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Video is the Catnip Du Jour for Modern Moms

Monday, August 17, 2009

Posted by Guest Blogger Jessica Hogue, CPG Research Director at Nielsen Online

They watch it (entertainment factor). They create it with handheld cams (community building factor). They also entertain and interact with their kids through properties like PBS Kids, Nick, Noggin and Disney (family factor). And online viewership is growing. Across all categories, moms spent nearly 43 percent more time viewing video online (in minutes) in June 2009 compared to the previous year. There are two key reasons why video seems to be gathering momentum among online moms.

The first reason, albeit a bit perfunctory, is simply accessibility. Widespread broadband is certainly important here, but video is also an enabler of sorts, allowing moms to participate in activities they might not otherwise have time for. For the same reasons that DVR’ing is addictive, moms can troll for content at any hour of the day (or, more likely, night) and catch up on, say, old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy.

Earlier this year, the Online division of The Nielsen Company conducted a video ethnography to better understand why, and specifically how, moms engage with digital applications in their everyday lives. We equipped select respondents with video cameras and tracked their interactions with social media, devices and technology daily for a week. In video diaries submitted from women hailing from Denver to Atlanta, moms captured moments sitting at the table with their tween or a toddler on their lap playing games online and engaging with educational content.

This ability to connect – to social networks and to those nearest and dearest – is a critical driver in moms’ viewing habits. Online video enables moms to engage with their social networks (a word on vlogging communities in a minute), as well as with kid-centric content. It is also creating new opportunities for moms to interact with and engage with their kids in a manner that is wholly relevant to their increasingly wired lives. Beyond our qualitative ethnography insights, the numbers support this: After entertainment video viewing, moms 21 to 54 collectively over index by 54 percent for time spent streaming kid-centric, gaming and toy properties.

Importantly we’re seeing just how much mom’s age and the age of her children matter to the types of video content she finds valuable, which is critical to informing marketers on how to better target, reach and develop relevant messaging for these women.

For example, in June 2009, more than 9 percent of unique visitors to gaming and toy properties were moms aged 21-34 with children between the ages of 2-11, compared with almost 14 percent of moms 35-49 (also with children between the ages of 2-11). While many may assume that younger moms might be more predisposed to streaming video than their predecessors, this doesn’t appear to be the case. Moms 35 and up have increased their viewership of kid-centric streams in the last year by more than 38 percent in June 2009.


Vlogging is still a fairly niche activity among online moms but there are signs that it is growing. Not only do most mom-oriented social communities have vlogging capabilities, but there are increasingly dedicated networks for vloggers, such as and; moreover, sites like Momversation that feature content from influential bloggers inspire conversations around topical issues. Even Wal-Mart’s site enables video uploads by its Elevenmoms (now numbering in the 20s). Moms gravitate to the intimate nature of video-sharing for everything from frank product reviews (the rationale goes that if you can physically see how another mom uses something in her daily life that perhaps that is even more persuasive than a text-based endorsement) to vlogging about challenges with vaccinations and special needs.

Knowing that moms today engage with video on a variety of fronts is useful from a consumer insights perspective. But that’s just scratching the surface. The data suggest there are opportunities for marketers to further segment moms beyond traditional demographic lines to better understand their viewing needs and to fine tune how and when we reach them. Through our ongoing research into the digital lives as moms, we’ve integrated learnings from audience measurement, mobile usage as well as mining mom blogger and mom discussion forum buzz to continually evolve our understanding of moms needs (online and offline) and issues she’s most passionate about. We hosted a webinar in May presenting additional insights from this work, available here: