In a competition of mom’s parenting advice vs. the internet’s, digitally native Millennials turn to their own parents first, contrary to what one might expect. After that, however, they are twice as likely to consult the internet compared to previous generations. To be fair, however, the internet contains infinite resources and information, a much larger multitude of options than what was available to Millennials’ Boomer parents back in the day.
As such, social media is just one tool among many, though Millennial parents do find interactive social media sites advantageous. Nearly all parents cite social media as at least somewhat helpful to their parenting, with mothers turning to it most frequently. In a study by Crowdtap, moms were 35 percent more likely to talk about social media in reference to parenting than dads. When it comes to platform specifics, moms are more likely to be on Facebook, while dads are interested in platforms that they can learn from — particularly Pinterest (contrary to the opinion that the site is primarily for women) and YouTube.
YouTube videos are highly popular forms of online guidance in which the vast majority of Millennial parents — especially dads — watch parenting instructional videos for activities such as cooking and assembling gear. Moms and dads aren’t only using YouTube as an advising platform, but also to connect with their children through shared experiences and to make better purchases for their child.
Online parenting forums, such as the popular web community surrounding iconic brand What to Expect When You’re Expecting, allow for more convenient crowdsourcing than the original guide for new moms — you guessed it, parenting books. In fact, What to Expect When You’re Expecting is a perfect example of a brand that has adapted to a younger target audience. What started as a bestselling book morphed into a multi-platform experience featuring a baby development tracker, pregnancy clock and online forum with 18 million users.
Mothers want their specific questions answered, which is why “community is the most popular and most engaging section of our site,” said Michael Rose, What to Expect EVP and GM, to Adweek. “Every three seconds, moms are asking questions, answering questions or sharing advice, news, ideas or product reviews with one another.”
Though the web appears to be the primary database of parenting information for Millennials, they also sometimes report feeling overwhelmed and distracted by social media. Brands need to ensure that they are reaching out through video content and online parenting websites, but to a degree that’s accessible to parents rather than overpowering. Simply allowing advertisements and branded content to guide a conversation between parents or between parent and child will encourage the most successful experience for both marketers and families.