Men: Want to Engage Moms? Go Online

T.V. is a part of most Americans life, especially for moms. Their children watch television, and consequently so do they.  In a blog on MediaPost, writer Petra Arbutina, asks a very good question: “Are these moms really engaged in the programming when they’re watching television with their families?” I would think that the answer is…no. As I mentioned in an earlier post, women are “multi-minders.” Though there may be something on the tv, it doesn’t mean that mom is paying the least bit of attention. More than likely, there are a million and one things running through her head and the commercial for a new soap scum remover that plays during her child’s afternoon show is just another distraction. As Ms. Arbutina says about her personal experience,

“Though my television may be on, there’s a good chance I lost the story line within five minutes of the show starting. And there’s even less chance that I’m going to catch the commercials.”

Ms. Arbutina also states that moms control $4 billion in annual ad spend, so it is absolutely critical to get their attention. But how do you get someone’s attention who’s concentration is likely to be split between so many things?

For the the blog, Ms. Arubutina and her associates at Media Post conducted research with over 400 moms who have children under the age of 12 living in their homes. They found that:

  • 75% of respondents watch certain shows with their children.
  • 50% of respondents indicated that they’re likely to be doing other things while watching television with their children. (This could mean that though they are watching the program, they aren’t engaging in it.)
  • Women with very small children indicated that it was “impossible for anyone to watch anything in the house when the kids are up.”
  • Women with older children experienced phases of “family TV viewing” where they watched shows targeted to their kids’ age group between ages 4-7.
  • Interestingly, as the kids get older, women become more engaged in the programming as they come to share favorite shows with their kids, such as “American Idol” and “Survivor.”
  • The respondents indicated that ultimately they can only truly engage in what’s on the television when their children aren’t present. (This was a consistent response among all respondents regardless of the age of the children.)
  • 81% of our survey respondents stated that they have “their shows” that they watch during what they deem to be their “me time.” This offers them an “escape” from the daily pressures of work and family.
  • Women are also prone to “time-shift” their preferred programming by DVRing their favorite shows or visiting On Demand, network websites and to re-watch shows or catch episodes they’ve missed.

What does this mean?

According to the research, if moms are watching TV with their children they are not probably not engaging with programs that their children are enjoying. I think its easy to conclude that if they aren’t engaging with the programs, they are definitely not engaging with the commercials. The research also shows that mom wants to watch TV during her “me-time” when interruptions from the kids are minimal. If you are advertising on television, try to get spots on more “grown-up” shows that mom will watch by hersef.

Unfortunately not every mom’s “me-time” is going to be the same. As stated in the last bullet point, mom is using technology such as DVR and websites such as HULU to make her favorite programing fall in line with her self-mandated “me-time.”

So how do you connect?

By going online. Moms are a huge part of the blogosphere and online world. By connecting with her online, you are going where she goes. You may want to gain her attention by advertising on websites where she goes to watch her programs.  If she is making time to go online and “engage” in her favorite programs, try to extend her engagement beyond the actual program. Ms. Arbutina suggests doing things such as online sweepstakes or interactive quizzes.

Bottom line…don’t assume that just because the TV is on mom is watching.



Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email

7 Responses to “Men: Want to Engage Moms? Go Online”

  1. Great stuff and actionable points for any marketers, advertisers or similar to act on.

    There’s still too much old information being used, and stereotypical approaches from male-oriented agencies to try and win over the mommy audience.

    The growth and buying power of mom bloggers is something more companies really need to take seriously, and your ideas here are a great starting point.

  2. Moms make about 85% of the purchasing decisions in the home, so they’re an important target market. Dads should visit some of the Mom blogs if they really want to get an idea of moms are doing

  3. […] Media Post conducted research and asked the question: “Are women really engaged in the programming when they’re watching television with their family?“ The result is that 75% of mothers watch TV with their children, but 50% are likely to do other things in the meantime. All respondents agreed that they can only engage in a TV program, when the kids are asleep. Advertisers should therefore choose grown-up-shows that mothers watch in the evening to relax. The best way to connect with moms, is online, says Media Post. They are part of online communities, blogs and watch TV online. By doing online sweepstakes or interactive quizzes, advertisers can extend their engagement online. [DE] […]

  4. Stephanie,
    Great post! I ran across this and RTed it out to my peeps. I am so ready for some me-time.
    Lori Taylor

  5. […] food or pulling laundry out for another cycle, a mom is never in front of the TV for very long. She-economy reports that 50% of surveyed mothers suggested that if the television was on, they were engaging in […]

  6. Great actionable points!

  7. […] this is because we are “multi-minders” as Stephanie Holland mentions  in a post at  Holland says that we  “multi-minders” are unlikely to be ever pay full attention to just […]

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