Mom's 'Backup Brain' - Why Smartphones Are Smart Media

You just left the house, you’re in your car, and you’re halfway down the block when you realize you left your wallet on the kitchen table. Do you turn the car around and go back?

Now imagine that instead of your wallet, you’ve left your smartphone. Are your tires squealing as you make that U-turn? 

We’ve been asking moms a version of this question for a few years now, and this year the results really stood out: 46% of moms said they would return home for their smartphone but not their wallet. That’s 26% more than last year – a huge jump!

It’s even more surprising when you consider this: In 2014, for the first time, the number of moms owning smartphones is almost exactly the same as the previous year (88% of moms). So while smartphone ownership has plateaued, smartphone dependence is on the rise.

Exhibit A



I understand that dependence completely. As the full-time working mother of a 6- and 9-year-old, I feel lost without my “backup brain.” My phone helps me fit small tasks into every part of my day – whether I’m waiting for a parent-teacher conference or sitting in the dentist chair. Last month I used Amazon’s mobile app to order school supplies from the airport – just in the nick of time!

Every day, it seems like there’s an ingenious new app that helps me get more done. When I’m on the road, I use Uber and Flywheel to get to meetings, plus Yelp for scouting restaurants. I use Instapaper to read our school’s blog and keep track of my kids’ activities, and when I’m on my way home (and running late!) I order dinner from Seamless. 

It’s not all work and no play

With every new app, my dependence increases – and so does my productivity. But even during my hard-earned free time, you’ll find me with smartphone in hand. My kids and I like to watch videos together or look up instructions for American Girl crafts. I also love using my phone’s camera to take pictures of my kids to send to my family and to keep in touch with friends on Facebook.

Our research shows that I’m not alone in any of this. Overall, Millennial Moms spend almost two hours online on their phones per day – half an hour more than their Gen X peers. And 79% of Millennial Moms say they access social media on their smartphones once or more daily.

Coupons are king, and other marketing insights

When you consider all the competition for that tiny screen, it’s clear that only truly strategic marketers will succeed in cutting through the clutter. Here are a few insights from our latest research to help you earn Mom’s attention:

· Our data about coupons is hard to ignore: Nearly 75% of moms are particularly motivated to act on coupon offers. If the coupons offer a geographically convenient deal, she’ll be even more likely to respond.

· When it comes to product information, more is more. Moms like being able to scan bar codes for product information, customer reviews, and how-to videos.

· Give Mom every opportunity to amplify your message. 71% of moms say they will text or email photos of a product to someone else, 43% say they’ve liked more than 20 brands on Facebook, and a whopping 90% of Millennial Moms say they will share a coupon offer on Facebook. That kind of Mom-approved messaging is hard to beat.

When you consider the huge potential for companies to earn their customers’ trust and loyalty, it’s no surprise that moms aren’t the only one completely dependent on their smartphones. Smart marketers are, too!

1 comment about "Mom's 'Backup Brain' - Why Smartphones Are Smart Media".
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  1. Samantha Fein from Threxy, Inc., September 15, 2014 at 3:29 p.m.

    I cannot agree with you -- and the dataset -- more.

    I have one rule with mobile apps for moms: make it easy for me, make my life easier, better, get my stuff done for me more efficiently.

    If an app can't do that, then I'm out.

    Apps that make me feel good and get sh*t done for me (making me a better marketer and better mom) are ones like Refresh App ( that gives me a snapshot of who my next meeting is with, Totspot ( where I can buy and sell my kids' outgrown clothes with one click while a kid pulls on my arm, and my beloved InstaCart ( that literally puts groceries on my doorstep while I sit in Silicon Valley traffic.

    Make me a better mom and you've given me an app I'll keep.

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