Marketing to Dad’s in a Digital World
Move over Ward Cleaver, a new breed of father has emerged and – much to the joy of mothers and marketers everywhere – they’re pitching in around the house. These ‘Millennial Dads’ are more engaged, more hands-on, and more online than ever before. They’ve become increasingly involved in the rearing of their kids, and this relatively new-found involvement has lead to an interesting and lucrative opportunity for savvy marketers.
Here’s what I mean: since 1965, fathers are spending almost triple the amount of time with their kids. What’s more, studies have shown that the number of dads who are staying home has doubled in the last couple of decades – and amidst trying to harness the chaos on the homestead, they have a few questions. OK – a lot of questions.
Forget the potentially time-consuming (or just awkward) task of talking to their own fathers, Millennial Dads are opting to simplify their Q&A by directing their queries to all-knowing and all-mighty search engines. It seems there’s a lot of pressure to live up to their ‘World’s Best Dad’ coffee mugs. In fact, according to data collected from BabyCenter – a leading site for new and expecting parents – ‘88% of Millennial Dads feel it’s at least somewhat important to be the ‘perfect dad,’ a higher percentage than Millennial Moms.” (FYI: BabyCenter questioned dads aged between 18-34, so these are the fathers I’ll be referring to under the ‘Millennial Dad’ umbrella term.)
So what does this mean for your branding?
It means that with 70% of Millennial Dads looking for info online day and night, there is an incredible opportunity for your brand to engage with these weary, panicked, and often frantic fathers. There is an opportunity for your brand to create a loyal, trusting and enduring relationship with this ever-so-slightly panicked population because you helped them in a time of need, and they won’t forget it.
It should come as no surprise that these Dads are using their smartphones to search. They’re busy guys, after all, and they seek out information between diaper changes, play dates, meal times, bath times and bed times. Sitting down to a laptop, desktop or even using a tablet is not a luxury these fried out fellas can afford.
Google’s numbers show that mobile queries for baby-related lingo has increased 52% year over year.
The Zero Moment(s) of Truth for Digital Daddy’s
The masterminds at Google have developed a clever way of helping marketers think about the way these dads are using their mobile devices. They’ve classified the searches into four categories:
I want-to-go moments, I want-to-do moments, I want-to-know moments and I want-to-buy moments.
I want-to-go moments.
Whether you’re an expecting dad whose wife insists on finding her organic almond brittle on your way home from work, a new dad in search of a specific brand of diaper rash cream for your sensitive skinned babe, or if you’re a burnt out dad who wants to know the hours of the local soft-play centre because if you have to stay in the house for one more moment with your toddler, you’re going to break into your bottle of Scotch, a mobile search is the quickest and easiest way to get your hands on where you’ll have to go – especially if you’re already on the go.
As a marketer, you have to think about how you can make finding your location easier. Interestingly, this on-the-fly location search isn’t confined to parents. Google reports the search volume of the phrase “near me” has gone up 34x since 2011. It’s almost doubled from last year alone, and about 80% of these queries are made on mobile devices.
I want-to-do moments.
Even the most skilled handyman can have doubts about his talents when he hears he’s going to be a father. Sure, he built his entire house from scratch, but the idea of putting together his baby’s crib has him breaking a cold sweat. Cue the smartphone.
Year over year, baby-related how-to queries are almost doubling. So ask yourself: is your content clear, well-structured, and actually helpful, or is it more reflective of an attempt to fill up a page with keywords at the cost of quality?
Also look to video. Millennial Dads are seeking out step-by-step videos to help them do everything from change a diaper, to install a car seat to make their own baby food. The most common baby/child related video searches include parenting tips (62%), baby health (59%), product reviews (55%), and pregnancy/baby development (46%).
Above all, ask yourself if you are answering the questions these Millennial Dads are going to be asking. Put yourself in their shoes, and then put your findings into your content.
I want-to-know moments.
Hospitals and primary care providers do a wonderful job of instructing new parents about the basics of child-birth and bringing home a baby, but many Millennial Dads are finding themselves stuck on the more obscure, but equally anguishing questions. Questions like, “why is my newborn’s breathing erratic?” or, or “are crib bumpers safe?” are thoughts that can plague nervous new parents – and often at night. In fact, baby-centric mobile searches peak in the evenings, particularly in regards to sleeping and feeding concerns. Makes sense. Dad can’t sleep until the baby does, right?
The searching doesn’t end when babyhood does, either. Toddlerhood and childhood are riddled with their own sets of questions, like “is it normal for my child to stick things up their nose?” or, “why does my son like to eat dirt?” start to crop up. Strange, yes, and to a parent who is treading these waters for the first time, it can be downright scary. Again, you will want to make sure your marketing efforts are addressing these sorts of questions, where and when possible. Remember: it’s about being there for your customers and creating that solid relationship.
I want-to-buy moments.
It’s not just the moms who are out wandering the grocery stores, outlets and malls like zombies; 7 out of 10 Millennial Dads say they help do the shopping – and it’s all about making the most out of every second. Fathers will look for items on their smartphone while standing in line at the grocery store, or watching their kids at the park or waiting for a kid to finish swimming lessons. Data shows that product safety, value and solid online reviews are some of the top considerations for fathers. Make sure your brand takes these factors into account, and that you radiate a sterling, trustworthy image.
58% of Millennial Dads say there isn’t enough father-focused content online, and 69% say they’d like more parenting content for dads available. What’s more, the content that is out there isn’t mobile-friendly, making the content difficult to read, jumbled and generally unappealing.
You’re going to want to start catering to the Daddy contingent sooner rather than later. As it stands, there isn’t much father-focused content online, so stepping up your brand’s presence in this niche market is a bold and powerful move.
Being a Google Partner allows us access to high-level stats, trends and research. For more see our Google Partner Studies section.