t even show up. Brands that spike higher are Old Navy and Hanes. It’s really amazing. In terms of purchase criteria, anything that has to do with mom personally goes down, and anything that has to do with price and convenience goes up.
eMarketer: How do you see moms using social networks on their phones?
Fogarty: Motherhood is a catalyst for sharing. They do so much work to make so many decisions about so many products and brands in such a short period of time, they feel the need to share that information—and they do it via social networks.
They’re sharing photos of their kids, of course, but in terms of shopping, they want to share their recommendation about which stroller or diaper brand to buy. Anytime you get a coupon for something that’s relevant, especially in terms of the stage you’re at—whether it’s pregnancy or new motherhood—there are thousands of moms out there who would benefit. If you’re on a social network, you’re going to share that. And increasingly it’s being shared via mobile because it’s so much easier. It’s almost like the hand-off, passing the coupon to somebody with a click of a button. You can do this with a press of your thumb while you’re in the carpool line.
eMarketer: What are some best practices you’ve learned about reaching mobile moms?
Fogarty: In terms of consumer experience, we’ve worked really hard to not just repurpose a desktop experience on a mobile platform. The recognition that moms are using their mobile phone differently than they’re using their desktop or their laptop is really important.
We’ve translated that learning to the mobile experience, to let moms get information quickly that’s incredibly specific to them no matter where they are, or when during the day. She may only have a couple minutes in the drop-off line at nursery school, or in the checkout line at the supermarket. So we have reconsidered the mobile experience deeply, about how to best enable mom to utilize our content and tools, like the My Baby This Week app, the My Pregnancy app.
From a marketing standpoint, making sure that mobile is an integral part of the cross-platform mix is so important. Reaching mom at the right time and place requires mobile. If you’re not there, you’re missing her.